Official Opening of the Caux Conferences 2016

Official Opening of the Caux Conferences

Official Opening 2016


‘We need to change the migration narrative from negative to something that is historically more accurate: migration is a positive force in our lives’ - Keynote Speaker Ambassador William Lacy Swing

On 1 July 2016 the 2016 edition of the Caux Conferences was officially kicked off. In light of the CAUX-IofC Foundation’s 70 year anniversary, a special all-day event was organized on the theme: Crossing Borders, Crossing Cultures: How to Build Trust Around Migration? To tackle this theme, a range of speakers including representatives of the national and international policy level, refugees and migrants were invited to share their perspectives and stories about trust and migration.

The tone was set right away by musician Noam Vazana, linking love and migration in song as attendees gathered in the splendid main hall of the Caux Palace. 

Mr Laurent Wehrli, mayor of Montreux, officially welcomed guests and participants to the Montreux region and to the Official Opening of the 2016 Caux Conferences. Mr Wehrli noted that while it took only 2 years to build the Caux Palace Hotel, it takes more time to build partnerships and relationships between people. Alternating in English, French and German, Mr Wehrli thanked the Foundation for its commitment to build trust beyond borders and across cultures. 

"C’est par la réflexion individuelle en silence, un regard honnête sur nos propres motivations et le dialogue avec l’autre que nous construisons des ponts entre le passé et le futur." (It is through individual silent reflection, an honest look at our own motivations and dialogue with each other that we build bridges between the past and the future)  - B. Hintermann

Mr Antoine Jaulmes, President and Ms Barbara Hintermann, Secretary-General of the Caux-IofC Foundation both highlighted the active work of the CAUX-IofC Foundation since 1946 in trustbuilding, reconciliation, sustainable living and ethical leadership. Find Mr Jaulmes's speech here and Ms Hintermann's here.  

Wir sind alle mehr oder weniger von Migration betroffen‘ ("We are all more or less affected by migration") 

Ambassador Urs von Arb, Director International Cooperation at the State Secretariat for Migration presented the challenges posed by migration in terms of trust from the Swiss perspective. Ambassador von Arb stressed that solutions to the challenges of migration can only be implemented in a spirit of solidarity.

“We need to move the debate from one about identity to one about shared values and common interests”. 

Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration gave a keynote speech on the theme of human mobility in a world at odds with itself. Reminding the audience that 1 out of every 7 persons in the globe is in migratory status, Ambassador Swing stressed the need to change the migration narrative from a negative to a positive one and as societies become more and more multicultural to ‘learn to manage and embrace diversity’.

In an interactive panel led by Serge Michael, Journalist at Le Monde, Mr Abo HawiMr Carlos VasquezProf. Ladislaus Löb and Mr Yvan Sturm exchanged stories of migration and integration. For Carlos Vasquez who came from Bolivia to live in Geneva at the age of 12 and who experienced a culture shock and violence in his new school, integration is about breaking the walls (“casser les murs”) and not being afraid of going toward the other. Prof. Löb spoke of his time as a Jewish refugee in the Caux-Palace in 1944 and how he managed to acclimatize in Switzerland and in the UK, the host countries he now calls home. In the context of the Caux Dialogue on Land Security which takes place from 29 June to 3 July, Mr Abo Hawi, leader of a village in a very dry and degraded area in Northern Ethiopia shared the success story of how his village became fully self-sufficient in terms of food production. During the Q&A members of the audience seized the opportunity to share their own stories of migration with the rest of the room and the panel. 

Dr Omnia Marzouk, President of the International Association of Initiatives of Change International concluded the Official Opening by encouraging participants of the 2016 Caux Conferences to move out of their comfort zones and to take the steps to build a better world. 

The 2016 Caux Conferences will take a multifaceted approach to tackle issues linked to migration and will aim to inspire, equip and connect people for change this summer. 

  • Missed the Official Opening? Check out our video footage on our Facebook account here

  • More information about the Caux Conferences here

  • Click here to see our upcoming public events in Caux


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