No comments yet
20 January, 2016

Birmingham welcomes the President of Initiatives of Change International

By Gail Hind and Elsa Vogel

We are a small senior group in Birmingham and Redditch with friends in all walks of life, from all nations and faiths. On 5 December, we invited Dr Omnia Marzouk, the President of Initiatives of Change International, to the city.

William and Margaret Ozanne, who are two lay Catholics who have been working on relations between the Catholic Church and other faiths for about 35 years, arranged for Dr Marzouk to meet the Chairman of the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, UK. The Gurdwara is the largest in Birmingham. Dr Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia OBE KSG is also a spiritual leader of two million Sikhs around the world.

Dr Omnia MarzoukDr Marzouk was welcomed with a tour of the Gurdwara followed by a private lunch with the President. They both share the same ideals of making forgiveness and reconciliation an important goal. Mohinder Singh described meeting with Dr Marzouk as: ‘A great meeting of minds.’

On the Sunday afternoon, 23 friends came for a Christmas tea. Among these friends was Anne Ostrowicz who has shown the film Beyond Forgiving to pupils several times. Dr Marzouk met Delphine Bower, an education psychologist working in schools and with families of multiple faiths and cultures in the most deprived areas of the city. She also met a teacher of refugees and a probation official responsible for five areas of Birmingham. Everyone who attended was deeply involved and concerned about the lives and issues in Birmingham and society.

Dr Marzouk spoke about her worldwide work, her calling with Initiatives of Change and also with the NHS. Both these spheres of work fulfil her calling to build bridges. ‘Diversity is hugely enriching’ she said ‘but we need to work both at people level and institutional level.’ Jean Monnet, considered by many as the Founding Father of the European Union, said ‘Nothing happens without people but nothing lasts without institutions.’ Dr Marzouk added ‘People need to feel they have a part in the society they live in. They don’t feel an equally valued part of society.’

Questions followed and a discussion on the way forward.

Delphine Bower: ‘Thank you for the most wonderful event. I found the afternoon both thought provoking and inspiring to hear of the fantastic work that is going on around the world and its relevance to here in U.K. I feel privileged to be there.’

Related Posts