Opening Ceremony Caux Democracy Forum: Revitalising democracy - towards inclusive and peaceful societies across Europe and the world

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, we kindly ask you to fill out the online registration form.


How can democracy be revitalised across Europe and the wider world?

Democracy is retreating across the world, and millions are denied the freedoms that they struggled to achieve. Conflict grows and cooperation shrinks, setting back global efforts to combat climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. And even in democracy’s heartlands, citizens see the disconnect between democratic ideals and their practice, and lose faith.  If democracy is to be revitalised, we need to bridge this disconnect.

The Opening Ceremony for the Caux Democracy Forum sets the stage for the four-day residential event dedicated to addressing the pressing challenge of instilling democratic values in our nations. These values include integrity, accountability, transparency, and the inclusiveness of all, both majorities and minorities. Democracy can only thrive where these values motivate families and workplaces as well as politics and government.


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




16:00 CEST - 17:30 CEST (Caux Palace & livestreamed)





  • Ignacio Packer, Executive Director Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation



  • Jacqueline Coté, President Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation
  • Raymond Loretan, Chairman Geneva Diplomatic Club



  • Ambassador Thomas Guerber, Deputy State Secretary, Head of UN Division





  • Nada Al-Nashif, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights





  • Ambassador Andrius Krivas, Chair of the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies, 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

  • Maruee Pahuja (India), Expressive Arts Therapy Facilitator & Strategist, Visual Artist & Eye-care Practitioner
  • Jonas Truneh (UK), Project Development Officer at Triangle
  • Sidra Raslan (Syria), Logistics and Outreach Lead Creative Leadership





  • Prof. Rajmohan Gandhi, Historian, Biographer and former Member of India’s Parliament  



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




17:30 - 18:00

REFRESHMENTS & EXPOSITION "Democracy - pictured by Patrick Chappatte" 


18:00 - 18:45

CONCERT NOLA KIN with the support of the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation


19:00 - 20:00

RECEPTION: Buffet-style dinner


20:00 - 21:30

  • 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)





Raymond Loretan

RAYMOND LORETAN, Chairman Geneva Diplomatic Club

A former Swiss Ambassador to Singapore and Consul General in New York, Raymond Loretan is a political entrepreneur who, after leaving the Foreign Office in 2006, became Chairman and Director of several companies and foundations in fields as diverse as health, the hotel industry, chemicals, watchmaking and documentary cinema. He has been President of the Geneva Diplomatic Club since 2016, with the priority of decompartmentalising the worlds of diplomacy, economics, politics, academia and culture.  


Ambassador Thomas Guerber

AMBASSADOR THOMAS GUERBER, Deputy State Secretary, Head of UN Division

Ambassador Thomas Guerber was appointed Head of the UN Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in March 2022 and took up this role in August 2022. In January 2023 he was appointed to Deputy State Secretary. Previously, he was the Director of DCAF - Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, from 1 July 2016 to July 2022. 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 in New York. He was also posted in London and Copenhagen and held various other functions within the FDFA’s Middle East and North Africa Division and 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. Thomas Guerber was born in Bangkok in 1967. He is married and has two sons. Apart from his mother tongue German, he is fluent in English and French.


Nada Al Nashif

NADA AL-NASHIF, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights

Appointed United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights effective February 2020, Nada Al-Nashif has over 30 years of experience within the United Nations as an economist and development practitioner. Previously, Ms. Al-Nashif served as Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO (Paris), as Assistant Director-General & Regional Director of the International Labour Organization's Regional Office for Arab States (Beirut) and at the United Nations Development Programme in various headquarters (New York) and field assignments. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Balliol, Oxford University and a Master's in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School, Harvard University.


Andrius Krivas

AMBASSADOR ANDRIUS KRIVAS, Chair of the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies, Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the Council of Europe

Ambassador Andrius Krivas is a Lithuanian diplomat. He is the Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the Council of Europe, where he is Chair of the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies from May to November 2024. He studied International Relations and was head of the International Relations Department at the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Lithuania. From 2001 to 2003 he worked as an adviser at the integration unit of the Security Policy Department of the MFA, and later as an adviser at the Lithuanian Embassy to the United States.
From 2007 - 2008, Andrius Krivas was head of the NATO division of the Security Policy Department of the MFA, then seconded to the KAM, where he was director of the Department of International Relations and Operations. He became the secretary of the ministry in 2008, and later worked as the chief adviser of the ministry. From 2010 to 2013, he was adviser to the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the OSCE and worked as deputy minister of the MFA in 2013 - 2016. Since 1 August 2016  he was the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Lithuania to the United Nations Bureau and other international organisations in Geneva.


Maruee Paruja

MARUEE PAHUJA, Expressive Arts Therapy Facilitator & Strategist, Visual Artist & Eye-care Practitioner

Maruee Pahuja, an impassioned Expressive Arts Therapy facilitator and strategist, visual artist, and eye-care practitioner, is dedicated to enriching lives through the power of arts and science. As an Expressive Arts Consultant with Caux Initiatives of Change, she contributes strategic insights to foster robust dialogues in peacebuilding using arts-based approaches. Additionally, she serves as a core team member of Creative Leadership, driving content creation and strategy. Currently, she is designing a programme/project on Conscious Art with the School of Conscious Politics and is building on a pilot program in arts-based coaching with Step Ahead Berlin, one of the leading institutes in Expressive Arts, alongside the assistant dean of the European Graduate School. At Natasha Eye Care and Research Centre, she holds the role of Head of Optometry and Specialty Contact Lens Consultant. Here, she leads and trains teams of optometrists and optometry interns, spearheads social media strategies, and delivers exceptional clinical care, specialising in innovative approaches with specialty contact lenses. Maruee's journey is marked by pioneering efforts in developing arts-based therapeutic interventions and leading workshops that inspire profound transformation. From crafting curriculums to strategizing content that incites action, Maruee navigates the complexities of human emotions and societal needs with unwavering creativity and compassion.


Jonas Truneh

JONAS TRUNEH, Project Development Officer at Triangle

Jonas Truneh's journey with Caux began in 2017 during the Just Governance for Human Security conference, marking the start of his deep connection to Initiatives of Change's principles. His subsequent involvement in the Caux Scholars Program in 2018 solidified his commitment. In 2019, Jonas immersed himself in leadership principles at the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme, further cementing his dedication. Now, as a founding member of the Creative Leadership team, he continues to contribute to Caux's mission. Based in Beirut, Jonas serves as a project development officer at Triangle, a social enterprise acting as both a think tank and an international development consultancy. Leveraging his expertise in program development and project management, Jonas spearheads strategic initiatives, drawing from his rich international background. He holds an MSc in International Public Policy from University College London and a BA degree with First-Class Honours in Religion, Politics, and Society from King’s College London.


SIDRA RASLAN, Logistics and Outreach Lead Creative Leadership

Sidra Raslan from Syria is the logistics and outreach lead of Creative Leadership, a youth-led Caux Initiatives of Change initiative for young leaders that organises programmes focused on dialogue and storytelling. Sidra also volunteers on topics of refugees rights and inclusion, inner development, and youth empowerment. Sidra holds a masters degree in environmental, economic and social sustainability from UAB and works at HP on their partner sustainability programme.



Rajmohan Gandhi

PROF. RAJMOHAN GANDHI, Historian, Biographer and former Member of India’s Parliament  

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.





IGNACIO PACKER, Executive Director Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation

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

JACQUELINE COTÉ, President Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation

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.


Sarah Noble

SARAH NOBLE, Head of Global Engagement, Caux Initiatives of Change

Sarah Noble is the Head of Global Engagement at the Caux Initiatives of Change Foundation. She is passionate about showcasing people's stories about how we build peace with each other and the planet. She brings with her more than 20 years of experience and has held leadership positions at international organisations focused on peacebuilding, humanitarian issues, and independent media. Sarah is co-founder and curator of the Peace Talks at Interpeace and 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. 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.






Jean-Marc Vignoli is a musician and lives in France. After training as both a violinist and an engineer, and a long career in industry, he (re)discovered the path to his own creative expression. For the last ten years or so, he has been living and sharing the mysteries of sound, improvisation and creativity and has also recorded several CDs. Jean-Marc Vignoli describes himself as a 'tailor-made' violinist. The music he plays is inspired by the message, the mood and the moment in which it takes place. Having become aware of the therapeutic dimension of music, he has turned his attention to the dimension of sound that soothes, relieves and harmonises, helping to transform and heal the human being in intimate contact with nature. 


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. 



Nola Kin (credit: Andrin Fretz

NOLA KIN, Musician and Singer

Nola Kin is all about embracing her inner chaos and staying true to herself. The Zurich-based singer-songwriter brings raw energy to her performances. With a powerful voice and a unique guitar style, backed by a band that can range from four to seven members, including horn sections, she creates an electrifying atmosphere on stage. Nola Kin is an overthinker with a brain that does wild things, which mostly inspired her latest EP, „Mayhem“. Inspired by artists like Blake Mills, Bon Iver, and Dijon, her music blends Indie folk, soul, country, and Americana into a lush sound with attitude. For Nola Kin, music is therapy—a way to let go and be herself. From the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival to venues in Copenhagen, Nola Kin's performances have left audiences captivated. She is currently nominated for the "Artist Award" at the Swiss Music Awards, an honor reserved for exceptional musicians (photo: Andrin Fretz)


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 full 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.-
  • 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. 



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-residential Caux Democracy Forum package (15 - 19 July) are kindly asked to check in on 15 July from 15:00 CEST. 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.











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).




#CauxForum #CauxDemocracyForum


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


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