November 2015            Newsletter of Initiatives of Change
Issue No. 34

Much has happened this year! As we approach Thanksgiving and the end of 2015 we look back with much gratitude. 
The Healing History conference in Richmond that we hosted in partnership with University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University and other partners broke fresh ground.
Building on the Caux Scholars Program in Switzerland we launched a pilot program at the Initiatives of Change center in India and are now preparing for a second year. After graduating 30 participants from the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship in March we have just welcomed the class of 2016 for their first module. We are piloting a trustbuilding program for a community in Georgia and are engaged with emerging national efforts for a truth and reconciliation process.
We are grateful for grants from the W.K. Kellogg, Hahnloser, Jackson and Bon Secours foundations that have helped make some of these projects possible. A grant from the Robins Foundation has funded an impact study to assess the long term effectiveness of our training programs.
But what really sustains this work are the individual gifts that provide scholarship support and allow us to expand our outreach. Thank you to all who have given this year and whose gifts have made so much possible. Please keep us in mind as you plan your year-end giving.
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Community Trustbuilding Fellowship
What does it mean to be an authentic leader?

Andrew Trotter, journalist and editor, is one of the 2016 class of the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship. Here he describes his first impressions of the program:
Twenty-four people gathered in Richmond, Virginia, recently to discuss qualities of leadership that can help heal communities riven with conflict based on race, ethnicity, wealth, gender and other divisive factors. Those spending the sunny October weekend together were the new participants in the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship, a program of Hope in the Cities/Initiatives of Change. 

They represented a range of professions, ages and life experiences - professors and scholars, activists and social workers, a consultant focused on interfaith engagement and reconciliation, the daughter of a pastor, and an ex-offender-turned-chaplain to inmates at 40 prisons. Some were in their 20s, in college or just starting their careers, others were professionals with experience measured in decades, including several looking for their "second act." One gentleman hailed from a vantage point of 67 years. Some called Richmond home; others were from Mississippi, California, Georgia and the Baltimore-Washington area. 

The group, the seventh cohort of the fellowship program, which began in 2004, will meet for five weekends, including the October kickoff session, at Richmond Hill, a center of retreat and prayer that occupies a hilltop overlooking Virginia's historic capital.
As the name implies, the goal of the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship is to hone and spread strategies for building trust using a methodology developed by Hope in the Cities. Over the years, Hope in the Cities has engaged a broad spectrum of community leaders to engage in honest conversation to sustain community dialogue, create new alliances and move to constructive solutions for conflicts that often seemed intractable. Read more
A space of real power and truth
By Susan Corcoran
More than twenty alumni representing most of the six previous classes of the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship joined the 2016 class on Sunday afternoon to meet the incoming Fellows and to share how the program has impacted their lives and work.

Mark Gordon (CTF 2015), CEO of three Bon Secours hospitals, welcomed everyone. "Because this is a group of those who are engaged in authentic and real change it makes it easier to talk about the hard issues," he said. Reflecting on what he took from the program, Gordon who is African American, told of a recent business conversation where he needed to confront the issue of long-term institutions set up for the purpose of excluding people: "They are built to keep some people in and some people out." In doing so he had to be willing to risk the relationship. Being part of the program, he said, has given him the muscle to pursue such difficult conversations in the work place. "But that muscle needs to be regularly exercised!"

Tim Holtz (CTF 2004) spoke of how the experience in the program immediately impacted his decision to work with the president of his civic association rather than push past her. In the family, he and his wife faced the question of school choice at the middle school level. After a good experience at the city elementary school, most of the other white parents who couldn't access the city's honors and lottery schools sent their kids to private schools, paid to enroll them in county schools, or home schooled them. Tim and his wife chose their local (predominantly black) middle school, overcoming initial concerns about whether their white child would succeed. "We could not have had a more fabulous experience. This reinforced the need to 'be deliberate' in our actions."  Read more
International peacebuilding
The possibility of peace in the world

Oprah Winfrey's landmark series 'Belief' has been broadcast in the United States. 

The second episode, "Love's Story," concluded with an eight minute segment on Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhammad Ashafa - who "come together to reconcile and to honor one of the most sacred teachings at the heart of both their faiths: love your enemies." 

The segment contains footage from the documentary The Imam and the Pastor, made by IofC's FLTfilms. Dr. Alan Channer, director and producer of The Imam and the Pastor, worked as a consultant with the "Belief" team.

Oprah Winfrey gave a preview of the series at United Nations headquarters, introduced by the President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft. 

Winfrey tweeted on 19th October: "The Pastor and Imam represent the possibility of PEACE in the world. If they can do it, we can. Peace to all." Read more
Breaking out of the cocoon
It's a truism that a picture can be worth a thousand words. A family photo taken in 1964, when Wilhelm Verwoerd was a few months old, shows him cradled in his paternal grandfather's arms, surrounded by his older siblings and other relatives. Hendrik Verwoerd - known as the "architect of apartheid" - was assassinated while serving as South African prime minister in 1966. Wilhelm began a talk on the tools of empathy and peacebuilding to a Richmond, VA, audience in September by pointing to the symbolism of the picture: "I was suckled on the milk of apartheid." 

Wilhelm told how his grandfather, born in the Netherlands, decided to move with his family to South Africa in 1903 because of his sympathy towards the Afrikaner nation after the Second Boer War. (More than 4000 women and 22,000 children died in concentration camps, where they were herded together in appalling conditions by the British forces.) "My grandfather was a hero in my community. I grew up in this cocoon."

Wilhelm went to study in the Netherlands, where he found himself among a racially mixed group for the first time. "I had to be removed from the white cocoon of blindness." To his surprise, the black members of the group said, "We don't want you to disrespect your grandfather. The question is: what will you do now?" His time in the Netherlands and later at Oxford set him on a course that ultimately led to his decision to renounce apartheid and to join the ANC where he became an active leader. He was chosen by Nelson Mandela to serve on the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In recent years he has used his experience of breaking the grip of the past in such place as Northern Ireland and the Middle East.

Several hundred people attended the event which was hosted by St. Christopher's School, a leading private boys' school, with support from Hope in the Cities/Initiatives of Change and the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities. The following day Wilhelm spoke to an assembly of students as well as to classes.
Caux Scholars in India
Where enmities may be overcome
By Anjum Ali
The Caux Scholars Program-Asia Plateau (CSP-AP) will be held for a second year in Panchgani, India from December 20, 2015 to January 10, 2016. The success of the program is due in large part to the excellence of the academic directors and faculty at AP. Dr. Gladston Xavier and Dr. Florina, have skillfully created a curriculum that focuses on the nexus of peacebuilding and sustainable development, which is critical to the vitality of every community across the globe. 

The program would remain limited in its scope and achievement without the amazing diversity of participants and what each of them brings to the program. This year 22 scholars were selected from 40 applicants. Four of them are from India, two from Pakistan, two from Afghanistan, and individuals from Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, Armenia, Russia, Germany, Egypt, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Burundi and the USA. Scholars come with a wide range of experience. There are those with a background in multitrack peace mediation intervention in conflict zones, mental health therapy and trauma healing, grassroots work with impoverished communities along lines of drug abuse, sex trafficking and HIV/AIDS, youth empowerment, promoting women and girls' education, human rights and corporate social responsibility, journalism, interfaith dialogue and even employing theatre as a tool for social change. Read more 

At a recent fundraiser for CSP-AP at the offices of the McGuire Woods law firm in Washington, DC, on November 12, Rajmohan Gandhi gave a keynote address on the question: "How would Gandhi, King and Mandela counter violent extremism?" (See highlights from his speech below) Brenda Jones, communications director for Congressman John Lewis, and Carl Staufer, academic director of the Caux Scholars Program, added reflections on King and Mandela. Rajmohan Gandhi closed his remarks by saying, "How enmities may be overcome is a question addressed at Asia Plateau, Panchgani, western India. That Asia Plateau has become a partner with and venue for the prestigious Caux Scholars Program gives me great joy, for I have been associated with Asia Plateau for half a century. Today India knows itself as large and growing, but what will this entity, rich in numbers, strong in skills, preponderantly youthful, containing numerous and at times quarreling groups, do to, for, and with the world?"
How would Gandhi, King and Mandela counter violent extremism?

Rajmohan Gandhi,
journalist and author, has written widely on the Indian independence movement and its leaders, Indo-Pakistan relations, human rights and conflict resolution. He is a biographer and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and former President of Initiatives of Change International. These are highlights from a speech he gave at a fundraising event in Washington, DC, for the Caux Scholars Program in India. 

If all people are not my people, then I contribute to violence: this is the primary conclusion I draw from the thoughts of Gandhi, Mandela, and King. 
Rajmohan Gandhi with Martin Luther King Jr. and Roy Wilkins in 1957

Gandhi died about 68 years ago, King 47 years ago, and Mandela only two-and-a-half years back, but Mandela, and this is easy to forget, was born 11 years before King. 

I was privileged to meet all three men in person. I have clear memories of my grandfather. The picture with Martin Luther King, Jr. was taken in 1957 when King was just 28-years old. I had the opportunity to spend time with Mandela when he visited India in 1990.

All three were fighters. While Gandhi and King were committed to nonviolent struggle for almost all their active lives, Mandela first helped lead a remarkable nonviolent struggle but, claiming he had no choice, later supported a strategy of carefully organized and carefully confined violence against identified establishments of an oppressive government. 

All three knew imprisonment, Mandela for the longest time. All were outstanding articulators, but of the three perhaps Reverend King, who knew how to polish his sermons, chiseled the finest sentences and was possibly the most compelling orator.

A fourth person ought to be mentioned here: Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who fought nonviolently for India's independence from British rule, for Muslim-Hindu friendship, and for the rights of his Pashtun people. In terms of periods spent in prison he competes with Mandela, having spent 27 years in all under the British and Pakistanis.

How would Gandhi, King, and Mandela counter violent extremism? Perhaps we should ask, how would they want us to address violent extremism today? There's something not very gallant about wanting them to show up amidst us and do the difficult work for us.

Violent extremism can threaten us from more than one direction. Today we face ISIS but the world also witnesses numerous violent extremisms of other kinds, linked to religion, nationalism, race, tribe, sect, or class, or a combination.

There are lessons we can draw from these great men. Read more
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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IofC seeks an Executive Director
Executive Director

The Executive Director is responsible for leading IofC USA. This position will be based in Richmond, VA, with responsibilities in Washington, DC. Besides overseeing the current programs, strategically developing new programs and partnerships that support the mission, and fundraising for these, the Executive Director will connect with a diverse global network to promote the goals of the international movement.

Salary is negotiable based on experience, salary history and meeting mutually determined benchmarks. A full benefits package is included. Anticipated start date is early 2016.

Job description, qualifications, and application procedures are on the IofC USA website.
Caux Scholars Program
2015 Caux Scholars Report

What makes the Caux Scholars Program 2015 a lifelong experience that goes beyond an ordinary academic training? The answer is: its people. Whether we speak about participants or the organizers, their common element is their inspiration and their full commitment to peacebuilding all over the world. Read more in the report. Download the PDF version

The application process for the 2016 Caux Scholars class is now open. 
2015 Caux Report
This year, more than 1400 people from all continents attended the eight International Caux Conferences, all striving for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. 

Plan on being there next year!
Community Partnerships
How to combat bullying and stereotyping
Hope in the Cities was pleased to partner with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC) and other community organizations for the Prejudice Awareness Summit (PAS). This is an intensive day-long workshop for middle school students that leads to a year of programming designed to increase awareness, knowledge, and acceptance of ethnic and cultural differences. Since its inception PAS has provided training to over 2,250 middle school students from the metropolitan Richmond area. On average, 28 schools participate in the program annually, each sending eight students and one or two adult sponsors, usually teachers, guidance counselors, or administrators. 

Two of the Hope in the Cities staff, John Taylor and LaDora Carter, spent the day working as volunteer facilitators with VCIC and this coalition of community organizations. 

LaDora writes, "Before the day of the workshop, I attended a very informative and engaging 3-hour training session for the volunteers by the VCIC staff. A diverse group of middle school students from central Virginia came together to experience this one-day workshop. In the morning session facilitators were grouped in threes with each group including a high school student. They were assigned a group of 12 students to talk about their experiences and the ways to identify conflict. 

As a facilitator for the first time, I was able to encourage, support, and help middle school aged children and their respective school staff discuss issues such as practical ways to prevent bullying and how to get help, as well as ways to combat stereotyping and to respect our cultural differences.  Read more 


by Rob Corcoran


Trustbuilding Book Launch
  Read Rob Corcoran's latest blog

Breaking the polite silence


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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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