From personal change to conference leadership: Daniel Clements

Caux Peace and Leadership Programme

27/04/2020
Daniel Clements

 

Daniel Clements

Daniel Clements, the coordinator for this year’s Creative Leadership conference, would not have become involved with Initiatives of Change Switzerland without his father, who recommended that he attend last year’s Caux Peace and Leadership Programme (CPLP) in Caux. ‘He thought that I could really get something out of it,’ says Daniel, who comes from Wales and currently works there as a teaching assistant.

The special energy at Caux had a big impact on Daniel and on his ‘self-perception’. He was amazed at how open people could be with each other and wanted the same for himself. A year later, he is still processing the changes he can make to his life, but he says the experience has already helped him to communicate more, to try trusting people and to be more open. ‘It is a journey that I am still exploring,’ he says. ‘But it has freed me to move forward in a way I previously could not.’ 

Before coming to Caux, Daniel had spent seven years volunteering with the air cadets, but recently this had lost its magic for him. ‘It was no longer the place I wanted to be or found a sense of purpose at,’ he explains. He was still struggling to come to terms with this when he came to Caux and saw how much else there was that he could give himself to. After this experience, he recognized that it was time for a change and decided to explore self-expression by becoming more involved with a drama group. ‘It was one of the best decisions I ever made,’ he says. 

Such changes may seem purely personal, but, as Daniel says, ‘the only thing you can truly make a change to is yourself’. Rather than directing you towards the ‘right’ way to do something, he says, the CPLP’s approach to open dialogue and self-reflection allows you to be more honest with yourself and with others. ‘You change how you feel about things and the approach you take to them, which has a more fundamental impact,’ he says. ‘Because you change who you are, you’ll see things in a different way and be able to keep making changes.’ This mindset not only inspired Daniel to make these changes to his personal life, but to become more involved with IofC Switzerland by taking the leadership role in this year’s Creative Leadership conference.

Last year’s CPLP participants launched Creative Leadership (CL), a conference for CPLP alumni with an aim of providing a template for them to develop projects to address local, national, and/or global issues in their communities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CL has started rethinking how to go online by crafting a more accessible and flexible conference that will include dialogue groups, quiet times, webinars and human libraries. Guided by IofC values, these will lean on sharing experiences as a learning method to maintain as much interaction as possible.

Daniel was excited by the idea of working with other CPLP alumni to create a framework within which they could more easily support one another to create change and has taken a leading role in the new programme. ‘I find so much meaning in working together with incredible people from around the world,’ he says.

 

By Karina Cheah

 

 

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