Panel of Elders

Geneva lake

Panel of Elders

Supporting the world network of Initiatives of Change and the International Council

The International Panel of Elders was formed at the 1999 global consultation in South Africa, at the same time as the formation of the International Council of Initiatives of Change.

The mandate of the Elders is to be an informal 'resource body' supporting the world fellowship of Initiatives of Change and the International Council.

In the Global Assembly 2018, as a result of a recommendation to expand the role of the Elders, new Terms of Reference have been developed which make a couple of significant changes.  One is that Elders will now be attached to their own Regional Groups:  Africa, Americas (North and South - when established), Arab, Asia-Pacific and Europe as to serve as representatives at all international conferences and dialogues as appropriate.  Another is the greater involvement of the Elders in the development of accompanying and mentoring programs.  These changes will enable greater support to the work of the International Council.

The Panel of Elders consists of up to twelve individuals, with a wide background knowledge and understanding of IofC’s world fellowship, to encourage spiritual growth, and where necessary, work for healing and reconciliation within and around the IofC network.

Elders will serve no longer than five years and no less than two years. The Elders are mandated to take proactive steps to preserve the spirit of IofC and its effective outreach, and also to strengthen the accompaniment aspect in of IofC’s activities.  Elders can work and speak as individuals or as a group, maintaining confidentiality on matters put before them, but have the freedom to discuss with other Elders unless asked not to do so. 


Christine Iralu

Christine Iralu (Nagaland) (Convenor)

In the early 60s, Christine’s family migrated from Mumbai, India to Perth, Australia where she met Initiatives of Change when the musical Sing Out Australia passed through en route to India.  To engage all the new and interested young people, including Christine, Sing Out West was formed, travelling to towns in West Australia and sharing their initial experiences of change along with the songs they had learnt.

Christine was studying music in Perth at the time and training as a secretary, which she used when she became fulltime with IofC at the age of 18.  She worked as a secretary in the Melbourne office for a couple of years and travelled with Anything to Declare on their return journey to India then on to Europe where she spent 3 years in the UK working as a secretary. She had the privilege of joining the cast of ‘Crossroad’, a multi-media production which told the story and history of IofC.

Returning to India to join Song of Asia, she travelled with the cast through the country until the programme ended its tour. She then married her husband, Niketu, and in 1995 they moved to North-East India, where they still reside.  In Christine’s words, ‘Our home in Nagaland has become a place where people come from all over the North-East region and other parts of India.  We named it Kerünyü Ki which in Niketu’s Angami language means “House of Listening”. It is a place where people come together to plan, to listen to one another, and to solve problems through honesty, humility, and openness.’

Barbara Lawler

Barbara Lawler (Australia) (Administrator, Emerging Agents of Change)

Barbara was born in Brisbane where she initially came across Initiatives of Change when she was 21.  She experienced a personal transformation to a new and constructive direction in her life and in her large family.   She went on to work on a full-time voluntary basis with IofC 1970-85 in Europe, India and Australia.  Barbara has over 20 years’ experience in Human Resources and Industrial Relations in two of Australia’s largest media organisations in Sydney (retired from Australian Broadcasting Corporation in June 2011) where she attained a Master’s Degree in Business (Employment Relations).  She relocated from Melbourne to Brisbane in April 2017.

Since 2003, Barbara has been particularly inspired by many visits to Indonesia and to Timor-Leste, working with IofC’s young team.   She has a calling to build bridges of trust and friendship between Australia and its neighbours.  She feels Indonesia has much to give the world through its struggle for democracy and through its sound and true Islamic leadership which in turn builds bridges of trust across the world’s divides. 

From 2010-2014, Barbara was IofC Australia’s National Coordinator.  This was followed by roles in a new organisational structure for IofC Australia; and currently in a transitionary role of Convenor, Network, Activities and Connections.  She is also the Queensland representative on the Creators of Peace National Advisory Group Australia. 

Barbara is passionate about supporting IofC’s ongoing transition and growth as a channel of transformational and empowering values needed in the world, bringing its dynamic and unique approach of connecting the personal with the global. 

Marie Chaftari

Marie Chaftari (Lebanon)

Marie, who holds a degree in Business Administration from St. Joseph’s University, has known and worked with IofC Lebanon for many years and is at the heart of many initiatives involving women from different backgrounds. It was her experience of change that ultimately lead to her husband Assaad’s remarkable transformation.

She is a Creators of Peace facilitator and launched a ladies group “L’naltaqui” to facilitate dialogue across the divides between women after the war. It is this group that is at the heart of the Peace Circles in Lebanon. Marie has also been part of a team that conducts camps for young teenagers from different backgrounds to meet and get to know each other during summer holidays. 

Marie has nurtured and cared for young Muslim women from Egypt and also a young woman (and her growing team) from Syria, keeping in touch with them and caring for them during visits, as well as hosting them in her home. She has a great talent for caring for people and supporting them while allowing them to grow and develop. She is greatly respected for her integrity, honesty and personal experiences which she readily shared as needed to help others. 

Ravindra Rao

Dr Ravindra Rao (India)

Dr. A.S. Ravindra Rao has been involved with Initiatives of Change since 1964. Captured by the vision of a New India and a New World projected by Rajmohan Gandhi he interrupted his dental studies in 1965 and worked as a full-time volunteer with MRA-IofC for ten years working in many parts of India and abroad. He was part of the musical, India Arise which toured India, Middle East and Europe in the 60’s. His work in Eastern India resulted in extreme left-wing militants accepting IofC and surrendering their weapons.

After marrying his MRA co-worker Jayashree and a stint at a Dental Hospital in the UK, they made their home in Bangalore. She started and ran a successful machine tools sales and service business. He started his private dental practice soon leading in the profession and pioneering implant dentistry in South India. He organised the first Oral Implantology Conference of Bangalore and was elected to the executive committee of the Indian Dental Association. He was also a prominent Rotarian and won international award for ‘Best President’. His commitment to IofC guided his professional, social and family life. He also served on the International Council of IofC.

When she had the thought to set up Grampari, IofC India’s rural and ecology initiative at Asia Plateau, both of them decided to retire to be full-time once again in 2009 and moved to Panchgani when he became the director of the centre. He was on IofC’s International Council and remains a trustee of Friends of Moral Re-Armament (India), the IofC legal body of India. While he is using his time mentoring young people, he has taken on to develop ways to deliver IofC’s message drawing on Indian and other Asian traditions in a contemporary language.

Megumi Kanematsu

Megumi Kanematsu (Japan)

Megumi was born in 1952, and brought up in Tokyo and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Tamagawa University and a Master’s degree in Human Security from the Dept. of Political Science, Doshisha Graduate University. 

In 1974, she attended her first IofC International Conference in Caux and subsequently trained with IofC in the UK. In 1975, while touring Europe and Canada with the MRA musical Song of Asia, she made lifelong friends from Asia and the Pacific as well as other continents. Through their life stories, Megumi learned what Japan had done to other people in Asia and around the world, and decided to dedicate the rest of her life to spread the message of IofC.  She worked full time for three and a half years with IofC in Brazil, alongside Latin American team.

Returning to Asia, Megumi worked for five years with Cambodian people, Korean Buddhists, and Japanese Christians. She assisted in developing a support team for the younger generations of Cambodians to have access to education, but also helped to encourage farmers to play their part in building a better society. 

In Megumi’s words, ‘As an ordinary Japanese I have sought to build bridges of trust within Asia and the world.  I live by the belief that by learning together everyone can discover more of their own strength. Wherever we are, and whatever situation we are in, people around the world will be able to fulfill their unique potential and have the strength to bring light into this needy world.  This part of the world [Japan and Asia] has yet to be able to offer its own unique strengths to respond to the world’s needs.’

Daphrose Ntarataze Barampama

Daphrose Ntarataze Barampama (Burundi/Switzerland)

Daphrose was born in 1956 in the Kayanza province of Burundi.  The only child of a modest Christian family, she grew up privileged.  She shares her life with her husband Angelo Barampama and they have 3 sons.

Her strong political stand in Burundi pushed her on to the path of exile in 1988; then on to Switzerland which offered protection and political asylum and where she became naturalized Swiss in 2001.  Daphrose is proud to be a good Swiss as well as Burundian. Winner of the ‘Woman in Exile, Committed Woman’ award from the city of Geneva in 2007. She is also honored, since August 2016 with the title of Ambassador by Creators of Peace for which she was President from July 2013 to 2016.

In the 1990s, she joined Initiatives of Change through GRETA (Group for Research and Engagement in the current Turmoil) based in Geneva.  It is from there she became involved with Creators of Peace (CoP) after participating in their international conference in Kampala, Uganda in 2005.

Undertaking training in order to support CoP she became a certified facilitator of peace circles in 2009. By becoming a Creators of Peace international volunteer, she has promoted peace circles to multicultural audiences in Europe (Switzerland and France) and francophone Africa: Burundi, Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania, Democratic Republic of the Congo.  She was able to use the methodology of CoP to facilitate honest dialogue between the leaders of the various political and fighting factions in Casamance/Senegal.

Currently, Daphrose is responsible for project Muntunuwundi - circles of peace and development, based on the value of universal Ubuntu, accessible to the public of the Region of Great Lakes.  She also serves as a mentor to the many Initiatives of Change teams in Africa.

Roy Edward Ncube

Roy Edward Ncube (Zimbabwe)

Roy was introduced to Initiatives of Change at the MRA/IofC Centre in 1985 at Coolmoreen Farm, which is in Gweru, Zimbabwe as student on industrial attachment.  Upon graduation, he taught Agriculture in secondary schools in Harare and Bindura for two years and during this time he maintained links with IofC.  In January 1988, he and his wife Tafadzwa were invited by the Council of Management to Coolmoreen Farm and Conference Centre in Gweru to run the farming units which comprised of a dairy, poultry breeding, and cropping enterprises.  

Roy learnt a lot about both IofC and commercial farming from the late Peter and Jean Loch together with the late Professor Emeritus Jesse Williams, who was a specialist in Dairy Science from the United States.  Due to his experience of IofC at Coolmoreen he decided to live a life guided by the values of IofC. It was during his tenure that the farm experienced its most productive years in the post-independence era. After five years at Coolmoreen, a new calling drove he and his family to Botswana. He worked for 15 years for the Government of Botswana where he was involved in various capacities introducing Agriculture in secondary schools throughout the country.

After teaching Agriculture in secondary schools in Zimbabwe and Botswana for nearly 20 years, he retired from active employment but maintains interest in sustainable farming methods and rural development. Roy was part of the cohort Workshop for Africa in 2013 which led he and his teammates to South Sudan for peace mobilizing efforts. He is currently the Secretary General of MRA/IofC Zimbabwe and is involved with efforts to reclaim the IofC Centre in Zimbabwe which had been taken away by the government for resettlement purposes. He is also Convener for the African Coordination Group (ACG).

Teresa Luckhurst

Teresa Luckhurst (UK)

Teresa was born in Sheffield in 1966 and raised in a Catholic community.   Teresa made the choice not to have children of her own through personal circumstances.  Teresa is an aunt to 5 nieces, a great aunt and a step-grandmother.  Teresa has been married and separated, and lives with her partner of 19 years.

Teresa has had a varied work life, having worked as a care assistant, family support worker with Children and Families, and for the past 10 years as a clinic secretary for the National Health Service (NHS).   She is currently an Advanced Health Care Support Worker, taking care of adults who have learning disabilities and additional health care needs with the NHS.  One of the NHS values is working in partnership; Teresa is involved with fundraising and hosting members of the Gulu Fellowship when they visit Sheffield to train in mental health before returning to Uganda.

Teresa gained a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the Open University in 2017.  Following on from this achievement while working full time; Teresa is now undertaking a post graduate diploma in relational centred counselling.

Teresa came to know the work of IofC through meeting Judith and David Curtis.  Teresa has been actively involved with IofC for the past 17 years.

Florence Nosley

Florence Nosley (France)

Florence was born in 1952 and spent most of her childhood abroad in USA, Lebanon and Algeria. When she was 12 years old, she became aware that she was French, but hardly knew her own country. At 15, she moved to France and one year later, she discovered Moral Re-Armament (now Initiatives of Change). One of her first changes was to open herself to France, which she had longed to discover, but which she found difficult to adapt to.

She realised that ‘big doors turn on small hinges’ and that inner listening can lead to personal changes. These changes, which seem small at first, can have far bigger consequences. Her first ‘small hinge’ moment was to follow the thought that she needed to apologise to someone. In doing following this inner guidance and seeking forgiveness she began to walk on a new life path.

After her secretarial studies she worked full time with Initiatives of Change for 13 years. She worked in Europe, took part in two itinerant shows: ‘Time to choose’ in Europe and southern Africa, and ‘Poor man, rich man’ in Europe and northern America. She also lived a few months in Latin America with Jean-Louis, whom she married in 1983; they have had four children. After several years teaching in primary school, she retired in July 2018.

Lorne Braun

Lorne Braun (Canada)

Lorne comes from a Mennonite Anabaptist tradition. That immigrant and faith upbringing have helped shape his worldview and informed his life choices.

With training in theology, linguistics, building technology, and political and ethnic conflict analysis, Lorne’s work experience has included building inspection, teaching, and non-profit management: working and consulting with NGOs, the private sector and the Canadian Government.

He has travelled extensively, including three years working in Ethiopia. His various work situations have included coaching and mentoring, some of which he continues to do on a volunteer basis.

Lorne has been active in IofC for over 30 years, alternating between a domestic and international focus. He has been on the IofC Canada board at various times, and also served for six years as Treasurer on the International Council.

Having recently ended his international humanitarian consulting work after 24 years, Lorne and his wife Joyce are part of a community which operates Rivendell Retreat Centre on the west coast of Canada.

Fung Ming Chan

Fung-Ming Chan (Hong Kong)

Fung Ming associated with the MRA/IofC programs in Australia, Europe and India in mid 80’s.

A production engineer by training, she taught in the higher education in UK for 5 years, then in Hong Kong’s vocational education for another 23 years until her retirement in 2018.

Since 2001, the "Action for Life" and the "Chinese in Action" program participants would come to Hong Kong as one of their outreach services.  Fung Ming has actively helped organizing visits and activities for these two programs. She now serves as a Life Worker focusing in the area of Life Sensitivity Training and Deep Healing.