The Caux Scholars Program Celebrates its 25th Anniversary
Peacebuilding for the 21st Century23/05/2016
Swiss Ambassador Martin Dahinden welcomed alumni, academic and program directors, faculty and supporters to a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Caux Scholars Program at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC, on April 28.
Referring to Switzerland’s hosting of the Syria peace talks in Geneva, the Iran nuclear talks in Montreux and the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Ambassador underlined his country’s commitment to global peacebuilding, from which followed support for the Caux Scholars Program. The embassy not only provided meeting space but also invited everyone to the residence on the grounds for a generous reception following the program. (Photo: Ambassador Dahinden speaking with program director Jitka Hromek-Vaitla and scholar Ian Ralby)
Liberian alum, Dr. Samuel Gbaydee Doe (CSP 1995), who has also been a member of the faculty many summers, was the featured speaker. He currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor and Team Leader of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery with the UN Development Program, based in New York. Arriving at Caux in 1995 straight from the terrible Civil War in Liberia, Doe spoke of the huge contrast that Caux offered – “an alternative to deprivation, to terror; another world where people are people again.” His second principle takeaway was that Caux is a place where “the ordinary confounds the extraordinary” - where a person like Kofi Anan might be found washing dishes - the sort of occurrence that “shook my image of the world.” And thirdly, Doe emphasized the impact of the stories that are told in meetings, over meals and on walks. “Each encounter changes something in me,” he said, underlining “the courage of opening oneself to another’s stories, even if that person is an enemy. Weaving them into a tapestry recreates our world.”
Barbara Hintermann, who became Secretary-General of the Caux Foundation just over a year ago after serving in numerous positions with the International Committee of the Red Cross, came from Switzerland for the occasion. Noting that Caux was celebrating its 70th anniversary, she spoke of IofC’s commitment to training future leaders in peacebuilding and ethical business. Using the powerful tools of “inner reflection” and “storytelling”, the Caux Foundation hopes to help build bridges of trust between the migrant and resident populations in Switzerland. It also plans to offer training in ethical leadership for the private sector and to continue hosting confidential dialogues between groups in conflict.
Appealing for “investments” in future scholars and to “ensure the program’s continuation,” graduate Dr. Ian Ralby (CSP 2001) said that “more often than not, CSP ends up being a pivotal moment in the lives of the scholars.” Elaborating on his experience that “the best things that happen to the scholars often come together after they leave the program,” Ralby told of helpful encounters with fellow alum, often from quite different years, in Bosnia, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Abu Dhabi, as well as how his experience with leaders from Sierra Leone at Caux prepared him for later work on security issues there. Ralby, founder and director of I.R. Consilium, works with governments and organizations solving complex security-related problems.
“Every place in the world should look like Caux. Unfortunately, we have not arrived there yet, but the Caux Scholars are the first soldiers striving towards these ideals,” concluded Ambassador Dahinden. 2016 CSP class is remarkably diverse with students from Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Sudan, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, Armenia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Nepal, Bulgaria, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and the United States. They are teachers, journalists, social workers, business professionals, government employees, lawyers, and students.
Generous gifts were made to support the Caux Scholars class of 2016 including a gift of $7500 from one family. We still need to raise 4 full scholarships of $3800 each for scholars coming from Syria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Mexico.
For more information on the Caux Scholars Program please click here.
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