‘We saw each other’s humanity’

Caux Peace and Leadership Programme 2018

Oana Dinea


Oana Dinea is a concert pianist from Romania, currently based in Geneva. She took part in the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme 2018.

Caux is about relationships. About people. About how you can relate and learn from people of approximately 40 nationalities. And what is so surprising is that these people unlock doors in yourself. Your new friends can be also the ones that you didn’t see around you in your own community. A sense of presence almost like a natural revelation arrives slowly in your life.

For example, every September, at the beginning of the academic year, I organize a private meeting for the parents of my students at the Conservatory of Music in Geneva, where I teach piano.

This year, to my surprise, I didn’t want to have another official meeting, focused on organization, where the parents take notes and write down the dates of the exams and auditions. Although these things are important, this time I wanted to do something different: to share my story, my childhood in Romania and the choices that have led me to this life of mine.

So, I talked about my parents, my culture, my teachers and so many things that they didn’t know about me. I have never felt so connected to the parents of my students as in that instant. We saw each other’s humanity. And, after having this bond, they delivered themselves. They shared their stories and their fears regarding the education of their children. The fulfillment that we all felt was pure joy!

The idea of telling my story came after being at Caux. I had never before thought of sharing something meaningful with the parents of my students. It had never occurred to me that a small action could have this impact. Since that moment, our relationship has changed. The confidence that came from listening to each others’ stories will define the way their children come to the Conservatory each week, the way they see music, work and give priority to their time at the piano. I don’t feel any more that I have to convince them or that we are in battle camp. I feel that we share the same desire for progress.

At Caux I learnt something which is still very difficult for me. Planting a seed is not always about telling people what to do, but having the patience to trust their own process.

People don’t act because you tell them to; they act when your actions inspire them. When they admire you and feel that you trust them, they feel empowered. It can be very easy with some people and difficult with others. But I am confident that I am always learning new skills of communication.

Because of my job, self-discipline and setting priorities have always been part of my life. I realize that one of my priorities has changed: I give more time to people around me –not only to my friends, but to people in general. A big part of that has to do with listening and smiling.

I realize that our loneliness comes from our common addiction to media. So my next priority is to take one day per week when I am off social media and even call people. At the beginning it is very difficult. But after a while you use your creativity and sometimes you do what children do: play and wonder. Our great tool is the imagination. When you allow yourself to create your life, rather than just allowing habit to control your actions, then you feel that you are not only existing – you are living!

My concerts are related to humans and art. All the things described above – the sense of presence, sharing stories, inspiring with confidence and trusting the process, setting priorities – make me more aware of the oportunities I have to connect people and ideas. My actions are focused on creating a bridge between my work and the need that I see in the world.


Featured Story

related stories

Sara Taleb

Lebanon deserves better

On 4 August 2020, the world was shocked to learn of the explosion which had torn through Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, claiming lives and property. Messages of love were sent to the people of Lebano...

Antoine Chelala

Beyond the Rubble: the unseen impact of the Beirut explosion

This new series of articles and interviews will start with our friends in Beirut, who have shown immense courage and strength following the devastating events of 4 August 2020. When a home is a crime ...

Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Mohammed Abu-Nimer: Dialogue – Weaving peace into the fabric of society

Mohammed Abu-Nimer is Professor at the American University’s School of International Service in International Peace and Conflict Resolution in Washington DC and a Senior Advisor to the International D...

Sabica Pardesi

Learning to be a Peacemaker 2020

"I am really thankful to the person who introduced me to the Initiatives for Change programme "Learning to be a Peacemaker". It was life-changing in so many ways. It opened my eyes to things we know i...

Irina Fedorenko CDES 2020 screenshot

Caux Dialogue on Environment and Security 2020

The Caux Dialogue on Environment and Security aimed high in its first online edition, with more than 15 sessions and a cumulative total of 450 participants. Experts discussed the connection between se...

CL 2020 piano at the opening

Creative Leadership – Together for Change

The Creative Leadership conference took participants on a six-day journey of personal inquiry to discover what creative leadership is and what kind of leaders they are. More than 120 passionate change...

SCreenshot keywords T4C 2020

Tools for Changemakers 2020 – Shaping the future together through dialogue

Can you truly listen? What if we all had the power to make our communities more cohesive and inclusive by starting to deeply listen to each other? The Tools for Changemakers conference was a three-day...

ELB 2020 livestream panel 2 with camera

Ethical Leadership in Business – Leadership for a resilient economy

The Ethical Leadership in Business conference, on 25 and 26 June 2020, kicked off the first Caux Forum Online. It offered a diversified experience with panels livestreamed from the Caux Palace, networ...

Summer Academy 2020 screenshot participants cropped credit: Alan Channer

Summer Academy 2020: expansive possibilities for the future

The effusive feedback from participants in the five-day 2020 Summer Academy on Land, Climate and Security vindicated the difficult decision to take the course online. Four months ago, this had seemed ...

CDLS 2019 Chau Duncan

Retooling the wheel for regenerative investment

Chau Tang-Duncan, co-founder and chief operating officer of Earthbanc, has been coming to Caux regularly since 2010. It was there that she first embraced the role she could have in connecting people a...

Karina Cheah

Overcoming the challenges of online dialogue groups

I have never been to Caux. I had also never moderated a dialogue group before, in or outside of the Caux Forum. As I faced the prospect of co-facilitating an online dialogue group in the Caux Dialogue...

Mandela Mile image logo

From Caux to the Mandela Mile

18 July was the birthday of Nelson Mandela and this year marked the end of the first Mandela Mile Leadership Programme (MMLP). This 14-week programme had 36 participants from 21 countries. Some of the...

Tony Rinaudo

Tony Rinaudo: For a better future in Niger

Why would an Australian farmer who moved to Africa in the 1980s be called ‘the forest-maker’? Tony Rinaudo, World Vision Australia's climate action advisor, told this year's Caux Dialogue on Environme...

CDES teaser theme square

Land and Security in Sub-Saharan Africa: assessing the risks and seeking a response

As part of the Caux Forum Online 2020, Initiatives of Change Switzerland and the Human Security Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs organized a video-conference in French on ‘L...

Caux Palace view night

Climate and the economy in the post-COVID world

As pandemic-related lockdowns and travel restrictions slowly begin to ease and a return to normal life seems nearer at hand, we are at a critical juncture as to how we choose to act towards our enviro...

related events

Opening Ceremony 2018 audience 28 June 2018

Opening Ceremony 2018

opening ceremony 26 June 2019

Opening Ceremony