Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Geneva office of Initiatives of Change organized a presentation of the coming Caux Conferences, on Thursday 14th of June. Key speaker was Cornelio Sommaruga, as well as conference organizers and related actors.

A group of over 30 guests, varying from students, representatives of NGOs, and friends of Caux, came to a presentation of the 2012 Caux conferences held in the Geneva offices of Initiatives of Change. Cornelio Sommaruga, the Honorary President of Initiatives of Change International gave some opening remarks on ‘the specificity of Caux’. Accompanied by lively anecdotes, Mr. Sommaruga explained why after many years he keeps on coming back to Caux, and why it is a place where people come to ‘charge their batteries’. He underlined two things that make these conferences so special: ‘the beauty of the surroundings’ and ‘the community experience’. He said that the magnificent view is an aid to reflection and the small discussion groups of 15-20 allow for profound exchanges. These profound exchanges can come in other forms, he noted, as for example when guests of the conferences, upon invitation, also participate in some of the tasks in the kitchen.  Mr. Sommaruga fondly recounted how on one such occasion he found himself preparing a meal with a secretary from Kenya and a Bishop from the Balkans and it remained an unforgettable experience.

Participants of the presentation (Photo: JME) After concluding his remarks, the five conferences of this summer were briefly presented by members of the preparation teams.  Claudia Paixão presented the ‘Learning to Live in a Multicultural World’ conference while Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun spoke about the ‘Caux Forum for Human Security’ which will be in its Fifth edition. This was followed by a presentation of ‘Trust and Integrity in a Global Economy’ by Philip Koenig, a consultant for Caterpillar, and of the conference ‘Exploring the vital link between personal and global change’ by Adriana Borra of the Communication team.  Lastly, Dr. Christiane Garin Al-Azhari presented the ‘Learning to be a changemaker’ conference, explaining the various training possibilities that it offers.  Two short films were also shown from the collection that Initiatives of Change has placed online to give a visual taste of what people can expect at Caux. Highlights from last year’s ‘Transform yourself to transform the world around you’ conference were shown, as well as a video explaining the Hub. The evening closed with a time of questions and discussion, and guests left with the detailed programmes for the conferences.

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