Addressing Europe's Unfinished Business 2017


Please note that this programme is subject to change.


                                              Download the programme here.



Training Tasters

Initiatives of Change teams and partner organizations in different parts of Europe have developed workshops and training courses that have been effective in responding to polarization and building trust.

The ‘Training Tasters’ offered during this event will give participants an opportunity to experience some elements of these courses.

If interested, the facilitators will let participants know how the full training can be taken, or how to invite the programme to their communities. The aim is to expand the use of these tools much more widely, to learn from each other and to promote cross-border collaboration.


1. My Piece of the Peace – Creators of Peace

We will provide a space for women to explore what peace is, what qualities we might need to take leadership for peace, and how a fresh perspective on the issues we care about can help us empower ourselves and others. There will be time to reflect, discuss concerns close to our hearts and hear stories of women who followed the courage of their convictions to initiate change in their communities. You will also have a chance to connect with Creators of Peace women and find out how to get involved with our worldwide network.

Facilitators: Valerie Tikkanen, Mer Ayang

Valerie Tikkanen was born and raised in Sheffield, and now lives in Sweden with her Swedish husband Antero. After training as a nursery nurse, she worked as a volunteer with IofC for thirteen years. Then after moving to Sweden, she worked in childcare, catering and office services. In her free time, she has served on the IofC Sweden board as treasurer and accountant. She has been involved with Creators of Peace for six years, as a facilitator of women’s Peace Circles. However, her most recent Peace Circle was with a group of twelve Somali men!


2.  Sharing Vision, an Honest Dialogue between Cultures - Italy

This Training Taster is based on the practical experience of the work of Pace Adesso/Peace Now in Italy and will give participants tools in the multi-cultural dialogue and migrants social inclusion field. It will touch on topics such as: Overcoming cultural Barriers through Dialogue, Honest Dialogue between Different Cultures, and Popular Wisdom and New European Citizens.

Facilitator: Cristina Bignardi

Cristina Bignardi has degrees in the History of Art and Culture, the History and Culture of Food, and European Grant Funding. Latterly she has specialized and trained as a Philosophical Counsellor. She has worked on Food Sovereignty and Sustainability since 2008. Since 2010 she working for women rights, with victims of war-rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 2012 she has been co-ordinator of "Prevention hasn't got a color 2.0", a health programme for foreign women in Italy. She has worked in the Psychiatric Department of Bologna University, first on Early Prevention of Psychosis and later as facilitator of a self-help group for asylum seekers and refugees. She is also Visiting Professor in Transcultural Medicine at Bologna University.  She also runs a small family business, a farm in the Bologna countryside. 


3. Hope in the Cities – Sweden

Welcome to a journey of creating hope in Sweden! It is a country which has enjoyed peace for more than 200 years, but which is witnessing growing violence and despair nowadays.  Sweden has received in recent years the highest numbers of refugees per capita, a situation that adds to the complexity of the country’s challenges. In this Training Taster we will be sharing our learnings of building trust across ethnic, generational and governance divides through programmes for community leaders, civil servants and the private sector.

Facilitators: Rishabh Khanna and Hassan Mohamud

Rishabh Khanna has degrees in Economic Development, Environmental Legislation and Management, International Law and Diplomacy, and is passionate to bring harmony in the social and ecological systems. With IofC Sweden, Rishabh has had the opportunity to co-design a peace and development programme in Somalia, funded by SIDA ( Swedish development agency ), and deliver a program of social cohesion in a suburb of Stockholm, called Hope in Jarva. He is also a social entrepreneur supporting social enterprises in Uganda, Kenya and India. He has recently been asked to be a member of the Economy for the Common Good international expansion team and the GNH (Gross National Happiness) Sweden. He is also author of a book called Surging Beyond the Bottom Line - Insights into a Successful Integral Enterprise. He has co-authored several other books including Holistic Approach to Education with V.R. Purnatva.

Hassan Mohamud is a teacher and has a great interest in education as the way to build a new society where democracy, human rights and peace are built through reconciliation and healing. He worked voluntarily in Somalia on peace and development issues, such as school-building, laws and the judicial system. He  is also committed to sustainable agriculture, forestry and a secure water supply. His personal journey with IofC for the last 24 years began with his reconciliation with Ahmed Egal who was from a rival clan in Somalia. Hassan and Ahmed have been instrumental in supporting reconciliation among the Nordic and European Somali diaspora, which has also led to healing in Somalia. 


4. Story-telling on Experiences of Polarization and Trust - Switzerland 

“‘Homo sapiens’ might be ‘Homo narrans’, the storytelling person. What differentiates us from animals is the fact that we can listen to other people’s dreams, fears, joys, sorrows, desires and defeats – and they in turn can listen to ours,” writes Henning Mankell. Participants in this workshop will learn practical tools for crafting stories and explore how to use storytelling to address polarization and build trust in their own context.

This workshop (which is technically more a facilitation than a training) has been adapted to the “trust building” theme for the Caux Forum and it is based the “Learning from failure and storytelling” workshop, which we provided to members of AIESEC Switzerland in March 2018. The CAUX-Initiatives of Change Foundation has been delivering workshops in leadership and in intercultural teamwork for members of AIESEC Switzerland since 2012.

Facilitator: Brigitt Altwegg

Brigitt Altwegg has been Programme Manager for Switzerland since July 2012. She has a study background in international relations and peace and conflict studies and has worked as an assistant to the Director of a human rights organization. She is also a professional rock climbing guide.





5. Transforming our Conflicts – UK

This workshop will draw on participants’ own experiences of conflict at a personal, familial as well as community level, in order to identify and develop the skills and resources effective in conflict transformation.

Facilitators: Jo Berry and Neil Oliver


6. Listening Roadshow - UK

The Listening Roadshow was conceived in Britain in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. People were starting to judge each other by which way they had voted, and conversation with those who voted differently were rare and sometimes difficult. And yet, British people urgently needed to come together around a common vision for their future. They still do.

The aim of the Listening Roadshow is to create honest, but safe spaces that allow communities to connect, listen to one another and discuss a future together. Whilst developing community cohesion, the project also encourages bottom up leadership encouraging local and national leaders to engage with the needs and wants of the communities. Over two hundred people have taken part in Listening Roadshows in 11 British cities in the last year.

For each session, a safe space is created allowing honest conversations to happen where individuals can feel listened to and valued whilst also practicing listening to themselves and others. In turn trust is built amongst individuals and the communities.

Facilitators: Chris Evans & Ashley Muller

Chris Evans was born, and now lives with his wife Anne, on his family's farm in the west of England. Apart from two years' farming in the '70s, he has worked with Initiatives of Change in one capacity or another since 1969. The first two and a half years were in Asia, particularly India where he has enduring links, and since then he has been based in Europe. Coming from a small rural community, where a majority probably voted for Brexit but rarely speak about it, Chris can see the importance of listening to each other as a step towards a common vision for the future. Britain now has to find a new direction and a new role in the world, and the Listening Roadshow is designed to help facilitate this. He wonders if it could be relevant to other parts of Europe?

Ashley Müller has worked for Initiatives of Change at different levels in Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Ukraine and India since 2014. She currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Caux conference Just Governance for Human Security as Communications Coordinator, a global event exploring human security by addressing extremes of all kinds and developing their human potential for global change. She spent two years as National Coordinator of Creators of Peace UK and as a Programme Development consultant in Oxford. She holds degrees in Political Science and International Development from the University of Calgary, Canada. Ashley contains extensive international experience and cross-cultural exposure. Originally from Canada and raised in Taiwan, she holds a Swiss passport and speaks Mandarin Chinese. In September 2017, she will begin her Global Fellowship with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy as a Young Leader in Foreign and Security Policy.


7. Mindfulness through Playfulness - a Physical Theatre course - Ukraine

Research the common-human underneath any cultural difference - with MASK WORK

Learn to listen to yourself and understand others - with MINDFULNESS

Look at how we can remain playful even through difficult times - with PLAY of Physical Theatre (a body perspective on heady things)

These are some of the London Physical Theatre School's approaches to Building trust and Tackling polarization

Facilitators: Lana Biba and Txema Perez (London Physical Theatre School)


8. Non-Violent Communication (NVC) approach to Dialogue - Ukraine

The workshop is based on Ukrainian experiences of the use of Non-Violent Communication (NVC) in dialogues between individuals and groups. When the crisis erupted in Ukraine, NVC has helped Ukrainian dialogue facilitators to continue their work in the country despite the extremely high emotions of participants and personal pain. Moreover, we found it to be a life-transforming philosophy and approach to conflict and that is what made us eager to ‘spread the word’. We believe that it is through empathetic listening, understanding the feelings and needs of another person and honest self-expression that we can reach out and build bridges.

Facilitator: Olena Kashkarova

Olena Kashkarova’s major interest lies in dialogue work, especially in Ukraine between people of different backgrounds and political views. She started the work through the ‘Healing the Past’ project, which explored different understanding of history as a root of conflict in Ukrainian society. In 2013-14 she initiated dialogues between people of different political views during the Maidan revolution, which was followed by annexation of Crimea and military actions in East Ukraine. She worked for UN Programme for Development as a Specialist on Reconciliation, coordinating a social cohesion programme for internally displaced people (IDP) and developing a national communication policy for IDPs’ integration. She is a co-author of an on-line course on dialogue organisation and facilitation as well as one of the founders of a Network of Dialogue Facilitators which is active in peace-building in Ukraine since 2014. For the last three years, she has studied and practiced Non-Violent Communication in her dialogue work and personal life, and explores Embodiment practices to develop an integral approach to dialogue.


Community groups

The community groups are intended to give the opportunity to get better acquainted with other participants and to make sure everyone is heard and has a chance to share their own perspective and thoughts on Europe.

Every community group consists of 10 to 12 members and the meetings are guided by two facilitators. The groups will meet twice a day: once in the morning before breakfast to share a moment of silence and their morning reflections and once in the afternoon, after tea. We strive to make as diverse groups as possible regarding age, culture and nationality. Our aim for the whole conference is that each participant discovers his or her unique purpose and contribution in Europe today. We hope the community groups can help us all in this search for our personal role and calling – connecting the intimate and the global.


Quiet time

In the mornings before breakfast, all participants are kindly invited to take time to reflect in silence and listen within. Some guiding questions are offered to base the reflection on. Gathered in our community groups for this time of quiet and reflection, we will have some time together to share our thoughts and ideas stemming from this personal time for reflection. The personal time alone in silence in the early morning can help each one of us to connect to the bigger picture to find our role and calling in Europe today. NB: the first morning reflection will take place in the Bay Window of the Main Hall with all forum participants, the others in the assigned space of community groups.


Afternoon sharing in community groups

Every afternoon after tea, participants will meet in their community groups. This is a time to get to know the other participants and reflect on the conference so far. The community groups are also a place where our personal life stories will be shared and we can exchange about the many challenging issues facing Europe and how it affects our personal lives and how we could potentially make a difference for the better.