Learning to Be a Peacemaker – ‘Tools for Change’ in Caux 9-15 August
The conference centre is full to bursting for this last conference of the summer season.
Some 200 new arrivals from more than 50 countries have joined the group of 75 young Muslims from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, who have been studying peacemaking from the perspective of their own faith and from the best practices of other traditions at the Initiatives of Change conference centre in Caux above Montreux from 4-9 August 2009.This new program is the result of collaboration between four NGOs in Britain, Switzerland and Sweden: Communities in Action Enterprises, CAUX-Initiatives of Change, Sensus and Ibn Rushd.
An international team have been preparing the second part of the program, Tools for Change from 9-15 August. Rob Corcoran, the American coordinator of this series of conferences (this one is the fourth) spoke at the opening meeting. ‘Our theme is learning to be peacemakers. It’s a big goal. A lofty idea,’ he said. ‘But,’ he continued, ‘peace is not just an idea. It is people becoming different. Which people? There are many movements in the world who want to bring about change. Very often they say the change has to start with the other person, the other group, the other nation, the other culture. In Caux we learn that change starts with me.’
He concluded, ‘We can’t have peace if there is no trust. What does it take to build trust across divides of culture, ethnicity, and class? What tools do we need?’ These days in Caux, with 9 workshops in parallel, aim to offer participants some of the needed tools.
Mohamed Sahnoun, past President of IofC international also spoke at the opening of ‘the global challenge facing humanity’. He called for honest communication ‘which begins with the art of listening. It is a real dsicipline which we often fail to exercize adequately.’ The former senior diplomat and international civil servant also stressed the importance of sharing other people’s anguish and preoccupations as well as their hopes. Sahnoun concluded, ‘We are all really in the same boat, and all together, we must map out our course through the threats.’