CPLP 2017
Practical Information
Caux Peace and Leadership Programme

Practical Information

Caux Peace and Leadership Programme

This programme has replaced the Caux Interns Leadership Programme and the Sponsored Participants/Volunteers and offers training and experience tailored to the needs of participants and those of their communities.

Caux Peace and Leadership Programme (CPLP) participants benefit from an intercultural community, practical experience, new networks and responsibility, and the opportunity to explore their own values, and those of Initiatives of Change (IofC), through their service to the Caux Forum community.


1.     General information about the Caux Forum and Caux
2.     About the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme
3.     Your application
4.     Successful applicants
5.     Finance (Costs & Insurance)
6.     Adminastrive aspects (Work permit & Visa)
7.     Travel
8.     Life at Caux



The Caux Peace and Leadership Programme (CPLP) offers a unique opportunity to experience peace and leadership through an experiential, practical, personal and non-academic approach. Participants benefit from an intercultural community, practical experience, new networks and responsibility. They also have the opportunity to explore not only their own values but also those of Initiatives of Change (IofC) through reflection and their service to the Caux Forum community.


The place

The Caux Palace has been owned by Initiatives of Change (IofC) Switzerland, the Swiss national body of the worldwide movement known as Initiatives of Change, since 1946. It is an international conference and seminar centre in a small village above Lake Geneva, which does not have any shops or restaurants. The conference centre is very much the core of the village.


The Caux Forum

The CPLP is part of the Caux Forum which aims to inspire, equip and connect people, groups and organizations to build a just, peaceful and sustainable world. Its annual summer conferences and programmes in the Caux Palace offer a safe space where people can meet a true diversity of ages, genders, cultures, sectors and beliefs. Caux encourages participants to explore their potential as changemakers on the basis that everyone can make a difference. Its unique approach focuses on taking time to reflect, sharing stories and taking part in the tasks involved in running the Conference Centre. The Caux Forum is organized by Initiatives of Change Switzerland in collaboration with the Initiatives of Change network and its partners. More information about the Caux Forum.


Sharing values

People connected to Initiatives of Change believe that change in the world begins with themselves and that by taking time to listen in quiet, they have the opportunity to see how they can change, and how that can affect their own community, leading to a change in the world. This time for reflection is part of Caux’s culture and is why many people return. At Caux we provide a safe space for honest conversation where change can begin.

IofC Switzerland's values are those of respect for human dignity, truth, solidarity and care. We don’t always succeed but what we ask of each other, while in Caux, is to practice the value of love through tolerance of different views and respect for the cultures, faiths or any other area where we may not feel united. This challenge is at the very heart of beginning to take personal initiatives of change, which can have an impact at a much wider level.



The components of the programme

During your stay and participation in the CPLP you will

  • Attend the CPLP training, reflective and social sessions
  • Put into practice your training in your service shifts in the Hospitality departments
  • Participate in a selection of Caux Forum conference events

We will endeavour to help you find a good balance between the day-to-day activity of Caux and personal time.


Choosing your group for training

To cater for new and returning participants with different needs, the programme has been divided into two groups. These groups relate to experience and/or familiarity with IofC. 


First Group in Year One – Discoverer stream

This is open to anyone (aged 18-45) who wants to learn more about personal peace and leadership and to explore personal values, others' perspectives and the principles of IofC.


Second Group in Year Two – Practitioner stream

This is open to those who have participated in the CPLP or a similar IofC Programme before and want to delve deeper through dialogue into various global issues while applying IofC values in our daily lives. There will be an emphasis on more intensive learning and practising facilitation skills and storytelling. Participants will also explore specific skills to prepare for dialogue opportunities either as part of the Caux Forum or a project in their communities after Caux.


Choosing a department for service

You will be allocated to one of the Hospitality departments according to your skills and experience, and departmental needs. The Human Resources (HR) team will do their best to consider your personal preferences. Successful applicants will be informed of their department before the CPLP begins. This is subject to change, so please be flexible.


CPLP schedule

You will have training five days a week and service on up to six days a week (22 hours per week). There will be opportunities to attend the Caux Forum on most days when you have free time. Training might be in the afternoon rather than the morning and service times vary according to the department. There is an evening programme.



A typical day in Caux


  • Breakfast
  • Training, Service or Free Time



  • Lunch
  • Training, Service or Free Time



  • Dinner
  • Evening Programme



The working language is predominantly English, therefore verbal proficiency in English is essential. French and German are very helpful for roles which require communication with visitors and conference delegates. Any other language skills are a plus.


Arrival and departure

It is mandatory for participants to arrive and depart on the given dates.

Do not plan to arrive on any date other than those stated on the website. Please be aware that full commitment and presence at all CPLP activities, workshops, social events and service shifts is required. Therefore, before you apply, please make sure that you are available for the entire session and are willing and able to attend all parts of the Programme.




Over the last two years, we have had over 1000 applications, so please understand that, although we would love to accept everyone, this is not possible, and the majority of applications will probably be rejected. In 2019 we will accept first time participants but we will prioritise those returning in order to enable them to complete the two year cycle.


Eligibility to apply

You can apply if:

  • You are aged between 18 and 45
  • You are completely available for the full session

It will strengthen your application if:

  • You are a CPLP returner or if you have a recommendation letter from someone who is connected to the CPLP or an IofC Initiative or national team.


  • You are part of an IofC team or have attended an IofC programme in another part of the world.


How to apply

Before you apply you should:

You can then decide if this is a programme that echoes your own principles and values and if you are ready to accept the challenge of being part of the CPLP.

If you are, write a 500-word essay outlining:

  • Your reasons for wanting to take part in/return to the CPLP
  • What you are willing to contribute to the Programme
  • The project/idea you would like to develop during the CPLP
  • What change you would like to see in yourself and in your community when you return home.

Finally, fill in the application form online, attaching your essay, your current updated Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a recent photo of yourself.



Once your application is received
  • You will receive an email to acknowledge receipt of your application. The automatic acknowledgement email is not an acceptance email and it may go into your junk email folder so please search this before writing to us.
  • You will be contacted roughly one month after the closing date to let you know whether you are through to the next stage.
  • The next step will be an interview with one of the team to talk in more detail about your application.
  • Your referees will be contacted.
  • You will be informed of the final decision and, if successful, you will then start liaising with the HR Department about your permit and visa.
  • A member of the faculty team will talk to you in depth about the Programme, what you are required to bring with you and answer any questions you may have. We may link you to others travelling from your country or there may be a chance to meet with your local Initiatives of Change team before you leave home. 
  • You will be informed of the decision, irrespective of whether or not you are successful, one month after the closing date for applications and at least three months before the beginning of the CPLP (see the timeline here).


Other opportunities if you are not successful

If your application is not accepted, this does not mean we are not interested in your profile. We receive many applications and have to make hard choices. We do have a waiting list and you will be told if you are on that list. You can still come to the Caux Forum as a paying participant or follow it online via our website, Facebook and Twitter. You could also consider applying for one of our other programmes.



  • Once your application has been accepted, the HR department will send you a confirmation letter.
  • Please be sure to answer this email within 48 hours to confirm whether or not you can attend. The HR Department will guide you through the next steps of the process.


Work permit
  • Initiatives of Change Switzerland has to submit to the Swiss authorities information about every successful application in order for them to decide whether or not they wish to grant a work permit.
  • You do not have to contact the Swiss authorities at this point, we will do that for you.
  • We will then provide you with an invitation letter.


Visa requirements

We will be in touch with you at this point and let you know what you should do next. Do not apply for a visa until you have received confirmation from HR that you should do so. A visa is often issued automatically with the work permit which IofC Switzerland applies for on your behalf, so do not contact your Embassy until HR have confirmed that you need to.


European Union (EU) citizens

Although Switzerland isn't a member of the European Union (EU), it has agreements with the EU to simplify immigration processes within Europe. Therefore, if you're a citizen of another EU country, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, you're able to work for up to 90 days in Switzerland without a work permit. The HR department simply needs to register you with the local canton of Vaud in Switzerland.


Third country citizens

For third country nationals, Swiss work permits are only available for people coming to work in a professional capacity. The HR department must therefore send an application to the local cantonal authorities, with further approval required from the State Secretariat for Migration.

Assuming that your application is successful, the immigration authorities will notify your local Swiss embassy. You can then make an appointment to complete your application in person at your local embassy. You will need to present documents such as proof of your identity and employment but the exact requirements should be given to you when you make an appointment. The visa you'll be issued with allows you entry into Switzerland.

There are several different visa types which can be used in Switzerland. You will be issued a short-term residence permit.

The costs of getting a Swiss work permit is set by your home country’s Swiss embassy and is usually charged in the local currency.

Since Switzerland is a popular country for expats, and getting a visa can be a complex undertaking, there are many agencies that for a fee will help you with your application. In most cases your employer will support your application, but if you need to use an agency, taking personal recommendations might help you avoid getting caught by a scam.

In any case you should check with your local Swiss embassy to get the most up to date information.


Waiting list

Candidates sometimes withdraw from the programme before it starts which is why we have a waiting list. If you are on it, we'll inform you as soon as we have a vacancy.



Please keep in mind that Switzerland is a very expensive country. The health costs are very high and this is why if you work in Switzerland, you have to take out health insurance, irrespective of your nationality. Even if you are working in Switzerland for less than three months, basic health insurance is still compulsory. It is also compulsory if you are from an EU or EFTA state and work in Switzerland but are a non-resident.

There are several international companies who can provide you with such insurance (your private insurer / AXA / GLOBAL INSURANCE / etc.). You can find more information here.


Withdrawal from the programme

The procedure with the Swiss authorities costs CHF 215 in administrative fees for non-EU citizens. If this procedure has started before you withdraw, we will ask you to cover this cost. This is why before you confirm your participation you need to be absolutely sure, that you will be able to attend the full session.




Travel costs

You need to pay for your travel costs to and from Caux as well as any expenses you may have outside of the programme. We cannot cover participants’ travel expenses, but in certain cases we can link participants up with people who can help support these expenses.


Visa costs

If you require a visa, you will have to pay the visa fees your local embassy will invoice you.


Insurance costs

It is mandatory to have a health insurance before coming to Switzerland. It is your responsibility take out adequate cover. More information here (link to 4f).


Employment contract

As volunteering is not allowed in the hospitality industry in Switzerland, successful applicants will be issued a part-time employment contract.

The following deductions will be made from the salary: accommodation and meals / training / administrative costs


Accommodation and meals costs

Your accommodation and meals while in Caux will be covered by your employment contract.


Training Costs

Training costs are covered by your employment contract.


Help with funding

We encourage applicants to fundraise to cover their costs. Some participants may be able to get funding from their university. Others may be sponsored by NGOs, places of worship or local clubs, such as the Rotary Club. Other possibilities include crowd funding. We do not offer scholarships or help with travel expenses but do let us know if you are accepted and need help with ideas for fundraising.

If you or someone you know is able to contribute to the cost of someone who would not otherwise be able to attend the programme, please contact us. Diversity of background is of the highest importance to us.




In order to avoid illegal employment, Swiss law prohibits voluntary work in the hospitality industry. This is why you'll need an employment contract and the relevant authorizations.


Applying for a work permit

When applying, you will need to attach the following documents so that they can be presented with your application to the Swiss authorities:

  • a copy of your passport (valid for the period you will travel);
  • proof of health insurance; (this can be sent once you’ve been accepted to the programme)
  • CV or resumé.

Without these documents your application cannot be processed.


    Collecting your work permit and visa

    You will be contacted when it is time to collect your work permit and visa You can find out where your local embassy is by clicking on this link.

    Please note the Swiss representations for some countries, ie:

    • Zimbabwe: go to the Swiss representation in South Africa
    • Syria: go to the Swiss representation in Lebanon

    Some embassies do not deal directly with visa requests but use a travel agency. Please check the appropriate contact for your country on their website before going.


    Staying in Switzerland after the CPLP

    For anyone needing a visa this is not normally allowed. If your citizenship allows you to come to Switzerland as a tourist with no visa, you can stay longer. If your Schengen visa has not yet expired, you can stay as a tourist with no visa extension.

    Staying in Europe after the CPLP

    You can only visit Europe if you have a Schengen visa. If your visa is only valid for Switzerland, you cannot visit Europe unless you have arranged this beforehand with the local embassy of the country you wish to visit. They will need to grant you another visa or authorization to visit Europe after Caux.

    It is your responsibility to request this visa before your departure for Caux.


    Health Insurance

    You cannot come to Caux without valid health insurance.

    Swiss law requires everyone staying or working in Switzerland to have health insurance which will cover their health expenses. Health costs in Switzerland are extremely high which is why we require you to take out international health insurance. You will have to present evidence of this insurance to the HR department after acceptance.

    If you do not have international health insurance, we are not allowed to process your application through the Swiss authorities




    Getting to Caux

    Caux is two hours by car or train from Geneva and 25 minutes from Montreux. Direct trains run every hour from Geneva Airport to Montreux from 6am to 11pm (check exact times here). The last direct connection to Caux leaves Geneva Airport around 7pm. Please consider this when booking your flights. Cars cannot be provided to collect you but you can get a taxi; however this is very expensive in Switzerland.

    It is simplest to arrive in Geneva, but it is possible to get a train to Zurich or Basel.




    Train Schedule

    Train tickets to Caux (via Montreux)



    Taxi Riviera: 021 963 36 36



    Uber is a ridesharing service that offers competitive rates. Please download the “uber” application on your device


    Buying tickets

    Please do not book your flights until you have received confirmation of your acceptance on the CPLP from HR. However, you can sometimes pre-book your flight to guarantee the best price. Do not hesitate to contact your travel agency who will inform you if this is a possibility.



    Life at Caux

    Life at Caux is very busy! With training, service, participation in inspiring and topical conferences and events, meetings with interesting visitors over meals, evening activities, there are often too many great choices! Participants may also choose to sit out under the stars, go for a mountain hike at dawn, or walk to the nearby waterfall. We encourage you to practice self-discipline in order to make the most of this unique experience.



    The department you are supporting will let you know what you will need to wear. A good standard outfit would be black trousers, closed-toe shoes and white blouses or shirts.

    Caux is half way up a mountain, so bring some warm clothes. It can get chilly, especially if you trek up to the top (highly recommended!), and you should definitely bring some shoes appropriate for walking in. The lake makes for a refreshing swim when the weather is hot, so a travel towel and a swim-suit may come in handy.

    The celebration meal and photos at the end of the programme are a chance to dress up, and you might end up on stage at some point, but don't bring your whole wardrobe!



    Generally, equipment other than clothing is provided for the things you will be doing in Caux. However, there is free Wifi and you may want to stay in touch with your family, tweet about an inspiring Forum presentation or connect with new and old friends on Facebook. There is limited access to public computers, so having your own smartphone, tablet or laptop will make it easier to go online.



    Your accommodation will be in a shared same-gender room in the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre or in a nearby house.


    Dietary requests

    During your registration process you will be able to mention if you have any dietary requests.


    Conference Centre rules

    With the exception of the designated smoking areas in the Caux grounds, smoking is strictly prohibited including on the balconies. We do not allow alcohol to be drunk or stored in Caux or its grounds. As we have representatives of all faiths and cultures in the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre, we aim to respect others by being mindful of what we wear, what we say and how we behave, and we keep male and female sleeping areas entirely exclusive to those that have rooms there.

    We expect each of you to act inside the Palace with respect for everyone else’s presence and work.


    Photos: Aicha Hajoui