Last year was terrible for so many people. Many of us have friends who contracted COVID-19, and some have died. The suffering has been immense. Hundreds of millions have lost jobs. Global poverty, which had been declining, increased by 100 million people, with further increase to come in 2021.
Have we learned through it? Has it persuaded us that we are all in the same boat, that we must work for global cooperation, and overcome our gross inequalities? Will we recommit ourselves to building a world in which everyone has health, education and a chance to prosper? Initiatives of Change has a crucial part to play in this task.
The Pope has just published a book written during his lockdown. ‘This is the moment to dream big,’ he writes, ‘to rethink our priorities – what we value, what we seek – and commit to act in our daily life on what we have dreamed of.’
So let us dream big. This year we have witnessed the resilience, creativity and adaptability of the global fellowship. Meeting in person is not an option? We changed to skype or zoom. Programmes cannot be held in their normal location? Let’s change to virtual events. People have reached out in support to those in need. President Suresh Vazirani, has been deeply involved in action for change, and his company has produced millions of COVID-19 test kits.
Fortunately as the new year begins we see light ahead. Vaccines are moving ahead and, in some countries, distribution has begun. We hope we will meet each other face-to-face in 2021, not just on zoom.
This year we will celebrate 75 years of Caux as a global centre promoting the values which the world needs. Asia Plateau is beginning to resume its year-round programme of conferences and training sessions. The Trustbuilding Program will expand to Australia, Indonesia, Nepal, and South Africa. On every continent, people inspired by IofC are taking action to build values of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love into their societies and governing policies.
The world needs what Initiatives of Change has to offer and each person can play a part. Our wish for 2021 is that each person embraces the spirit of change, whatever that looks like in their community and country, and takes a step towards making a difference.
Suresh Vazirani (President), Mounir Beltaifa (Vice President), Marta Dabrowska, Bill Hamilton, Yeonyuk Jeong, Stephen Kimaru, Rob Lancaster, Wimarshana Ranasinghe, Roweida Saleh, Cecilia (Thembi) Silundika