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1991 saw the first of an annual series of conferences in Caux, Switzerland on the theme 'Regions in crisis, regions in recovery – learning from one another'.
In 1996 (Caux’s 5Oth anniversary), an international symposium on the theme Agenda for Reconciliation took place in Caux, co-hosted by the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) in Tokyo and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Many speakers of international repute referred to the need for preventative diplomacy – the work of reconciling parties before a conflict breaks out. Others stressed the increasing recognition of NGOs both in the process of ‘Track II Diplomacy’, as it is frequently called, and in providing insights not always available to diplomats or officials.
At a meeting in Strasbourg in March 1998, representatives of twelve countries decided to launch Agenda for Reconciliation (AfR) as a means to coordinate work of this kind and to serve as a link with – and make this experience available to – diplomats, governments, the UN, the European Union and other regional organizations.
Until 2007 AfR ran annual conferences at Caux which offered participants coming from situations of tension and conflict a safe space and the opportunity to learn from one another. These conferences sought to support local people in their efforts for nation-building, peace and reconciliation in many parts of the world.
These conferences drew people from over 60 countries. Many come from situations of tension or open conflict; others struggling to rebuild their countries and communities after a period of conflict. Since 2002, the conferences also dealt with issues of good governance, human security and development, as the preventative approaches to conflict transformation.
The high-level aims of AfR were that healing the past becomes common practice in the 21st Century, and that global security considerations prioritize human security from want and oppression.
Since 2008, the annual Caux Forum for Human Security has taken over some of the main work of AfR.
Who we are: Initiatives of Change (IofC) is a world-wide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting with their own.
Purpose: We work to inspire, equip and connect people to address world needs, starting with themselves, in the areas of trustbuilding, ethical leadership and sustainable living.
Omnia Marzouk, President, IofC International
'Nothing lasting can be built without a desire by people to live differently and exemplify the changes they want to see in society.'