Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Just Governance for Human Security Opening Session Report

“This is a chance for all of us to ask, ‘what steps can I take to make things right?’” – John Bond, Conference Co-convener.

The 2016 Just Governance for Human Security Conference opened today at the Caux International Conference centre with a strong message of integrity, the importance of dialogue and, above all, personal responsibility in moving towards models of just governance. Participants representing over 40 countries gathered for the opening plenary, demonstrating from the outset the nature of the conference as a truly global platform, and the tone was set for week focusing on the importance of the human factor in just governance.

Cornelio Sommaruga, the honorary president of Initiatives of Change International (IofC) welcomed participants, and emphasised the organisation’s core values of honesty, selflessness, purity and love. His hope for the conference was that it would bring people together, initiating dialogue around reconciliation and peace building and continuing more than 70 years of progress towards openness for people from diverse backgrounds and beliefs. In addition to discussing the current challenges, Sommaruga emphasised the need for action based on ethical principles, noting that when participants leave Caux, they must be convinced of their task and take active steps towards making change.

Barbara Hintermann, secretary general of CAUX-Initiatives of Change Foundation, encouraged those who want to see a solution for world problems to change themselves first, pointing out that the road towards peace is a rocky one, requiring personal perseverance. Her wish for the conference was that participants have meaningful encounters with people from around the world, taking on many new ideas. “Every small step is important. Let’s make sure that a just, peaceful and sustainable world is no longer just a theory.”

Conference co-convenor John Bond spoke of the need for solidarity with the people of South Sudan in the wake of a renewed outbreak of violence, and touched on Europe’s ongoing responsibility with regard to the challenge of migration. He reiterated the importance of everyone playing their part to empower ordinary people in creating a just world, and declared his delight at the wealth of conviction, experience and wisdom present at Caux this year: “There are many complex challenges today: migration, extremism, and healing the wounds of history. The hope for this conference is that everybody leaves with more clarity on how he or she can make a difference in their situation.”

The first day concluded with a final session, once again welcoming participants and presenting some of the history around IofC as an organisation, the people who work to make the conference possible and the principles on which the house itself operates - those of political independence, complete openness and hospitability, respect of cultures and nations. These elements will no doubt form the basis for a robust conversation around issues of just governance over the coming days.

Tune in all this week for live-streaming of each plenary from the Caux-IofC Facebook page and wide coverage of the conference across our various online channels including our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.


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