OUR HISTORY

 
 
 
 
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Over a nearly 100 year history with alumni in 109 countries across the globe, Initiatives of Change grew out of the work of Frank Buchman, a U.S. Lutheran minister of Swiss descent (1878-1961).

 
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The Oxford Group (led by Buchman) takes root linking personal change to social transformation.

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Alcoholics Anonymous forms as a direct result of the founders following methodologies of self-awareness, honesty and transformation from The Oxford Group. 

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The Oxford Group changes its name to Moral Re-Armament (MRA) following World War II as a way to build a “hate-free, fear-free, and greed-free world”. Working relationships develop between interfaith communities, particularly Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Hindu, Muslims, Buddhist, and Confucianists - to resolve conflicts and misrepresentations and “travel along this good road together”.

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The International Conference Center opens in Caux, Switzerland through the funding solidarity of hundreds of Swiss citizens and is commissioned to be a space where global community and government leaders can gather and work on conflict transformation, peaceful reconciliation, and accountable leadership.

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A huge reconciliation project develops by inviting German and French government officials to Caux for facilitated peace dialogues. As the years unfold, similar talks are negotiated between Japan and South-East Asian countries and African countries resisting colonization and fighting for independence.

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Art, music, dance, and theater performance unfolds as a strategy for peacebuilding with plays traveling the world including the U.S., South America, India, Japan, South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Up With People travels as a multiracial global education program where young people create independent and creative leadership through personal storytelling. 

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Asia Plateau opens - a major international IofC center for training interventions in peace leadership, industry, education and other sectors - in Panchgani, India.

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Peacebuilding initiatives begin in the U.S., Asian and African countries exploring themes of democracy, class, industrialization, human rights, multiculturalism, economic security, and through Hope in the Cities (HIC), racial justice and equity. Clean Election Campaigns take off in Taiwan, Brazil and Kenya.

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The Caux Scholars Program, an annual residential program for global leaders launches in 1991 in Switzerland.

Hope in the Cities (HIC), a program of Initiatives of Change focusing on racial truth, healing, and transformative equity practices, is born into action in 1993 with the creation of a national conference called "Healing the Heart of America". Seven hundred national and international participants came to Richmond for this event. For the first time, there is a collective response from government, nonprofits, educational institutions, civic groups, and the business sector in Richmond publicly acknowledging Richmond's complex racial history through participation in a Unity Walk.

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HIC facilitates the drafting of A Call to Community, a declaration presented at the National Press Club by a bi-partisan national leadership group and other partnering organizations. Based on this call, HIC initiates a series of small group dialogues on race, reconciliation and responsibility that has expanded over the years to include thousands of people.

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Hope in the Cities assists in the development of a public dialogue process for Pres. Clinton’s Initiative on Race. 

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The organization changes name officially to Initiatives of Change. 

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HIC facilitates the creation of a partnership among Richmond, Liverpool and Benin in West Africa, each of which has apologized for its role in the trade of enslaved Africans and commits to build a “reconciliation triangle” beginning with the erection of common public statues and youth exchange visits. Additionally, HIC co-sponsors a national forum on reconciliation and justice at Howard University in collaboration with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the National League of Cities and other organizations. Participants come from South Africa, Australia, Mexico, UK, and Russia.

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HIC graduates the first class of the Connecting Communities Program (now called the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship). Every year a new cohort of community leaders from diverse backgrounds joins the fold (like the below image) to take part in intensive and heartfelt skills development in facilitation and dialogue.

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In March 2007, the Slave Trail Commission in partnership with HIC and the cities of Richmond and Liverpool unveils the Reconciliation Statue in Richmond. Replicas of this statue are also erected in Liverpool and Benin.

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The Slave Trail Commission completes an archeological dig at the former site of Lumpkin's Jail (also called Devil's Half Acre), one of the historical sites identified by HIC at the 1993 first Unity Walk. The Smithsonian states that this was the most significant dig to occur in the United States in the last fifty years. HIC also plays a leading role in hosting The Trust Factor, a national forum at the University of Richmond.

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HIC, in partnership with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, launches a project on Unpacking the 2010 Census: the New Realities of Race, Class and Jurisdiction. This involved transferring the data knowledge to DVD, training presenters and facilitators, and organizing presentations to all sectors of the metropolitan region.

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HIC leads two major conferences called Healing History, the first in Caux, Switzerland (2013) and the second in Richmond (2015.) Healing History creates space for enhanced global civic engagement in an effort to dismantle structural racism and develop sustaining systems of equity.

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A new iteration of Initiatives of Change USA takes root with an expanded commitment to developing structures of Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation with funding partner, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in a multi-year effort to shift Richmond from systems that reflect the centuries-old notion of human hierarchy to a place where everyone’s humanity is respected regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sex, class, or country of origin. Richmond is one of 14 communities across the United States selected to implement this initiative.

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The Narrative Change Collaborative, a new IofC USA program, launches by creating an RVA, multi-voice amplification network committed to disrupting the region’s skewed and incomplete narrative history rooted in white supremacy and privilege.

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