Opening Ceremony Caux Democracy Forum: Revitalising democracy - towards inclusive and peaceful societies

15 July 2024


Join us at the Opening Ceremony of the Caux Democracy Forum at the Caux Palace, Switzerland!


  • Venue: Caux Palace, Switzerland
  • Time: 15 July 2024 - starting at 16:00 CEST
  • Cost: CHF 70.-/person (including reception & concert)


About the Opening Ceremony

In collaboration with the Geneva Diplomatic Club, the opening ceremony of the Caux Democracy Forum will take place at the Caux Palace on 15 July at 16:00 CEST, followed by a reception and concert organised with the support of the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation.

With an expected in-person attendance of three hundred people, the event will also be streamed online. If you're not planning to attend the entire four-day residential forum, you can still register for the opening ceremony. To secure your place for the Opening Ceremony, we kindly ask you to fill out the online registration form.

A complete line-up of speakers will be announced in the upcoming weeks.



The organisation will leverage the expertise and diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds of members within the Initiatives of Change network, as well as strengthen and cultivate partnerships.

Partnership lies at the heart of the Caux Foundation's endeavors, with a commitment to fostering a collaborative and cooperative mindset that permeates Caux's culture, strategies, and operations.

The Geneva Diplomatic Club is recognised as the official Club of International Geneva by the Swiss Confederation, the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the City of Geneva and the United Nations Office at Geneva. Its mission is to bring the international community together, stimulate links and exchanges, and contribute to the development of relations with the host state. Its 850 members are representative of the diversity of players in International Geneva (diplomats, international civil servants, directors of non-governmental organisations, Swiss personalities and businessmen).

The Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation is a Swiss private charitable foundation with its center for dialogue, the Caux Palace, in Caux, above Montreux, Switzerland. The Caux Palace has become a historic venue bringing together a diverse range of people to address the world’s political, economic and societal challenges together. 

Caux Initiatives of Change mission is to provide a safe and privileged space to inspire, equip and connect individuals, groups and organisations from around the globe to engage effectively and innovatively in the promotion of trust, ethical leadership, sustainable living and human security. 

Initiatives of Change International is a voluntary, donation- and grant-funded nonprofit association of national legal bodies (national teams) and international programmes. Registered in Caux, Switzerland, they coordinate the world-wide Initiatives of Change people’s movement, uniting a community of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting with their own.

Initiatives of Change International have special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC), participatory status at the Council of Europe as well as a seat at the International Organization for Migration (IOM).


Caux Palace Adrien Giovannelli
The Caux Palace (photo: Adrien Giovannelli)


Programme - Monday, 15 July 2024 (start: 16:00)

  • WELCOME BY THE MASTER OF CEREMONY: Ignacio Packer, Executive Director, Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation  
    • Safety and Security Announcement & Aretha Charter explanations 


Ignacio Packer was appointed as Executive Director of the Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation in May 2023. Until March 2023, he served as Executive Director of ICVA, the global consortium of humanitarian NGOs. ICVA is a global network of non-governmental organisations whose mission is to make humanitarian action more principled and effective by working collectively and independently to influence policy and practice.

Ignacio has over 30 years of experience in humanitarian work and development issues. He served a five-year term as Secretary General of the Terre des Hommes International Federation, and previously worked for the Terre des Hommes Foundation, the Swiss Tropical Institute, the European Association for Development and Health, Medecins Sans Frontieres, KPMG and the European Bank for Latin America.

He is an expert on human rights and social issues. He has been strongly engaged in global advocacy on protection frameworks for migrants and refugees with a particular focus on children and youth.

Passionate for long-distance challenges, he is also an enthusiastic ultra-trail runner.

    • Jacqueline Coté – President Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation
    • Raymond Loretan – Président Club Diplomatique de Genève 


Jacqueline Coté

Jacqueline Coté was the Director of Public Relations and previously Head of Communications at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva from 2009 to 2021. In that role she was instrumental in building the new campus of the Institute, the Maison de la Paix, as a vibrant centre of conferences and seminars, thus solidifying the reputation and outreach of the Institute in International Geneva and beyond.

Prior to that Ms Coté was the Permanent Representative to the UN of the International Chamber of Commerce and also served as Senior Advisor Advocacy & Partnerships to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.  In the early part of her career, Ms Coté practiced as an international lawyer in Canada and Switzerland and held management positions with multinational companies SGS and DuPont.   

Ms Coté believes that the global agenda can best be tackled by linking the public, private and non-profit sectors, and that dialogue and empathy are essential tools to achieve the sustainable development goals.  She recently trained as a mediator at Harvard Law School and joined the board of several associations to continue her engagement with International Geneva.

Ms Coté has Swiss, Canadian and British nationalities, is a member of the Bar of Quebec and has two grown-up children who share her passion about tackling today’s global challenges in their areas of work.


    • Ambassador Thomas Guerber, Head of UN Division, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Ambassador Thomas Guerber

Ambassador Thomas Guerber was appointed Director of DCAF - Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance on 24 November 2015 and took up his function on 1 July 2016. He brings to the position extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy and policy development relating to human security, human rights and sustainable development.
From 2010 to 2013, Ambassador Guerber was Switzerland’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. From 2007 to 2010, he worked as a Counsellor for financial, budgetary and institutional issues at Switzerland’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York. Prior to these assignments, he held various functions within the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs’ Human Security Division, including Head of Section for Peace Policy and Human Security. He entered the Swiss diplomatic service in 1997.
Thomas Guerber holds an LL.M. degree in public international law and international economic law from the University of Berne, a master’s degree in European integration and economics from Institute for European Global Studies (Basel) and a master’s degree in history and literature from the University of Basel.
Apart from his mother tongue German, he is fluent in English and French. He is married and has two sons.


  • MUSIC 
    • Ms. Nada Al-Nashif, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
    • Ambassador Andrius Krivas, Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the Council of Europe
    • Three youth from three continents sharing testimonies of their day-to-day life and what democracy means for them
    • Prof. Rajmohan Gandhi, Historian, biographer and former member of India’s Parliament  
Rajmohan Gandhi
  • Rajmohan Gandhi is a historian, biographer and former President of Initiatives of Change International. He was born in 1935 and has worked as a journalist, writer, politician and professor of political science. Rajmohan Gandhi is unique in that he is both one of Mahatma Gandhi's grandsons and a grandson of C. Rajagopalachari, an Indian National Congress leader and the only Indian to have served as Governor General of India (from 1948 to 1950). Like Gandhi and Rajagopalachari, Rajmohan Gandhi is committed, including in politics, to a peaceful democracy with integrity and respect for the dignity of every individual. He is the author of numerous works on the figures of the struggle for Indian independence, the drama of the partition of India and the relations between Hindus and Muslims.


    • Sarah Noble – Head of Global Engagement, Caux Initiatives of Change


Sarah Noble

Sarah Noble is originally from Canada and but was born and has lived in Switzerland for more than half her life. She has dedicated her career to building a better world and is passionate about showcasing people's stories about how we build peace with each other and the planet. In her TEDx talk, Storytelling is Our Real-Life Superpower, she invites us to embrace this ability to take on the existential issues of our time and create a better future.

Sarah has held leadership positions at international organisations focused on peacebuilding, humanitarian issues, and independent media. She brings with her more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications, fundraising, and partnerships in the field of international peace and security. She is co-founder and is Curator of the Peace Talks at Interpeace where she has held a number of positions, including Special Assistant, Chief of Staff, and Director of Global Engagement. She has overseen more than 20 editions of the Peace Talks that have taken place in more than 8 countries with over 8.000 attendees and has worked with more than 200 speakers from over 50 countries. Sarah also served as Director of External Relations at The New Humanitarian, a non-profit newsroom that puts quality, independent journalism at the service of the millions of people affected by humanitarian crises around the world, where she led the rebrand process and helped build the funding base of the organization.

She has 2 small children and volunteers on the Parent Teacher Association at the International School of Geneva. She also volunteers as the Country Chair of Global Dignity for Switzerland and serves on the Global Advisory Circle of the Future of Good. 

She has an MA in International Affairs from Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and a BA in Political Studies and Economics from Queen’s University. She is an Alumni and Past President of the Geneva Hub Association of the Global Shapers.

  • EXPOSITION "Democracy - pictured by Patrick Chappatte" (at the Belle Epoque Expo)


Patrick Chappatte, credit: Matthieu Zellweger

Patrick Chappatte was born in Pakistan in 1967 to a mother of Lebanese origin and a Swiss father. Published in the world's leading newspapers, he quickly made a name for himself with his incisive and caustic take on current affairs in Europe and around the world. He has worked for Le Temps, the NZZ, Der Spiegel, Le Canard enchaîné and The New York Times. He chairs the Freedom Cartoonist Foundation, inspired by Plantu and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan, and is involved in a number of initiatives to promote peace and democracy around the world. 




17:30 - 18:00 CEST: Refreshments 

18:00 - 18:45 CEST: Concert with Nola Kin, organised by the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation

Nola Kin

Nola Kin is the solo project of Zurich-based singer-songwriter Carla Fellinger. Her first EP, Fallstreak, is the result of three years without touring. A period of introspection marked by grief and a need to reconnect with her love of music. Between melancholy and hope, Carla displays her vulnerabilities on folk-pop productions, carefully blending organic and electronic sounds, natural and urban elements. (photo & bio: Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation)




19:00 - 20:00 CEST: Reception/Buffet-style Dinner

As from 20:00 CEST:

  • Between 20:00 and 22:00: Sunset Networking (Sunset at 21:20). 
  • Between 20:00 - 21:15: Possibility for historical guided tours of the Caux Palace (mainly for guests of the Diplomatic Club)


How to register for the Opening Ceremony?

The Opening Ceremony of the Caux Democracy Forum will take place on 15 July (16:00 - 17:45 CEST) at the Caux Palace.

If you're not planning to attend the entire four-day residential Caux Demoracy Forum, you can still register for the opening ceremony and join us in Caux or online. To secure your place for the Opening Ceremony, we kindly ask you to fill out the online registration form from 20 March onwards.

Please note that for day guests, the event in Caux includes the Opening Ceremony, dinner and the concert: CHF 70.-



The Caux Democracy Forum starts with the Opening Ceremony at the Caux Palace on Monday, 15 July at 16:00 CEST.

Attendees who have booked the full Forum packages (15 - 19 July) are asked to check in from 15:00 CEST on the 15 July. For participants who arrive early on 15 July and would like to drop off their luggage at the Caux Palace before official check-in times a luggage room will be available.


Useful Information



For further information, please get in touch BY EMAIL.








Please note that if you have already registered or are planning to register for the full residential Caux Democracy Forum at the Caux Palace, you do not need to register separately for the Opening Ceremony as it is part of your package. 


#CauxForum #CauxDemocracyForum


Per person (including dinner and concert at the Caux Palace)
  • CHF 70.-


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