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.'
1964: Daw Nyein Tha – ‘When I point my finger at my neighbour’You never knew who you might meet in the Caux kitchens in the 1960s. The kitchen which prepared dishes for Asian guests was presided over by a small Burmese woman in her 60s. Few would have guessed th... Read More
1963: Muriel Smith – A voice for racial healingNear the coffee bar in the Caux Palace stands a grand piano, the gift of American mezzo-soprano Muriel Smith. She was a familiar face at Caux conferences in the 1960s, filling the meeting hall and the... Read More
1962: Chief Walking Buffalo – Respect and protect Mother EarthIn 1962, a documentary about a remarkable 62,000-mile journey was premiered in Caux. Two years before, Chief Walking Buffalo of the Nakoda (Stoney) Nation and Chief David Crowchild of the Tsuut’ina (S... Read More
1961 - Patrick Colquhoun: ‘That week changed my life’‘Papers about Moral Re-Armament (now Initiatives of Change) sent to me by a friend over the previous three years invariably ended in the bin,’ wrote Patrick Colquhoun. But his first visit at the confe... Read More
1960 - Cyprus: 'Hope never dies'There are few problems in the world that have not found some echo in the conferences and encounters in Caux since 1946. In 1960 Cyprus gained its independence, after several years of sometimes violent... Read More
1959 – Lennart Segerstråle: ‘Art must be dangerous to evil’In 1959, a vast fresco was unveiled on the wall of the dining room of the Caux Palace. Its creator, the Finnish artist Lennart Segerstråle, chose the universal image of water to represent his vision o... Read More
1958 - Angela Elliott: At school in CauxAngela Cook (later Elliott) arrived in Caux in 1958, aged four. She was one of some 40 children who lived in Caux at different times between 1955 and 1965, attending a small chalet school just up the ... Read More
1957 - Jessie Bond: 'I saw his greatness'Jessie Bond was struggling to cope with four children and her husband’s frequent outbursts. She was seriously thinking of leaving him when they went to Switzerland to spend the summer in Caux. A time ... Read More
1956 – The Zellers: A family invested in Caux‘We had the great joy of deciding to sell our house and give the money to Caux,’ Anneli Zeller told the conference on the 29 July 1956. ‘The man we sold it to was so impressed that he gave 10,000 Swis... Read More
1955 - Freedom: 'Do you think you could write a play?'‘We were catapulted into history,’ said Manasseh Moerane, one of the writers of Freedom. The play was seen by 30,000 people all over Europe and demand was so great that they decided to make a film. Fr... Read More
1954 - Saidie Patterson: ‘Bury the hatchet or bury the dead’When Saidie Patterson, a trades union organizer from Northern Ireland, spoke at the conference centre at Caux in 1954, she was keen to point out that Moral Re-Armament (now Initiatives of Change) had ... Read More
1953 – Mohamed Masmoudi: 'Stop cursing the French!'In 1953, Mohamed Masmoudi, a young Tunisian nationalist living a semi-clandestine existence, came to Caux, more or less smuggled across the border into Switzerland. At Caux, he lost his hatred of the ... Read More
SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY
The success of our mission depends largely on the financial support of our donors
By giving to Initiatives of Change Switzerland, you will ensure that we continue to inspire, equip and connect individuals to be the change they want to see in the world.
If you share our passion and interest for the work we do, there are many ways in which you can support IofC Switzerland.