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                                       Winter 2015




It is that time of the year when the Caux Scholars Program (CSP) needs your help!  Please think of potential scholars for the 2015 summer program and encourage them to apply. The application deadline is February 27, 2015!

I was happy to have been part of the CSP Alumni Reunion this summer.  How inspiring to meet a sampling of our wonderful Caux Scholar alumni network!   Returning to Caux certainly reignites us on many levels, so please do look at the experiences captured in our CSP Reunion report and photo-journalist Abdujalil Abdurasulov's (CSP 2003) pictures on Flickr and the video he made of the reunion. A big thank you for his work! The alumni who were present at Caux took responsibility to create regional networks to help spread the CSP-Caux spirit.  As we have over 400 alumni, it will take some work, so you may be asked to help in this endeavor!

An important way to connect with our network promoting peace and transformation is to sign on to Khalil's platform (Khalil, CSP 2010, tells his story in an article in this issue!).  These are challenging times, so to continue to cultivate a sense of care is what Amaha Selassie (CSP 2012) reflects on in his article about the beloved community.  Asifa Koul (CSP 2010) interviewed Mohammed Abu-Nimer, who will join us this summer in Caux.

You would have been very proud of the CSP-AP pilot program that graduated 17 CSP-AP alumni from 13 countries.  Patrick McNamara (CSP 1996, USA) was on faculty, focusing on peacebuilding and sustainable development.  And Christie Shrestha (CSP 2004, Nepal/USA) came to work with Prerna Rathi (CSP 2014, India), who was organizing the program (see article below). We are grateful to the donors and contributors, as well as the probono time and energy by many who made this CSP-AP launch successful!   

Do you believe that your work can be enhanced by connection with fellow scholars? We look forward to a deeper and more meaningful connection in the coming years!  

Thinking of you as you launch into 2015,


From the Academic Director
Peacebuilding as sanctuary

Dr. Carl Stauffer
, Academic Director, Caux Scholars Program, writes.

One of the most rewarding elements of my work is to experience how our CSP alumni are both willing and ready to give back to the work of CSP and Initiatives of Change. The loyalty, commitment and service that emanates from our alumni is remarkable. In fact, it's unprecedented. Why is this so? I surmise that this dedication flows out of the unique encounter of a "real-time" sense of sanctuary - a form of togetherness that is transformative and long lasting.

The idea of "sanctuary" has many meanings from a religious meeting hall, to a location for the protection of certain species of animals, to a place of shelter for undocumented immigrants, to what Dr. Sandra Bloom* described as a nurturing community that creates safety and promotes wellbeing. Bloom and her associates utilized the term "sanctuary" to identify the treatment modality they developed for working with at-risk youth. Bloom's model was described as an alternative to a sick society racked by emotional numbness, addiction to violence, alienation from self and others, and entrapped in a vicious cycle of destructive behaviour.

This genuine community experience becomes the nucleus of authentic healing. In a healthy co-operative setting, individuals have their own needs and aspirations affirmed and at the same time, as a collective they are interdependent and must continually rely on each other to confront harms, set boundaries and move forward with group goals, learning and growth. Central to the sanctuary environment is the value of "sharing" - shared space, assumptions, goals, and practice. In short, sanctuary provides a psychological safety net to be honest with yourself and others, a spiritual space for deep personal and corporate reflection, and a socially diverse place for where "beloved community"** is explored, built and nurtured under the canopy of justice and peacebuilding.

It is this sense of sanctuary that I have seen reenacted by CSP alumni on multiple occasions in this past year.  Read more ...    
CSP faculty engaged in dialogue
Finding a path away from violence

Asifa Koul (CSP 2010) is working on her PhD in International Relations at American University under the direction of CSP faculty member Mohammed Abu-Nimer. We asked her to find out more about his recent dialogue work in Vienna.

When it comes to the field of interfaith/interreligious dialogue and peacebuilding, Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer needs no introduction. He has been actively involved as an interreligious conflict resolution and interfaith dialogue practitioner for more than two decades in different parts of the world, including Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Mindanao (Philippines), and the United States. Prof. Mohammed also teaches peace and conflict resolution at American University, Washington, DC.

For the past one year, he has been serving as Senior Advisor to an intergovernmental organization, the KAICIID Dialogue Center (King Abdullah Bun Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue), Vienna ( Established in 2012, the center was founded to encourage dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures around the world. The KAICIID's Council of parties consists of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Austria, and the Kingdom of Spain.

According to Professor Mohammed, the center is unique in several ways: First, the governing Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from some of the major world religions-Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Second, it serves as a multiplatform for religion, governmental and nongovernmental institutions and civil society in order to improve interfaith and intercultural initiatives. Third, the center is the first of its kind that brings together policymakers and religious leaders to address conflict, whether social, political, religious, or ethnic. "And this (the Center) is based on the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and respect for religious diversity," Prof. Mohammed added. Read more ...
Caux Scholars Program in India
Moral courage to live differently

Patrick McNamara, PhD, executive vice-chair of the board of directors of Initiatives of Change USA, has just returned from serving on the faculty of the Caux Scholars Program at Asia Plateau, India. He is Visiting Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

I was a Caux Scholar in 1996 and it changed my life. Now coming full circle, I serve on the faculty of the new Caux Scholars Program at Asia Plateau and I watched it change others' lives.

There were 17 scholars from 13 countries in this new class who gathered from December 28, 2014 through January 16, 2015. This impressive group of scholars in their 20s and 30s came to the beautiful IofC conference center in Panchgani, India with a common hope to take new skills as peacebuilders back to their communities. They are leaving with more than just those skills. Many expressed a deeper spiritual direction and moral courage to live differently as models of peace in their families, organizations, communities and nations.

Some examples of the amazing Caux Scholars include: an Iraqi immigrant to Sweden who works to integrate Muslim youth into European societies, even more important after the recent Paris attacks and backlash we are seeing; a social entrepreneur who launched a "friendships across borders" program to link young people in India and Pakistan; a director of Seeds of Peace building bridges of reconciliation originally between Israelis and Palestinians and now expanding into divides between Hindus and Muslims; two young women from Afghanistan working on the rights of girls and women in that country; a Ugandan student leader who is working to bring conflicting communities together at her university; and an Egyptian woman who participated in the revolution there. Read more ...
CSP alumni report from the field
Bringing together the bridgebuilders

Khalil El Masry (CSP 2010) is from Egypt. In 2011 he returned to Caux as the CSP Assistant. He writes about an opportunity for CSP alumni to gain momentum as a network and make an impact: 

My name is Khalil El-Masry, I'm an IT Consultant, a Peace Activist, and one of the founders of Selmiyah "Peaceful" which is an Egyptian youth movement promoting a culture of peace within the Egyptian society. We are working to weave a network of different initiatives and organizations working on various disciplines that are crucial for peace such as Education, Arts, Media, Environment, and Human Rights. During the past two and a half years, Selmiyah has expanded into a multi-hub network and has worked on different projects in collaboration with such international organizations as GIZ, UNHCR, Save the Children, and the British Council.

My career in Information Technology has led me to developing an online platform supporting the civil society actors in Egypt and beyond. I would like to share about how I developed this passion for being a network weaver, and for being a "peacebuilder". Many events in my life have shaped my personality and have been source of motivation. Among these events, one is worth mentioning, and that is the Egyptian revolution. The main lesson I learned from the revolution is straightforward. It can be summarized as "People want ... people decide ... people lead". The positive change starts with any group of people willing to make difference within their environment. The important thing here is to create space where we can bring these people together so that they can decide together to pursue their common goals. Then, it is up to their passion, persistence, and courage for them to be able to lead and achieve these goals. Read more ...
A call to lovers of peace

Amaha Selassie
(CSP 2012) is presently working on his PhD in Sociology in Dayton, OH, and is taking part in the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship in Richmond, VA. Recently he has been involved in community action protesting the shooting of unarmed black men in Ferguson, New York and Ohio, #BlackLivesMatter. Amaha was recently awarded the Freedom and Justice award from SCLC*. He calls on lovers of peace to go deeper:

Dr. Martin Luther King warns us never to confuse the "isness" of the status quo with the "oughtness" of what society can be. For me, the status quo is rooted in fear manifesting itself in 1st and 2nd class citizenship, dehumanization, exploitation and denial of the worth and unique gifts every culture has to offer.

From my perspective, the oughtness can be best summarized by King's World House vision that states that people of all ethnicities, religions, and cultures can no longer live separated from each other and therefore must learn how to live together in peace. Within America we are in a period of great social change. There are many, including me, who know that a world with a more universal sense of belonging beyond arbitrary socially constructed categories of difference is possible.

To press towards this ideal, many have taken to non-violent direct action to create community transformation in a way that acknowledges the dignity and worth of all those involved. I caution us not to stop there. Now more than ever, we need those that choose to love through their actions towards one another.

What is required now to sustain a strong sense of community beyond this "movement moment" is to develop deep relationships and trust.  Read more ...
Please send us your feedback
Building resilience

Please send us by March 2, 2015, 100-350 words on practices you employ to keep yourself growing and creative.  We will put your contributions in the newsletter (as many as we can) and online.  Listed below are notes from Barry Hart on building resilience which gives some good guidelines.

Resilience, a mainly interior capacity that allows us to cope with adversity that gives us the ability to adapt to challenges and difficult emergent circumstances, becomes a critical force in dealing with compassion fatigue. But this innate ability to 'bounce back' or survive under difficult circumstances must be linked to external helps found in our social environment.

We can build resilience through self-care practices that include:
  • Spiritual and meditative disciplines
  • Understand that the exhaustion and stress you feel are normal for caregivers who deal with high stress and trauma.
  • Making sleep, deep breathing, exercise and good nutrition a priority
  • Talking with others
  • Getting professional help if symptoms persist. (Be aware that professional help might reveal personal unhealed trauma that needs to be addressed.)
  • Build into your life time to cultivate what gives you joy and meaning.
  • Take time off to reflect and rest. (There are some studies that say this is what most people do to reduce stress and regain their sense of equilibrium.)
Who you are, what culture and context you come from and what context you find yourself in as a caregiver, contribute to finding ways to better help others and take care of yourself.
We hope you enjoyed this issue of Cauxmunique. Please share this newsletter with your friends and forward it to those you know have a passion for peacebuilding.

Thank you!
Kathy Aquilina 
In this issue
Please help us raise scholarship funds

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Initiatives of Change 

2015 Caux  Conferences
Exploring the human factor in global change

June 26-July 1
Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy

July 3-8
Just Governance for Human Security

July 10-14
Caux Dialogue on Land and Security

July 16-19
Addressing Europe's Unfinished Business
International Peace-Builders' Forum

July 27-August 2
CATS - Children and Adults - Partners for Change?

August 4-9
Seeds of Inspiration

August 10-15
Impact Initiatives Challenge

More information
Healing History 2015
April 6-9, 2015

Richmond, VA, USA

What can we, as a global community, learn about how to heal history, understand the legacies that keep us apart and generate energy for building healthy inclusive societies?

This conference seeks to build trust and constructive partnerships across race, class, politics and religion through honest conversation. It will make explicit the link between change in individuals' attitudes and behaviors and change in the structures of society.

 More information
Peace Circles in Washington, DC

Two Caux Scholars participated in a Peace Circle recently held in the Washington, DC, area. Both shared that the experience reminded them of Caux. Do consider participating in the Creators of Peace network which is active in many parts of the world.

More information 
A new film from South Africa
Beyond Forgiving
Beyond Forgiving trailer
This award winning film depicts the true story of two South Africans trying to move beyond their pain towards forgiveness and healing.  

Caux Scholars is a program of
Initiatives of Change

IofC USA focuses on the link between personal and global change and seeks to inspire, equip, and engage individuals as peacemakers and trustbuilders. 
It starts with listening and responding to the still small voice within, applying values of integrity to everyday living, and taking risks to bridge divides.

Visit ourwebsite 
for more information.
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