Global Voices

Individuals of many cultures, nationalities, religions, and beliefs are actively involved with Initiatives of Change. These commentaries represent the views of the writer and not necessarily those of Initiatives of Change as a whole. If you would like to contribute a commentary, please email us. We welcome feedback that contributes to the stated aim of this website which is to build relationships of trust across the world's divides. 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.

Monday, 27 February, 2017
Mercy Okalowe

In 2011, Mercy Okalowe was working as a Regional Coordinator for Initiatives of Change Canada. As part of her work to build trust in her community and engage residents in honest conversations on race, reconciliation and responsibility, Mercy attended the world premier of the documentary film Dark Girls. She writes here a reflection of her experience and a call to action for all ‘dark girls.’

Thursday, 22 December, 2016
Lena Kashkarova

Olena Kashkarova is from Ukraine and will join the International Council of IofC beginning the 1 January 2017. Here she shares her reflections after watching the agonizing video clips from Aleppo, Syria.

Thursday, 01 December, 2016
Dick Ruffin

America’s nightmare is over. Or is it? Toxins infused into the body politic through a protracted and horrific campaign are not easily purged. It was not only the candidates who flouted basic values of honesty, respect and decency, abetted by a rating hungry media. We, voters and non-voters alike, were complicit, either by our silence, or by what we said or passed on or simply by the relish with which we watched the debacle, like kids at a food fight.

Monday, 07 November, 2016
Abiodun Owoseni

In September, the Nigerian government launched a reorientation campaign donning the slogan: ‘Change Begins With Me.’ I was in India at the time and shared my excitement with some friends who like me believe that this approach is what the world needs. I expressed my great hopes that our Nigerian Initiatives of Change team would make a significant contribution to this campaign, but after returning home I found that this was not to be, at least not yet.

Friday, 30 September, 2016
Ron Lawler

In our focus on the ideological aspects of extremism, we should not overlook the role of violence, bullying and humiliation in the home. The home offers no scope to blame another race or religion for the abuse of innocents. It is ‘us’ not ‘them’ who are responsible.

Thursday, 15 September, 2016
Rishab Khanna

The first time Rishabh Khanna went to Kashmir, he experienced the hardships of living in a region where you have a gun pointing at your head the whole time. He believes the people of Kashmir are fighting for human dignity, freedom of voice and justice - and for the need 'to take an honest look at ourselves and start a true citizens dialogue'.

Tuesday, 06 September, 2016
Maria del Corral

After four years of peace talks, and a lot of criticism from every side, official negotiators and FARC leaders have finally been able to reach a detailed agreement, which will allow FARC to abandon their armed fight and become a political party. However a democratic consultation has to be voted next October, to legalise the agreement... What makes this deal special, and perhaps hopeful, is that none of the previous attempts implied such a lengthy and detailed analysis and political and social debate, nor did they include such a wide array of influence from international guests from countries with similar armed conflicts and peace deals such as Ireland and South-Africa, plus the intervention of the UN both during the talks and during the post-conflict and disarmament period.

Monday, 01 August, 2016

With extremism of all kinds on the rise, it is important to ask why this is happening. Extremism in its most negative form is impacting our sense of safety and challenging our beliefs about what is right as well as who is right.

Thursday, 07 July, 2016
Shoufeng Hsu

Hsu Shoufeng recently visited Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. 'The breathtaking magnificence of the Great Wall was only more prominent in the chilling downpour. Back in my hotel, I finally managed to climb over the Great Firewall to access my Facebook and gmail accounts. I was amused by the contrast between these two walls: one built to stop Mongolian invaders from getting in, and the other to stop Chinese netizens from getting out.'

Friday, 24 June, 2016
Mike Smith

There needs to be a long period of salutary reflection following the UK's Brexit vote. There were clear regional differences. London voted 60 per cent in favour of Remain; Scotland and Northern Ireland also voted for Remain. The constitutional implications for the United Kingdom as a whole are now unclear. They and we Londoners have been overruled by large swathes of the rest of the UK. But what about the generational divide? Seventy-five per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds voted to remain inside the EU, according to a YouGov poll. It is not surprising if the Millennial generation, decades younger than myself and who have grown up as member of the EU with all the internationalism that that implies, now feel overruled--betrayed even--by an older generation who voted for Brexit.