September 2015            Newsletter of Initiatives of Change
Issue No. 33

As you will see, we have changed the name of our newsletter to Trustbuilders. In the design changes we have added the bridge that has become a visual expression of trustbuilding for many of our current projects.

In this issue we look back at the 2015 Caux Scholars program and several of the conferences that took place at the Initiatives of Change conference center in Switzerland. We look ahead the opportunities this fall with the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship and outreach to other parts of the country.
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Caux Summer 2015
A real desire to make a difference in society 
2015 Extended Global Assembly of Initiatives of Change 
By Rob Corcoran 

"It is perhaps one of the truly remarkable things about this movement that it brings together such a diversity of people who believe in the link between personal change and global change," said Dr. Omnia Marzouk, president of IofC International as she opened the Extended Global Assembly of Initiatives of Change in July in Caux, Switzerland.

More than 100 people from 30 countries took part. The assembly brought together the representatives of the teams and legal bodies of members and associate members of the International Association for a time of fellowship, sharing of experiences and networking.

Dr Marzouk welcomed the participants and marveled at the many cultures and backgrounds represented in the room as well as the "multiplicity of personal stories, commitment, sacrifice and a real desire to make a difference in society." Read more
The fusion of theory and practice
2015 Caux Scholars Program 
By Jitka Hromek-Vaitla

A highlight of the Caux Scholars Program (CSP) this summer was the students' participation in the Good Governance for Human Security conference July 3-8. The focus of this conference was on building trust for ethical, inclusive governance. It brought together people active in the struggle for just governance at every level: the political arena, media, education, industry, business, and civic affairs. Many came from situations of tension and conflict. Whether as part of a media team, or working as a group facilitator or reporter of smaller breakout sessions, the Caux Scholars provided invaluable assistance to the success of the conference.

The 2015 class was made up of 20 students from 16 countries. The diversity of experiences and perspectives gave them ample opportunity to learn from each other and, during the individual presentations on "Conflict where I come from," to discover more about global issues first-hand. The students had the opportunity to interact with guest faculty, including Dr. Omnia Marzouk, president of Initiatives of Change International, Dr. Cornelio Sommaruga, former head of the International Red Cross, Barbara Hintermann, secretary-general of the CAUX-Initiatives of Change Foundation and Dr. Katherine Marshall of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs in Washington, DC.  Read more

The dates and brochure for the 2016 program are now online.
Conscience-based decision-making
Trust & Integrity in the Global Economy 

John Taylor is the Hope in the Cities Program Coordinator in Richmond, VA. He writes of his first visit to Caux, Switzerland, to participate in the conference on Trust & Integrity in the Global Economy. 

After a journey which had begun the day before, I found myself in the small village of Caux, Switzerland, 3400 feet in altitude, high above the town of Montreux and Lake Geneva. The mountain air was cool and crisp. Around me were deep forests, snow capped peaks and the deepest of blue skies. I was there to participate in the 9th annual Trust & Integrity in the Global Economy (TIGE) conference, one of several being held during the course of the summer at the Initiative of Change conference center.

Several months before, I had met author and journalist Michael Smith when he attended the Healing History conference in Richmond, VA. Michael directs the UK program of TIGE which has responded to the 2008 financial crisis with a call for "conscience-based decision-making" in banking, business and the economy. I was intrigued that the ideas of Initiatives of Change that address personal responsibility could inspire, connect and encourage business leaders to act according to deeper core values. So I accepted Mike's invitation to be at Caux for the conference.

The keynote speaker at the opening plenary was Sunil Mathur from India, the Managing Director and CEO of Siemens Ltd Southeast Asia. His address was riveting as he described how Siemens recovered from a devastating crisis of wide spread corruption that was discovered and publically revealed. Mr. Mathur related how in three short years they became ranked No 1 in compliance and risk management and how they have been able to maintain this position every year since. The company's employees now put the emphasis on making their decisions based on personal integrity, values and trust, allowing them to act from substantially ethical positions. Read more
Hope in the Cities National Outreach
What do I need to do to build trust?
Troup County, Georgia
By Cricket White 

Troup County, Georgia, 67 miles southwest of Atlanta, has contracted Initiatives of Change through its Hope in the Cities program to train its residents to have 'honest conversation' and work together to build trust. The population of 69,469 is approximately 31.4% African American, 62.5% European American, 9.2% Hispanic and 3.7% Asian.

Led by two former state elected officials, one African American and the other European American, this effort began before the events in neighboring Charleston. The leaders are committed to enhancing relationships and building trust among the citizens and it seems the idea has taken hold. The first event was a one-and-a-half day training which led the participants through a series of activities and reflections and culminated in a face-to-face dialogue between an African American State police officer and a white mayor. Read more
The last frontier is the human heart
New Orleans, Louisiana 
By Rob Corcoran 

null "How to speak truth to power and speak in love; how to speak truth in ways that unite us": this is the challenge facing New Orleans, said Mayor Mitch Landrieu as the city marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August.

He was speaking to 200 community leaders convened by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as part of its America Healing priority.  Described as a Day of Community Engagement for New Orleans, it featured six-hour "healing sessions" with small groups led by a team of 24 practitioners drawn from 15 states; Tee Turner and I from Hope in the Cities were part of that team.

Landrieu highlighted the significant reconstruction after the devastating storm as well as the work still to be done, but also he noted that resilience is not just about buildings. "Everything we do should foster diversity, inclusion and growth."

"We have to change. Katrina did not cause all of our problems....The inequities were generational in the making and will not change overnight," said the mayor. New Orleans symbolizes the challenges facing America's cities. "What makes us different is that we are facing them directly." Read more
Community Trustbuilding Fellowship
The final countdown begins
By Cricket white 

In just one month the 2016 class of the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship (CTF) will gather in Richmond, VA, for the first of five residential modules. This diverse group of participants is coming from Mississippi, California, Georgia, Washington, DC, as well as Virginia. Participants range in age from 23 to 66 but all express a desire to become proactive, positive and committed to making their communities better.

One participant recognizes that "being in a cohort with other leaders to learn from each other, good practices, struggles and triumphs is always an enriching experience." Activists, ministers, educators, journalists, program officers and community builders, the members of this CTF class bring experience to the table and provide an opportunity for collaboration and group learning. A unique aspect of this fellowship program is to replicate the diversity of the larger community within the class. This allows them to wrestle with real issues, using specific tools, to find solutions within their own fellowship group. Authentic community is the goal. Read more

A number of the Fellows are not able to cover the full $2500 program fee and those coming from other parts of the country have travel costs as well. We welcome contributions to our scholarship fund.
Caux Lecture 2015
Integrating the Past, Engaging the Present:  
Leveraging History and Memory in the Task of Building a Just and Inclusive Europe  

Dr. Margaret Smith is affiliated with the faculty of International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University, Washington, DC, where she teaches and writes on intergroup relations, conflict and peacemaking in deeply divided societies, and uses of the past in peacemaking. Dr. Smith gave the Caux Lecture on July 18, 2015 at the conference on addressing Europe's Unfinished Business. We print here the introduction to her talk and give links to the full paper.

In times of rapid social and political change, we are even more aware than in times of stasis that written history and living memory are the containers for wounds of the past, for political outlooks and national identity, for our understanding of others and for our understanding of ourselves. History and social narratives cannot be separated from politics and power structures. They also help us make meaning of events in our personal lives. Thus history and memory confirm our instinctive desire to see a connection between the personal and the political.

How do we increase our insights about the various contexts in which the expression of history and memory are signifiers of power differentials? How to we use that knowledge to develop new ways to address painful disconnections at personal, social and political levels?

The talk aims to stimulate discussion about projects that address the past in order to create a better future. Given Caux's tradition of addressing the wounds of the past and its determination to be a community of learning, the hope is to contribute to Caux's ongoing quest to find ways to mobilize individuals who go out from Caux in developing projects that can alter societal norms and address personal and community problems with creativity and integrity.

We hope you enjoyed this issue of Trustbuilders Please share this newsletter with your friends and forward it to those you know have a passion for trustbuilding.   
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Joining our team! 
Two newcomers have joined the team in the Richmond office.

Neal Holsapple
With many years experience in both the public and non-profit sectors Neal brings great expertise to the position of Accountant for Initiatives of Change. Neal says "I am very enthusiastic and humbled to be dedicating my skills and efforts to an organization that is committed to social change in a diverse global community."

LaDora Carter
Our new Director of Operations is LaDora Carter, a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Political Science. She has spent time in Brazil where she learned Portuguese. LaDora has strong organizational skills and will help keep our work on track. LaDora says, "I am excited to join an international network that is dedicated to creating a sustainable model of peace and trustbuilding."   
And a farewell
Behind the big news stories are real people

Debbie Robison who has served as Assistant Treasurer and Accountant for Initiatives of Change for 18 years writes:

Many years ago, while dating my husband Kenny, he asked me to join him on a lifetime of adventures. One of those adventures involved a Sunday afternoon tea at the home of Dick & Randy Ruffin near Washington, DC. It was there I heard about Initiatives of Change for the first time and was intrigued to encounter a group of people whose founding principles were very much in line with those that I was striving to live by in my daily life.

In 1998, I started the next chapter of my accounting career when I was invited to take over the accounting duties from Erik Petersen as he retired from the Board of Directors of Initiatives of Change (IofC). Today, I continue to cherish the friendship that I have with Erik, his wife Lana, and Lana's sister, Lorraine. I personally worked hard to maintain the quality and integrity of the accounting and administrative duties that Erik gave to donors, friends, and team members for 48 years. Now after 18 years, I have transferred my responsibilities over to Neal Holsapple who will continue this commitment to personal care and excellent services.  Read more
Featured in Oprah Winfrey's "Belief" October 19 
Imam Mohammad Ashafa & Pastor James Wuye
Seven billion people, searching for connection, redemption, meaning. Oprah Winfrey presents the seven-night event, "Belief," a groundbreaking television event exploring humankind's ongoing search to connect with something greater than ourselves.

The second episode of "Belief", to be aired by OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) on October 19, features a segment on Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye from Nigeria. Entitled, "Love's story", it takes the viewer on "a journey around the world in search of what it means to love one another." The episode ends with the story of "two leaders in Nigeria who... come together to reconcile and to honor one of the most sacred teachings at the heart of both their faiths: love your enemies."

Read more about "Belief"
Information about the Imam & Pastor films
Caux Scholars in India
Still time to apply!
The Caux Scholars Program-Asia Plateau (CSP-AP) in India focuses on the integration of sustainable development and peacebuilding. The invitation is to young leaders, community organizers, and scholars from different countries and cultural backgrounds, aged 21-35.

The 3-week program will be held from December 20, 2015 to January 10, 2016. Application deadline is September 30.

More information


by Rob Corcoran


Trustbuilding Book Launch
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Connecting personal and social change 


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Initiatives of Change, USA
is part of a diverse global network with an 80-year track record of peacebuilding, conflict transformation and forging partnerships across divides of race, class, religion and politics.  
Our vision
We inspire a vision of community where a commitment to reconciliation and justice transcends competing identities and interests. 


Our mission
We equip leaders to build trust in diverse communities through a process of personal change, inclusive dialogue, healing historical conflict and teambuilding 


Our focus
We connect core values with personal and public action with a focus on racial reconciliation, economic inclusion and interfaith understanding.


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