75 Years of Stories
As we launch a series of 75 stories, celebrating 75th anniversary of Initiatives of Change in Caux, Yara Zgheib from Lebanon reflects on this special place at the heart of Swiss Alps which has changed lives of many people from all over world:
'I stepped off the mountain train with a heavy blue suitcase; I was angry and tired and grieving. I was 21 and had lost so much. I had not had lunch, or much sleep. I had no expectations. A stranger took me to an empty dining hall and offered me a sandwich.
I found myself suspended between the blues of lake and sky. I spent the rest of the month serving meals to hundreds of people. I also dined with rebels, musicians, students, activists, coffee bean farmers, priests, sheikhs and a former Vice-President of her country. I folded linen, washed plates. For the first time in my life, I was quiet.
But my story is not special, or mine. It belongs to this conference centre. It is 75 years long and contains hundreds of thousands of train rides, walks, talks, teas, conversations, and quiet moments of giant transformation.'
1997: The Māori Queen – ‘Our people are moving forward’She was a queen with the vision of a better future for her people. Discover the story of Māori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, and her visit to Caux. Read More
1996: Cardinal Franz König - 'On each visit I learn something new'One of the enduring images of the 50th anniversary of the Initiatives of Change conference centre in 1996 is that of the Dalai Lama greeting the 90-year-old Cardinal Franz König. Read More
1995: Marta Dąbrowska – ‘Summer comes and Caux comes’In the early 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, large numbers of Eastern and Central Europeans came to the Initiatives of Change (IofC) conferences in Caux. Many, like Marta Dąbrowska from Pola... Read More
1994: The Caux Round Table – Principles for BusinessIn July 1994, a set of Principles for Business was launched at Caux by the Caux Round Table (CRT), an international forum of business leaders which had been meeting there since 1986. Read More
1993: Somalia – ‘If you can have peace in Galkayo, you can have it anywhere’Among the Somalis at Caux in 1993 were Hassan Mohamud and Ahmed Egal, both from Galkayo, one of Somalia’s most violent cities. At Caux in 1993, together with other Somalis, they drew up a list of pote... Read More
1992: Hope in the Cities – 'Where healing can take place'In July 1992, 80 Americans arrived at the Initiatives of Change Switzerland conference centre in Caux with an urgent question: how to address racism, poverty and alienation in US cities. Three months ... Read More
1991: Anna Abdallah Msekwa – Creators of PeaceThe 680 women – and some men – who packed the Main Hall of the Caux Palace for the launch of Creators of Peace 30 years ago came from 62 countries and a mind-boggling variety of backgrounds: a Mohawk ... Read More
1990: King Michael of Romania – ‘Evil cannot last indefinitely’In the summer of 1990, six months after the overthrow of Communism in their country, 30 young Romanians came to Caux. It was their first time outside the Eastern bloc, and they had been hesitant about... Read More
1989: Michel Orphelin – Theatre of the heartIn spring 1946, when the first small group of Swiss visited the derelict hotel in Caux which was to become the Initiatives of Change (IofC) conference centre, they realized its ballroom could become a... Read More
1988: Joe Hakim and Marie Chaftari - ‘I am not a victim’The Caux summer of 1988 at the Initiatives of Change conference centre began with a Mediterranean Dialogue, attended by people from all over the region, followed by a 10-day ‘youth training session’. ... Read More
1987: Mother Park Chung Soo – ‘A new door began to open’Mother Park Chung Soo, a Won Buddhist nun, has been called the ‘Mother Teresa of South Korea’. She was already involved in humanitarian work in Korea when she came to the Initiatives of Change confere... Read More
1986 - Work Week: A facelift for the Caux PalaceAs plans for celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Initiatives of Change conference centre in Caux got underway, Eliane Stallybrass began to dream. In 1946 the pioneers of Caux had volunteered their... Read More
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