Week of International Community 2019

Week of International Community


Thirty people, aged from five weeks to 78 years old, from 10 countries gathered for the Week of International Community (WIC) from 19 to 26 June, to prepare the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre for this summer’s Caux Forum. Priority had been given to family groups, and nine took part. Their aim was to serve, live and grow as a community in order to foster and develop intercultural and intergenerational trust. 


Week of International Community


After breakfast every morning participants split into smaller groups for a period of quiet reflection and sharing. The groups included different nationalities and ages, to encourage dialogue across cultures and generations. Then participants set to work to prepare for the upcoming conferences, polishing silver, preparing bedrooms, gardening, setting up the dining area or the IT and technical services, or helping with the administration or archives.


Week of International Community


The community came together during the day and in the evenings to bond and build trust, to share their stories and to deepen their understanding of the ‘spirit of Caux’.They saw an IofC film on the impact of personal change, took part in a scavenger hunt within and beyond the Caux Palace and performed in a talent show on the last night. There was also free time, particularly on the Sunday, to relax and explore Caux’s beautiful surroundings or to swim in the lake at Montreux.

The week fostered sincere encounter and exchange, encouraged us to listen to others and to our deepest selves, and to start being the change that we want to see in this world.


Text: Lorna Annovazzi

Photos: Apolline Foedit



The trees of the garden of Caux

Apolline Foedit, 2019 Communications intern, meets some of the participants of the Week of International Community (WIC).

Participants in the Week of International Community are now preparing the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre for the Caux Forum. Some polish the cutlery and prepare the tables, while others take care of the garden. From the top of a ladder, Ruth tells me about Caux, while Maria describes her impressions of the Caux Palace.


Week of International Community


Ruth heard about IofC from friends: Barbara and David Down, engaged in the movement in England. This is the third time she has been to Caux, first for a seminar on change and then to participate in the Week of International Community. Ruth is excited about this place, which she calls both global and human. That's why she comes back: to continue these encounters and to be inspired. Her husband, John, accompanies her. He walks past us, greets me, then continues to prune the next tree.

Maria, who is clipping the trees with Ruth, comes from Romania. She has not started her studies yet. She is 15 years old and is hesitating between several options. ‘Everything interests me,’ she says. ‘Science, physics, chemistry, languages, art... I would like to have an impact.’ She smiles. This is her third time at Caux, and this year she is here with her brother, Andrei, and mother, Liliana, an opera singer who will perform for us later this summer.

Ruth says that one of WIC’s missions is to create dialogue between different communities and different groups, so as to try to bridge divisions. ‘Every country has a particular kind of conflict... In England it's Brexit.’ She draws a parallel between the desire of some Scots to leave the United Kingdom, and the desire of some British to leave the EU. She understands and shares the frustration of Europeans over the result of the referendum. She understands that some who voted to leave have their reasons. She wonders how to find a compromise. ‘What are we going to do?’


Week of International Community


When I ask Maria what Caux represents for her, she smiles again. Caux is like a dream, she tells me. ‘It's a special place I think about all year and that's how I never get bored.’ Maria knows she will come back next year and the year after, and the year after...

The large green bag at their feet continues to fill with branches and leaves. The tree is majestic, in front of the mountains, overlooking the lake. Another participant approaches us and points out an uncut branch. Ruth laughs, ‘He is a perfectionist!’ She takes the ladder and climbs again.


Text and photos: Apolline Foedit

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