Ivan Illich, a great South American advocate of the poor, was once asked whether the most powerful way to change a society was through a violent revolution or by education and democratic reform? He replied that it was neither: Instead you must “tell a new and powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story.”
In many parts of the world it is vital to offer a new vision of hope to counter the vicious circles of despair, fear, anger and violence. It is vital to move beyond stories of victimisation to stories of empowerment; to move beyond stories of 'them' and 'us' to stories of inclusion. That’s why all our communications aim to convey hope and frequently challenge conventional notions about what is possible in the areas of individual and social transformation, cross-cultural relationships and reconciliation. Honest conversation and story-telling are used extensively to convey both ideas and deep life experiences.
Individuals of many cultures, nationalities, religions, and beliefs are actively involved with Initiatives of Change. This is a collection of commentaries on important events and trends.
If you would like to submit a story of change or a reflection for possible publication here, please kindly send it by email. The editors reserve the right to refuse contributions that use intemperate language or vilify others and which do not in our view encourage productive dialogue.
Forty years ago, France and Germany signed a 'Friendship Treaty' that put an end to the repeated wars between their countries. Despite the arrogance or the indifference French and Germans show at times, the other members of the European Union can see the strong link between these two nations as an asset for Europe.
It is easy to separate ourselves mentally from the evils we perceive in the world by herding people with particular traits under an imprisoning title - 'Muslims', 'the West', 'Jews', 'Americans'. Understanding requires care and effort.
Maybe instead of asking 'how smart are you?' we really should be asking 'how are you smart?'. If this is done for individuals as well as nations of the world, a new understanding and respect would be born; one that could transform relationships for a better world.
If it is true that in terms of influence on society, the market state is taking over from the nation state, then we would do well to have a better understanding of the moral philosophy of the founder of free market capitalism, Adam Smith.