Besides working with projects in Kenya, Canada and France, the Trustbuilding Program (TBP) also collaborates with The Global Alumni Initiative (GAIN); a live network of more than 1,000 alumni from the IofC USA programmes in 109 countries. It is an incubator of resilient people committed to being ‘the change they want to see in the world’, as Mahatma Gandhi puts it. IofC USA runs the Caux Scholars Programs in Switzerland and Asia Plateau, the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship and the Narrative Change Collaborative. The alumni of these programs are active peace and trustbuilders dedicated to making change; tying into the core ethos of the Trustbuilding Program.
‘The Global Alumni Initiative Network (GAIN) has the goal to build a global social movement rooted in the active recognition of our common humanity and capacity for transformation.’
So, how does GAIN work on achieving this goal?
- By encouraging its members to accomplish their ambitious, forward thinking peacebuilding work, by providing support and mentorship.
- By being a place for developing personal resilience, building on some of the key principles centered in IofC USA’s programs, such as inner listening and community transformation.
- By offering skill-building opportunities to allow alumni to flourish, ranging from peacebuilding tools to values-based leadership.
- By hosting a safe space for people to speak their truth, to be honest, and to learn from peers.
- By raising underrepresented voices and lifting up minority members, giving them a platform to share their expertise and command their own narrative.
The alumni share, learn, and develop practices of trustbuilding, peace activism, truth-telling, conflict transformation, trauma healing, and restorative justice. GAIN integrates multicultural, pluri-ethnic, inter-religious and gendered lenses in nurturing the diverse communities of learning and practice that the members of the network, as generators of change, develop in the countries and regional nodes where they live, work and contribute.
Ultimately, it gives talented, passionate individuals the tools to take their ideas and advance them into the transformation of social systems globally.
So, how do alumni work with the Trustbuilding Program (TBP)? And how can you get involved as an alumni or project team? We asked Ebony Walden and Jessie Sutherland, both alumni of IofC USA prgrammes.
Ebony is a trainer and facilitator who has over a decade of experience as an urban planner and community builder. At Ebony Walden Consulting, she facilitates workshops and engagement processes that explore race, equity, and the creation of more just and inclusive communities. She is also a lead trainer and facilitator with Hope in the Cities in Richmond, Virginia. Community Trustbuilding Fellowship Alumna | 2015
Jessie is an international speaker, trainer and consultant. She works with organizations and communities to engage diversity, foster intercultural collaboration, and develop participant-led community change approaches that effectively address a wide range of complex social problems. Caux Scholars Program Alumna | 2002
How are you involved with the TBP?
Ebony: I've been a part of a group of facilitators who have worked to inform the process and program for the TBP and specifically worked with the team in Canada to provide coaching and support to their TBP project alongside Rob Corcoran.
Jessie: I have been working as the TBP Evaluations Manager.
How did your input make a difference?
Ebony: Because of my experience with both the Community Trustbuilding Fellowship (CTF) as a past participant and current faculty, I was able to give content and process input to those who were developing the international TBP when we gathered last year with other IofC facilitators. I was able to communicate the core tenants of CTF to the larger team as well as lessons learned and facilitation content/tools we use in the program. This is also what Rob and I offered the team in Canada.
Jessie: I think the main difference I am making is increasing engagement and clarifying the gaps that need to be filled for success: IofC clarifying its theory of change, strengthening its implementation mechanisms, collecting evidence, create a theory of scale.
What would you recommend to other alumni who are interested in engaging with the TBP?
Ebony: Sign up for updates and reach out to the program and or country coordinator if you are interested in specific efforts and updates.
Jessie: Consider your own theory of change and how does this align with the TBP. Then decide your next steps.
Which specific skills do you think the alumni could offer the TBP?
Ebony: Those who have gone through CTF and adapted the content to fit their work or workplace could provide some insight in how to do that in different context, what has worked, what hasn't.
What would you recommend local TBP teams to do to better engage with the alumni resident in their countries?
Ebony: Reach out to them, see if they might help in understanding and helping to adjust the content for their local context. They might also be thought partners or facilitators for meetings, dialogues or trustbuilding events.
Jessie: Clarify your theory of change, strengthen your implementation structures and create or strengthen internal mechanisms to address conflict or challenging situations.
If you are an alumni of IofC USA and are interested in learning more about how to connect with the IofCI Trustbuilding Program, reach out to Eliana Jimeno, the Global Alumni Initiative Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Illustration by Manon Michelle Monhemius
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The Trustbuilding Program is aimed at addressing divisive issues at the international and national levels, on the premise that only those who have undergone the internal process of becoming trustworthy themselves can close gaps across the globe. The Program was launched by Initiatives of Change International in 2019 with projects in Kenya, Canada and France.