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Newsletter

UK

Autumn-Winter 2013

Food waste: the myth and the reality Food waste is a global issue that begins at home.

Photo: Yee Liu Williams

A third of all food produced in the UK is wasted on the journey from field to fork. It is a massive problem both environmentally and for those with a social conscience that good food is binned when more than 4 million in the UK are affected by food poverty. See page 3

Photo: WRAP

INSIDE: Events Speaking up for women in prison p.6

Profile Whistle-blower Genevieve Boast p.9

International Lebanese peace-makers visit the UK p.10 Photo: WRAP


BELA: Business, Enquiry, Leadership and Action – a new Initiative WATCH VIDEO Initiatives of Change (IofC) is a global network of people committed to building trust across the world’s divides, starting with change in their own lives. It runs programmes for social and economic justice which encourage participants to find their own path to building trust in their community and country. These initiatives are based on a commitment to absolute moral standards of honesty, purity of heart and motive, unselfishness in private and public life, love and forgiveness. IofC advocates time for silent listening to the voice of God or conscience. We are open to those of all faiths and none and encourage people to deepen their spiritual roots in their own faith tradition. In Britain, IofC works through local teams across the country and through the initiatives featured in this newsletter. It is largely funded through donations from individuals.

Change is a recent film created by Initiatives of Change to launch the Bela Initiative, an alliance where organisations, individuals, businesses and entrepreneurs can join to collaborate and to share information and experience, both to give and to receive in ways that empower ourselves and others to develop a clear purpose. The short film was commissioned by the visionary thinker and entrepreneur, Béla Hatvany. Change was premiered at the Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy Conference in Caux, Switzerland, during July. The film is narrated by actor Jeremy Irons, produced by Kelly Burks and directed by Adam Woods. To view the film, read an open letter from Béla Hatvany and to leave a comment please visit www.uk.iofc.org/bela

Béla Hatvany invented the touch screen in the 1980s with Henry Ng, published the first CD-ROM, was the key investor and a co-founder of Just Giving and has devoted his life to creating a better world. Béla advocates 'serving all constituents in a balanced way' and in his words, ‘humanity should emulate nature. In a healthy ecology all things thrive – not one or two with the remainder diminishing.’ Initial discussions have taken place with Béla Hatvany and IofC UK’s business programme, Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy, about TIGE being a founding partner in the development of the Bela Initiative. by Kelly Burks

www.uk.iofc.org/bela

Please contact us at the address below to find out more or to request a subscription to our newsletter. Initiatives of Change UK 24 Greencoat Place London SW1P 1RD Tel: 020 7798 6000 Fax: 020 7798 6001 reception@london.iofc.org www.uk.iofc.org Editor: Imad Karam Design & Production: Amira Mitchell-Karam Printing: Impress Print Services Ltd Initiatives of Change is a company limited by guarantee registered in England, company no. 355987, and is a registered charity in England and Wales charity no. 226334

How to reduce waste

Top tips

Plan ahead

Get a fridge thermometer – set below 5 degrees, milk will keep longer

Buy what you need Store correctly Cook the right amount

Store salad in Tupperware with tissue paper

Eat what you need and store leftovers for later

A sliced loaf – put half in freezer

Recycle what you can Keep fruit like apples in the fridge to prolong them Tomatoes should be kept in the fruit bowl out of the fridge

(source: WRAP)


Food waste: the myth and the reality Kelvin Cheung (FoodCycle), Emma Marsh (WRAP) and George Gordon (Tesco) shared a platform at Greencoat Place on 24 September in London to talk about this major issue. The Greencoat Forum was preceded by food prepared by FoodCycle – thus demonstrating a social enterprise in action. A shared responsibility that begins at home

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mma Marsh of WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) pointd out that by 2030 the global population is predicted to grow from seven to nine billion. The world will need to produce around 50 per cent more food whilst a third of all food produced every year goes to waste. She added, ‘The facts highlight a growing global crisis and it is a minefield as we go forward to ensure that people are not starving and that we make the most of the food we buy.’ Emma pointed out the sobering facts and the scale of the problem in the UK: ●● 15 million tonnes (Mt) of total generated food goes to waste ●● 7.2 Mt of food is binned annually in the home ●● 4.4 Mt is avoidable food waste (ie we could take action and do something about it) ●● Energy expended on avoidable food waste is around 17 Mt of CO2e Emma talked passionately about global food security: the complex interconnection of food, water and energy, the trinity of finite resources vital to life's sustainability that is squandered so freely in the food supply chain. If this quantity of food was not wasted, the energy saving would be the equivalent to 1 in 5 cars taken off the road, which would reduce the UK's carbon footprint for global warming. Emma commented: ‘Although there is an increasing awareness of the environmental problem and the positive consequences of not wasting food

Photo: Akoray (flickr)

in the UK, it is consumer trends in the developed countries where major waste comes from. The majority of us will say that we don't waste food. It is a fact we all waste food.’ Raising awareness that the world is in crisis is not enough to change people's behaviour, Emma said. It is about understanding lifestyles; dependent on life stages, consumer trends and addressing people's real motivations. It also involves a combination of practical factors: how we shop, knowing how to cook, understanding product labeling, how to store food in the fridge and freezer. The reality for most is about the pound in the pocket and not necessarily about saving our environment or concern over meeting the food demands of an increasing population. Cutting food waste from field to fork George Gordon, with the unenviable role of Group Corporate Responsibility for Tesco, bravely faced an onslaught of direct questions from concerned consumers. Retailers know from research that customers and shareholders want to see evidence of food waste reduction, he said. George highlighted the shocking fact that 32% of food is wasted on the journey from field to fork. He said that Tesco, as a major retailer, was acutely aware of its responsibilities to cut food waste right across the food supply chain: ‘At Tesco, we buy, move and sell food – it's what we do and we do it at scale all over the world. This means we can find out where the waste happens and why.’ Tesco promotes an approach of 'scale for good' – leveraging on its size and global reach. It works with suppliers to improve efficiency in operations and engage more with its customers.

WATCH VIDEO

George highlighted various actions taken by Tesco – how to display date information that is meaningful to consumers and identifying the most regularly sold products that go to waste in store. He added that Tesco also runs initiatives to make sure that any surplus food is sent to charities such as FareShare and FoodCycle to help those in need. The social benefits of good food not going to waste With over 4 million people affected by food poverty in the UK, it seems absurd that such high levels of food are wasted in our communities. Kelvin Cheung talked about the work of FoodCycle that builds community food hubs throughout the UK. ‘We collect surplus food from supermarkets, like Tesco, and bring it to a local community kitchen and then cook it for people in need,’ he said. The answer to food poverty is not just about giving away surplus food to vulnerable groups of people; the true value of FoodCycle according to Kelvin has been to respond to the social needs and isolation that food poverty also brings to our communities. Kelvin commented on the integrated social aspect: ‘Our hubs are about combining local people, local communities where there is food waste, food poverty and having a meal together.’ The myth and reality: waste not want not As with IofC's key value that change begins with self – when it's about food, change also begins at home. In an ideal world, 'waste not want not' would hold true. The acute challenge to reduce the 7.2 Mt of generated food waste must be a shared responsibility. We all need to take action! The event was chaired by Mike Smith, Head of Business Programmes for IofC UK. by Yee-Liu Williams


School for Changemakers 2013

Igniting

of Positive Chan

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Women Peace Circles debate what builds and destroys peace

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n a beautiful weekend in July a group of women of diverse ages and backgrounds came together in London for a Peace Circle, organised by IofC’s Creators of Peace programme. Participant Catherine Brown describes the weekend as ‘life-changing’. ‘We debated what builds and destroys peace. We told our stories and shared life experiences. We learned how to listen to ourselves and others without judgement. We discussed the qualities of a peace creator and the power of forgiveness and spent valuable time in silence. ‘Above all I made friends for life amongst people I only met for two days. The willingness and openness of all who took part to talk about themselves was something I had never come across. An environment was created whereby personal walls came down on the first day.’

Follow-up events for women who had taken part in previous Peace Circles included a film show in London and a tea in Oxford to hear from Lebanese Creator of Peace, Marie Chaftari. She described how she and a Muslim friend had founded Li-Naltaqi, bringing women from Lebanon’s divided communities together to work for peace. Participants in the Creators of Peace Circle in London in July. Catherine Brown is second from the left in the back row

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by Mary Lean

www.uk.iofc.org/creators-of-peace

Newsletter AUTUMN-WINTER 2013 / UK PROGRAMMES


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Photo: Saba Getty

hursday 27 June marked the introduction of an enlightening four-day residential programme held at Liverpool Hope University, which brought people together and aimed to inspire positive change in their lives. Now in its fourth year, School for Changemakers has a growing alumni which consists of a multicultural, multigenerational mix of people – all of whom are eager to investigate the power of change from a variety of perspectives. A powerful collaboration between Initiatives of Change UK, Liverpool Hope University and i-Genius, School for Changemakers comprises a range of activities which help people to listen to their ‘inner voice’ through peaceful reflection, whilst also providing learning tracks on the phenomenon of change within areas such as business, education and society – a combination which encourages both spiritual and practical change. Speaking about his experience at the School for Changemakers, 19-year-old Vinay Raniga from

Watford said: ‘I was sceptical about how much I would learn from the course. However, after only a few hours I met some amazing people who broke so many stereotypes, prejudices and misconceptions I had. Hearing about their experiences was truly a humbling yet thought-provoking experience on how we can implement our very own change on the world.’ This multicultural, multigenerational mix of people creates a real sense of community and harnesses a wonderful energy and spirit, which is one of the many reasons why people are coming back year after year. 2014 will mark the fifth year of the annual School for Changemakers conference and, whilst it is still a relatively young programme, it continues to grow on a yearly basis, due to the infectious and insatiable appetite that its network of people possess to inspire positive change. by Adam Yates

www.uk.iofc.org/school-changemakers

Phoebe Gill and Lawrence Fearon delivered similar Dialogue Facilitation courses for the Somali community a few years ago as a result of which the SIDD network came into being. The current course comprises six one-day sessions between 7 September and 26 October. It is hoped that this will be the first of many such courses, and that teams of trained Dialogue Facilitators will soon be available in Somalia offering their skills.

Dialogue facilitation training for Somali peace creators

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n 18 August Nabad-Curiye (Somali Peace-Creators) launched a Dialogue Facilitation training programme at Greencoat Place, the Initiatives of Change centre in London. Over sixty Somalis from all over Britain took part in an introductory event. Of them, 17 applicants were given places on the first training session which was delivered by Phoebe Gill and Lawrence Fearon. Nabad-Curiye is a peace and trust-building initiative for Somali society which is led by Somalis from different walks of life across the UK. Nabad-Curiye is a programme of SIDD (Somali Initiative of Dialogue and Democracy) which is a partner of the Agenda for Reconciliation (AfR) programme of Initiatives of Change UK.

Nabad-Curiye promotes peace and coexistence among individuals, communities and the wider Somali people through the provision of training in dialogue facilitation courses/workshops, education in peacebuilding, campaigns for citizens’ awareness in rights and responsibilities, as well as the creation of resource material in the Somali language for peace and reconciliation. The aim is to build durable peace starting from the grassroots and progressing upwards to national level, with the dream of making Somalia a peaceful and a developed nation. Nabad-Curiye hopes to be a real catalyst that removes conflict barriers which divide people, and hastens a national process that can lead to the restoration of harmony and trust among Somali people once again. by Muna Ismail

www.uk.iofc.org/agenda-reconciliation

AUTUMN-WINTER 2013 Newsletter 5


Finding our voice Speaking up for women in prison

The power of storytelling is transformative. It can give women prisoners a voice to be heard, re-engagement and a chance to make new life choices as they prepare to re-enter society. WATCH VIDEO

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arlotta Allum, founding director of the arts charity Stretch, spoke at a public event, organised by IofC UK’s Sustainable Communities Programme on 15 October in London. She shared her story of change from smuggling drugs to helping and campaigning for women in prison. Carlotta’s story Carlotta revealed the sharp-end reality of her wayward years – ‘how a nice, well brought up girl ended up serving time
in prison.’ ‘It didn’t feel like crime, everyone was having such a good time.’ She acknowledged her naivety – ‘I agreed to act as a mule ... why would I get caught?’ Carlotta was caught with drugs in California and ended up in prison. Her parents remortgaged their house and put up $30,000 bail to get her back home. Once back, she decided to change her life: ‘Suddenly I had to explain myself, have people judge me, apologise and think about my crime.’ She realised that her attitude had to change and a ‘new honesty had to include everyone – even my own children – as they had the perception that prisons are full of bad people.’ As she explained to them, ‘Prisons are full of normal people who have been caught making a bad decision.’ Carlotta commented on the challenges of working with women in prison, ‘As
a mother, who was pregnant in prison, an ex-drug abuser, I feel I am using my experience wisely. I believe ex-prisoners should be encouraged to work with prisoners. Women in prison need care and compassion, and third is being overlooked in the latest prison reforms.’

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her

S ete s: P

to

Pho

STRETCH - the power of storytelling Carlotta explained the motivation behind setting up Stretch, ‘I was bringing together my personal interest in the arts and culture and my growing obsession with the welfare of prisoners.’ Stretch set out to involve the offending community in museum and gallery education. Over the last 18 months, Carlotta said, ‘digital storytelling has taken me right into the heart of the prison community and fuelled my passion for helping women to be creative, forming a supportive group, to express themselves in new ways.’ She presented Story’s Out, a documentary made by Chloe Plumb which collates self-authored narratives from members of the prison community. The film follows Carlotta as she delivers Digital Storytelling workshops to a group of female inmates at Bronzefield prison. The video was followed by a lively discussion, involving four panelists. The event was chaired by Lul Seyoum, President of the International Centre for Eritrean Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

Newsletter AUTUMN-WINTER 2013 / SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES

Lizzie Jones, aged 22, who has been in prison five times, talked courageously. ‘I met Carlotta in Bronzefield,’ she said. ‘It was amazing to have a small group of women disclose stories about their addictions, crimes and all come together to make such beautiful films.’ Michaela Jaronsinska, Project Manager, Hibiscus, talked about the foreign women in prison. She explained that migrant women ‘are very low risk and a particularly quiet group’, who have been trafficked or coerced into offending. Commenting on Stretch workshops, she said: ‘It was amazing because for the first time women migrants could express themselves and you could see how they changed.’ Nicola Phillips, a Senior Tutor in Education, Bronzefield, observed, ‘It is the “journey” – to see these women not sure if they wanted to be part of it, really change their mindset, become focused and notice a change in their hearts, face inside why they are in prison. I was really encouraged to see the development in those women and would love to have Stretch back again.’

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Jenny Earle, a director of the Prison Reform Trust, [PRT]) raised the issue of women serving a custodial sentence rather than a community order. She commented, ‘With overcrowding, lack of funding, women with dependent children, many of whom are in prison for non-violent offences or on remand, it was time women were offered a community order rather than a custodial sentence.’ ‘Women in prison are such a neglected, overlooked minority group ... often from the most socially excluded backgrounds. Although they represent 5 per cent of the overall prison population they account for 31 per cent of all self-harm incidents in prison,’ Jenny added. Jenny said PRT’s aim in prison was to reduce the number of women by dealing with ‘the problems they experience that got them into prison’. ‘Women shouldn’t have to go to prison to access the support for mental health, drug and alcohol services they need.’ She added that the problem should be dealt with in the community and not in prison. ‘There are too many cases of women, some of whom have mental health issues, serving very short prison sentences that serve little purpose except to further disrupt already chaotic lives – especially where children are concerned. There is an over incarceration of women who should be provided with support and opportunities and not metered out punishment.’ Don de Silva, Head of Programme Administration at IofC UK, said, ‘Despite all the challenges there are individuals making a difference. At IofC, we offer the opportunity to connect the dots, if the smaller groups can work together, maybe they can set the agenda for policy and funding’. In her summing up Carlotta said, ‘Charities like Stretch need to be able to reach prisoners that need funding and support, but also there needs to be a change in how we view and judge female offenders.’

British Somalis organise inter-generational workshops in north London The 2011 summer riots deeply shocked Amina Khalid, a young woman of Somali origin who lives in north London, not far from where they started. In 2010 she had helped organise inter-generational dialogue workshops for the Somali community in London, and it occurred to her that Somalis could offer something from 11-year-old Nadwa (left) with Meg Hillier MP their experience to the whole community in north London.

Photo: Hayan Amin

Speaking up for women in prison

So it was that on 30 August and 1 September nearly forty participants gathered in a community centre in Hackney for the first of two intergenerational weekend workshops, entitled Peace Begins at Home. Guest speakers included the local Labour MP Meg Hillier, who warmly welcomed the initiative. Firstly the generations met separately to identify their main concerns, and then presented them to each other. Four key issues emerged: Communication in the family, Education and the reasons for underachievement, ‘Inner’ peace and its connection to ‘Outer’ peace, and Changing role models. Mixed-age groups then discussed these issues and agreed what they felt would be the solutions to them. One of the younger participants said at the end, ‘I have realised that it is not only our parents that need to change their mindset, but we do too. We must not blame them but help to find solutions together.’ Everyone wanted the workshops to continue. The next one will be in Tottenham (date to be announced). The workshops are funded by the Awards for All Big Lottery Fund, Initiatives of Change UK and Somali Initiative for Dialogue and Democracy. Amina Khalid is a member of IofC UK’s Agenda for Reconciliation programme which supports peacemaking initiatives. Recent initiatives include supporting British Somali and Eritrean community leaders in their work to reconcile their communities among themselves, with the host community and in their countries of origin. by Peter Riddell

www.uk.iofc.org/agenda-reconciliation Below:Working session in progress

Photo: Hayan Amin

by Yee-Liu Williams

www.stretch-charity.org www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk www.fpwphibiscus.org.uk AUTUMN-WINTER 2013 Newsletter 7


TIGERoadshow

Business TIGER seeks to strengthen integrity photo: Hot Black Morgue

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high-profile panel of speakers addressed the second TIGERoadshow workshop – organised by IofC UK’s business programme, Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy, in Sheffield on 12 September. The speakers included: renowned business author Margaret Heffernan; Tony Bradley, Director of the SEED Centre (Social and Ethical Enterprise Development Centre) at Liverpool Hope University Business School; Professor John Carlisle, an advisor to the government on large-scale infrastructure projects; and Rikki Griffiths, Area Commercial Director at HSBC in Liverpool. The event, which was hosted by Sheffield Hallam University’s Business School, was opened by the Dean of the School, Adrian Hopgood. He pointed out that in the past the tendency was to seek and expect heroic leadership, especially from the ‘top’, but now we are moving towards a more ‘collective leadership culture’ in which a more dispersed or distributed view of leadership can flourish.

‘ The quality of dissent within an organisation shows how well it runs – no dissent, no good.’ Margaret Heffernan argued that the biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we do not see; not because they are secret or invisible, but because we are ‘willfully blind’. She had seen business blind spots leading to a failed corporate culture that undermines cooperation in business. ‘The leader of any organisation in the world must be watching the scandals

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that rocked HSBC, Barclays, the BBC and News Corporation. Every organisation has issues and concerns which are known about by many people who choose to remain silent,’ she said. The focus was then on how to practically counteract all this, changing business from unreliable to trustworthy. She proposed, as an answer, that the quality of dissent within an organisation shows how well it runs – no dissent, no good. ‘Every smart organisation should design systems and processes that make it easy and safe for any employee to ask questions, raise concerns and blow the whistle. This happens only if everyone is watching and telling the truth,’ she said.

‘The future evolution belongs to social enterprises and ethical businesses.’ The Rev Tony Bradley told participants that the ethical consumption market – a highly segmented marketplace with ‘ethical’ decision-making based on a wide variety of factors, many of which were not especially ‘altruistic’ – was growing significantly. ‘The Ethical Consumerism Report 2011 showed that monies in ethical savings and investments grew 9.3 per cent from £19.3 billion to £21.1 billion year on year,’ he said. He added: ‘The future evolution belongs to social enterprises and ethical businesses. They are tackling the disruptions caused by the five ‘S’s – size, scale, sources, sinks and responding to the challenge of greater solidarity in business and the economy.

Newsletter AUTUMN-WINTER 2013 / BUSINESS

His remarks were followed by compelling case studies presented by social and ethical enterprises: Mind Apart, a Sheffield SEE run by Jodie Marshall; and Joe Swann, founder and CEO of My Social Innovation (MySI), a London-based organisation helping young people to set up sustainable social enterprises. After implementing a Systems Thinking exercise with applications for large corporates, Professor John Carlisle proposed a new business model which was demonstrably better and more profitable. ‘The best business model in the future is not to cut the cost but to improve the quality, he said. ‘The new order can be established through working with your suppliers.’ For his part, Rikki Griffiths of HSBC said, ‘We have to change our culture and go back to traditional relationship banking – spending more time understanding customers’ needs and not selling products to hit short-term targets.’ Alastair Johnson, a local furniture maker, thought the day-long event was far-reaching, wide-ranging, often amusing, compelling and profound. ‘I felt encouraged and affirmed in my ideas for a social enterprise and discovered more like-minded people,’ he said. Julia Harley agreed: ‘The contents of this event are like seeds; the more we sow them and keep them watered by constantly reminding and challenging people, the more results we will see.’ TIGE focuses on the true heart of effective leadership and encourages ‘conscience-based’ decision-making, leading to organizational changes in business and economic life. by Jiawen Zhou

www.uk.iofc.org/tige


How blowing the whistle on her employers changed her life Genevieve Boast speaks to Rachel Evans

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rom a ‘dark night of the soul’ to a path into a future full of possibilities, Genevieve Boast is the first to admit that she could never have dreamt of where life would take her. She left behind a life with all the trappings of material success and chose to take each decision about her life and work on the basis of what she felt was right. Genevieve, who began her career in a logistics firm, describes her work as ‘story-telling, exploring what the biggest story is – what we could be and do – if everything came from that deep quiet inner place where we know what is right’. As she told delegates at the Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy business conference in Caux, Switzerland, this summer, she was faced with having to expose her firm’s mishandling of a client’s valuable stock. She agonised over what she should do when she discovered discrepancies in stock levels in the warehouse, facing what she thought would be the ruin of her career prospects.

‘I knew the right thing to do, although everyone around me was telling me to do the opposite.’ ‘That was really a turning point for me,’ she said, ‘because it came so early in my career. I was 22, and I knew the right thing to do, although everyone around me was telling me to do the opposite – keep a low profile, go with the crowd. My head was full of what would happen – I would lose my job, never get a reference, no-one would trust me or hire me, and so on. I had to go beyond all that mind-chatter to what was deep

inside me. At the end of the day, I knew I could not live with myself if I did nothing.’ So she acted, and a few weeks later, was invited to work for the client’s company in a new role. Her career blossomed, she got married, worked long hours and had all the trappings of success – all the ingredients of a conventional happy ending. But a couple of years later, her ‘dark night of the soul’ enveloped her. Genevieve, who described herself as “not religious, but spiritual”, said: ‘I woke up one sunny July morning, checked my mobile phone and saw I had eight missed calls during the night, which would need dealing with. I looked across at my husband and realised that we were like strangers to each other and that I did not love him. I looked out of my window onto a bleak concrete jungle. That morning, I lay on the bathroom floor and sobbed, because all the things that were supposed to make me happy just didn’t.’ When she told her boss she wasn’t happy, he asked her what she was going to do about it. Genevieve started to take action, studying psychology and neurolinguistic programming (NLP), changing her job, getting divorced, moving house. She said: ‘I knew I needed to find out who I was and what I was here for, what part I should play in the world. I started to realise that I was not the kind of person I had thought. I found out I needed freedom to make a difference, and the path I had been on didn’t lead to any of those things.’ During this period of upheaval, she met up again with Euan, now her husband, who she had first met when he offered her the new role with the client whose

‘I needed to find out who I was and what I was here for, what part I should play in the world.’ stock had gone astray. ‘I was going through a divorce, he was going through a divorce – everyone thought we were insane to get together,’ she said. After working in a corporate role focusing on social responsibility and meeting partners in the voluntary sector, Genevieve decided to set up her own business. She offers her own brand of continuous improvement training and leadership development, with a particular focus on integrity. Integrity, she believes, comes from deep within us, using our own sense of what is right as a basis for decision-making, accepting that fear should not rule those choices. ‘It is much easier said than done, of course,’ said Genevieve. ‘Each client I take on has to be the right client – if they aren’t, it just won’t work. I have found that everything else just falls into place if you walk towards your fears and make a decision from that place of inner stillness.’ The business is now booming, with Genevieve just back from participating in the Beyond Sport Summit in Philadelphia, offering young sports leaders tailored coaching pro bono, and she is now preparing to address female MBA students in London on collaborative and innovative ways of working. She said: ‘I think this is beyond coincidental – it is magical. If you had asked me five years ago where I would be now, I could never have made this up. Integrity is how life is supposed to work.’

PROFILE / AUTUMN-WINTER 2013 Newsletter 9


Photo: Peter Riddell

Lebanese peace-makers visit the UK

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ssaad Chaftari, a former senior militia commander in the Lebanese civil war in the 1970s-80s, and his wife Marie Aoun, spent 11 days in Belfast, Manchester, Oxford and London in September. They were hosted in Belfast by Jim Lynn and Alec and Gaby McRitchie. Jim had met Assaad on a visit to Lebanon last year, and they had agreed to explore ways in which the Irish and Lebanese could help each other in bringing reconciliation and change to their respective communities. Assaad Chaftari was well-known to the Lebanese during the 1980s for being the deputy head of Intelligence of the Lebanese Forces Christian militia. He subsequently came to national attention in 2000 when he wrote an open letter to the Lebanese people apologising to the relatives of his victims and forgiving his enemies. One national daily newspaper commented that other warlords had admitted mistakes, but that Assaad was the first to apologise. Rebuilding relationships between confessional communities Since then he and Marie have devoted all their energies to rebuilding relationships between the confessional communities in their country. This has taken on increased urgency as the war in neighbouring Syria threatens to spread to Lebanon. Assaad represents the Lebanese chapter of Moral Rearmament/Initiatives of Change on a multi-confessional partnership of 29 organisations working for civil peace. He is also working with a new group of ex-combatants, Muslim and Christian, who are engaging with young men across the country in an effort to deromanticise war and persuade them not to go down the same route as they had done. Marie for her part works with a group of women on an initiative called ‘Linaltaki’

Assaad and Marie Chaftari (left) with Jim Lynn

(Let’s meet) to organise summer camps for children, and dialogues for women across religious and racial divides. Learning from each other: the Lebanese and Northen Irish experience In Belfast, they were invited to the Northern Ireland Assembly where they briefed Members of the Legislative Assembly on their experiences and perspectives. They met with former combatants from the Nationalist and Loyalist communities, one working in an organisation for Restorative Justice and the other working for community development. They spoke to a Church of Ireland bible study and met a Methodist minister who has created a thriving centre in a deprived area. Assaad commented, ‘There are a lot of similarities that can be drawn between Lebanon and Northern Ireland and many lessons exchanged between us.’ In Manchester, they were hosted by Greg Davis, who runs the ‘United Estates of Wythenshawe’, a youth and community centre on the Benchill Estate. Greg used to be a gang leader and worked as a nightclub bouncer. Then he had a change of heart and decided to help young people instead of harming them. He created a centre in a disused church, where young men could exercise, play

10 Newsletter AUTUMN-WINTER 2013 / INTERNATIONAL

sports, have internet access and produce documentary films expressing their interests. Assaad felt that his expertise could be helpful in some Lebanese cities. Women as creators of peace In Oxford, Marie spoke about her work in promoting dialogues between women of different faiths at an event organised by Creators of Peace. She spoke about a pioneering development in which they had begun to include Palestinian women from refugee camps. Such encounters are very rare because the Lebanese blame the Palestinians for triggering their civil war, and the Palestinians have bitter memories of their own suffering during those days. In London they visited the Foreign Office and discussed the situation in Lebanon and Syria including the problems of security, the refugees and the Sunni-Shia divide. Assaad also attended the Forgiveness Project Annual Lecture entitled ‘Zero Degrees of Empathy: Exploring explanations of human cruelty and kindness’ where he was invited to make an intervention. He gave a personal testimony of change and explained the role of Initiatives of Change in that change. by Jim Lynn and Peter Riddell


Training the Trainers: Heart of Effective Leadership programme takes place in India

The pilot initiative took place at Asia Plateau, the IofC centre in India from 9 to 14 September. HEL usually runs eight times a year for business managers and increasingly for staff from the education and agriculture sectors. The aim of the training at Asia Plateau was to increase

South Sudan seeks IofC’s help for reconciliation

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or the second time since May, Episcopal Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, chairman of South Sudan's National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation Committee, has written inviting Initiatives of Change International’s participation in the ‘journey in search of peace for our scarred country’. IofC International Council members Edward Peters and Abiodun Owoseni will meet the Archbishop and his committee during their visit to Juba in November, to explore how to build on ‘the work previously undertaken by IofC… and the values incorporated in IofC’s training’ to create a ‘wider national training programme’. Central

trainer numbers, enhance their skills in design and delivery for the HEL programme. Benefits of the pilot initiative included: ●● participants were introduced to the many ways people learn and make meaning out of knowledge ●● a greater understanding of different learning styles led to new design skills and creating new training approaches for HEL ●● new modules were delivered that led to new and innovative ways to present the HEL material ●● ways were explored of delivering HEL training to India, Africa, Europe and South East Asia.

These new innovations are already being used in at least two programmes. One participant wrote, ‘We have already started implementing the new design in some of our work with the management students and the response was positive.’ If you would like to know more, please get in touch with Bhav Patel [bhavmail@ gmail.com] or Rob Lancaster [rob. lancaster@iofc.org] from the Training and People Development portfolio of Initiatives of Change International. by Bhav Patel

to their approach is identifying ‘mobilisers for peace and agents for transformation’ to make reconciliation a national movement. Many of the 200 ‘peace mobilisers’ trained by the IofC team in April have already been active. Among them is a group of Christian ministers and Muslim imams who Episcopal Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul asks for IofC’s help formed an interfaith for a ‘journey in search of peace for our scarred country’ network to support a day of national prayer on 6 July, on the eve of Independence Day celebrations. The Rev Sudan in September for 58 young people Henry Samuel reported that ‘thousands including 20 graduates from the April turned up’ and that, despite political training. On 21 September, these youths turbulence at that time, ‘insecurity in the helped stage a vibrant public celebramain cities has been minimised’. Several tion of the International Day of Peace mobilisers were trained to help facilitate for the first time in South Sudan, led by four Creators of Peace Circles, run by a multinational force of uniformed UN IofC South Sudan. peacekeepers.

Photo: Rob Lancaster

I

nitiatives of Change International’s training department has developed a six-day training programme called Heart of Effective Leadership, HEL, for use by IofC programmes and partner organisations who wish to redesign content to accommodate different learning styles. The main purpose of the Training of Trainers programme is to enhance the design skills of those who deliver programmes.

Six other mobilisers organised a ‘Youth in Solidarity’ forum under IofC South

by Mike Brown

www.iofc.org/southsudan

AUTUMN-WINTER 2013 Newsletter 11


Award-winning film’s South African protagonists to visit the UK in May 2014

WATCH VIDEO

Ginn Fourie and Letlapa Mphalele, the protagonists of the award winning Beyond Forgiving documentary film, will visit the UK from10 to 20 May 2014. They have been invited by IofC-UK and partners to speak at UK capital cities and to engage with audiences on how to ‘build bridges across the world’s divides’. Interest in the documentary has been greatly heightened since the film received several international film festivals’ awards including the Golden Award for Inspiration and the award for Best Director at the International Film Festival for Peace, Equality and Inspiration.

London, Liverpool, Newbury, Nottingham, Devizes, Alton, Abingdon, Oxford and Keswick. We need help to fund the visit There has been an expressed wish that this visit be a ‘people’s initiative’ and supported by the IofC network and partners. The visit budget is estimated at £15,000 and we hope that £7,500 can be raised through donations to help cover travel, venue space, publicity material and accommodation. The ball has started to roll with contributions of over £700 from people who have seen the film at recent screenings around the country.

Beyond Forgiving, an Initiatives of Change production, tells the inspiring story of forgiveness and reconciliation between Ginn and Letlapa from South Africa and their journey to bring healing to their country.

If you can support Ginn and Letlapa’s visit please contact: films@uk.iofc.org, telephone 020 77986000, or visit www.uk.iofc.org/films

Public screenings and discussion evenings have taken place over the last two months in towns across the UK including,

by Howard Grace, Executive Producer of Beyond Forgiving

Recently published The Spiritual Vision of Frank Buchman by Philip Boobbyer An in-depth examination of the life and ideology of one of the most original figures in moral and spiritual thinking of the twentieth century. Boobbyer’s book is an important contribution to understanding the roots of Moral Re-Armament and the Oxford Group movement that lives on through the work of Initiatives of Change today. Buchman’s importance is particularly felt in the areas of conflict resolution and interfaith dialogue where the need for a spiritual response in an emerging global society is as applicable today as it was during his life-time. Price £20.00 plus postage The Pennsylvania State University Press, ISBN: 9780271059808

A Long Way from Tipperary by Lloyd Mullen Lloyd Mullen’s autobiography is a delightful memoir; full of anecdotal stories starting with Lloyd’s growing up in Ireland in the ‘thirties and forties’. Mullen describes his book as a ‘mixture of family and education’ that recounts his travels as a school teacher and the role he played as a British Council officer in the British Isles, the Indian sub-continent and Uganda. This is a book that leaves readers feeling uplifted and better informed about a variety of subjects from international affairs and politics to life on the school playing fields. Price £12.00 plus postage Bound Biographies, ISBN: 9781905178629

Available to buy from:

Initiatives of Change, 24 Greencoat Place, London SW1P 1RD Tel: 020 7798 6000 reception@london.iofc.org www.uk.iofc.org/books

2013 Autumn/Winter IofC UK newsletter  

News of a fascinating Greencoat Forum on food waste, plus news of the 2013 School for Changemakers, working with Somalis living in the UK, t...

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