Initiatives of Change
|Type||Non-profit, Interest group|
|Key people||Dr Omnia Marzouk, elected President, International Association in 2012; Rajmohan Gandhi, former President, International Association; Cornelio Sommaruga, Inaugural President; Mohamed Sahnoun, Chair, Caux Forum for Human Security;|
|Motto||Building trust across the world's divides|
Initiatives of Change ("IofC") is a global organization dedicated to "building trust across the world's divides" of culture, nationality, belief, and background. The organization is committed to transforming society, beginning with change in individual lives and relationships.
These principles are taken from those of the organization's predecessor, Moral Re-Armament (MRA), founded in 1938 by Frank Buchman. Initiatives of Change has spiritual roots but no religious affiliation, and invites "those with a faith...both to explore the roots of their own tradition, and to discover and respect the beliefs of others."  The name, "Initiatives of Change", was adopted in 2001, expressing the emphasis of the organization in effecting social change beginning with personal change.
Initiatives of Change programs are active in many countries. In the United States, Hope in the Cities promotes honest conversations on race, reconciliation and responsibility. Their approach was integrated in the One America Dialogue Guide published by the White House at the initiative of President Bill Clinton in 1998. In Switzerland, the Caux Forum for Human Security brings together people working for peace and human security. In India,the IC Centre for Governance works with development experts, policy makers, social activists and others to strengthen role of citizens in governance. Asia Plateau in Panchgani, India is another international conference centre, created in 1967. Foundations for Freedom aims to support the development of truly free and just societies in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. In Sierra Leone, Hope Sierra Leone is active in reconciling and rebuilding the country ravaged by civil war. In France, Education à la paix (Education For Peace) is aiming to develop conflict resolution behaviour and more generally a 'responsible citizen' approach among children and young people; relevant training has been delivered to thousands of children. The success of this initiative has led to establishing an international gathering called Children as Actors for Transforming Society, which is the first international event to deal with children's rights and children's participation in partnership with the Child-to-Child Trust and Learning fo Well-being.
Initiatives of Change International
Initiatives of Change International, a non-governmental organization based in Caux, Switzerland, is the legal and administrative entity that coordinates the national bodies of Initiatives of Change; It holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and Participatory Status at the Council of Europe. Its first President was Cornelio Sommaruga, formerly President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. He was succeeded by Mohamed Sahnoun, formerly Senior Advisor to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In 2009 Prof. Rajmohan Gandhi, historian and biographer of his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi, was elected President.
Mountain House, Caux, Switzerland
Mountain House, formerly the Caux-Palace Hotel in Caux, near Montreux, Switzerland is the Institute's conference center. The then-derelict hotel was bought by 50 Swiss families, in 1946, and restored as a place where the warring nations of Europe could meet. In the following years thousands came, including German Chancellor Adenauer and French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman. Edward Luttwak described it as an 'important contribution to one of the greatest achievements in the entire record of modern statecraft: the astonishingly rapid Franco-German reconciliation after 1945.'.
In the following decades Caux welcomed people from African and Asian countries moving towards independence from colonial rule. In 1956, soon after Morocco became independent, King Mohammed V of Morocco sent a message to Frank Buchman: 'I thank you for all you have done for Morocco in the course of these last testing years.' In 1960 Archbishop Makarios and Dr Kucuk, President and Vice-President of Cyprus, jointly sent the first flag of independent Cyprus to Caux in recognition of the center's help. More recently, groups of opposing factions in the Great Lakes area of Africa, Sierra Leone and other areas of conflict, have met there.
The center holds each summer several separate sessions dealing with specific subjects, attended by both teenagers and adults. In 2008 the first Caux Forum for Human Security, initiated by Sahnoun, brought together 300 people working for peace and human security.
- Initiatives of Change - An overview
- Initiatives of Change - Frequently Asked Questions
- One America in the 21st Century: The President’s Initiative on Race, p.17 & 27; https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/173431.pdf
- Education for Peace Site (in French)
- Children as actors for transforming society
- Lean, Garth, Frank Buchman - a life, Constable 1985, p382
- Edward Luttwak 'Franco-German Reconciliation: The overlooked role of the Moral Re-Armament movement", in Douglas Johnston and Cynthia Sampson (eds.), Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft, Oxford University Press, 1994,37-63.
- Lean, Garth; Frank Buchman - a life, p 454
- Lean, Garth; Frank Buchman - a life, p 524