About us

Mr Cornellio Sommaruga and Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun

Past Presidents

Omnia Marzouk (2011-2016)
Dr Omnia Marzouk

Omnia Marzouk (Egypt/UK) was a member of the International Council from 2010 and took on the Presidency in 2011. Daughter of an Egyptian ambassador, she spent her early years in many countries including Australia. She obtained her medical degree from Sydney University and she was the first woman to be awarded the Hamilton Mott Scholarship, at Wesley College, for all round contribution to college life. She obtained her MD thesis, with distinction, from Liverpool University and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (FRCPCH) and a Fellow of the College of Emergency Medicine (FCEM). She practised as a Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine, educator and senior medical manager in Liverpool. During her Presidency, Omnia visited more than 25 countries to support the work and outreach of IofC teams. Her primary commitment is to building bridges of understanding between the west and the Muslim/Arab world.

Rajmohan Gandhi (2009-2010)
Rajmohan Gandhi by a statue of his grandfather during a visit to Hull

Rajmohan Gandhi (India) is a writer, historian, and former Member of Parliament. Until December 2012 he was a Research Professor at the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. Author of several books, his recent biography of his grandfather, the Mahatma, was awarded the prestigious Biennial Barpujari Award of the Indian History Congress in December 2007. In 1990, Gandhi led the Indian delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva. From 1992 to 2000 he was Research Professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. He has been associated with Initiatives of Change since 1956. From 2009-2010 he was President of Initiatives of Change International.

Mohamed Sahnoun (2006-2009)

Mohamed Sahnoun (Algeria, 1931-2018) was the President of IofC International from 2006 to 2009. He was the founder and Chair of the Caux Forum for Human Security which ran from 2008 to 2012. He has served as Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity and the League of Arab States and as Algeria’s Ambassador to the United States, France, Germany and Morocco. He was a Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, and has represented the UN in various capacities since 1992. Among his assignments was Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Somalia and in the Great Lakes. He served on the International Council of the Earth Charter Initiative and on the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Bruntland Commission) and remains a strong advocate of sustainable development. He was co-chair of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty that produced the important report entitled ‘The Responsibility to Protect’ in December 2001. He was a member of the boards of the University for Peace, the International Crisis Group and Interpeace and was co-chair of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect.

Cornelio Sommaruga (2002-2006)
Cornelio Sommaruga

Cornelio Sommaruga (Switzerland) is honorary Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for the Future in Amman. He is also the honorary President of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining and of Initiatives of Change International. He was President of the Foundation, CAUX-Initiatives of Change from 2000 to 2004, and was the founding President of Initiatives of Change International in 2002, a role he held until 2006. He also was a member of the Board of the Open Society Institute, Budapest and served 2000/2001 as a member of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations and of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. Prior to that, he was President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (1987-99). From 1984 to 1986 he served as Switzerland's State Secretary for External Economic Affairs. From 1960, he had a long and distinguished career as a Swiss diplomat, including a period from 1973 as Deputy Secretary-General of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in Geneva and 1978-1983 Ambassador, Delegate of the Swiss Government for Trade Agreements. In 1977-78 he served as President of the UN Economic Commission for Europe. Cornelio Sommaruga has a degree in law from the Zurich University and, has eight Honorary Doctorate degrees: Fribourg, Minho (Portugal), Bologna, Nice, Seoul National University, Geneva, Webster and Insubria (Italy) as well as three Presidential awards (Prague, Bratislava and Tel Aviv). He was born 1932 and is married, with six children and 16 grand-children.