Lorne Braun

Lorne Braun lives in Richmond, BC and currently works as a consultant to Canadian NGOs doing humanitarian work throughout the world. His first career was in building technology, compliance and management.  The past 31 years were spent in international development: working and consulting with NGOs, the private sector, and the Canadian Govern- ment. He also spent four years teaching international non-profit man- agement at a college in North Vancouver.

Lorne has an MA in Conflict Analysis and Management from Royal Roads University in Victoria. His research on the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict has led to facilitated dialogue work in Canada and the UK. Lorne has been a member on various Boards including his local church, the Vancouver Airport multi-faith chaplaincy, and several Canadian and international NGO coalitions. He has travelled extensively, including three years working in Ethiopia with his wife Joyce and daughter Megan.

Lorne has been involved with the local IofC team in Vancouver since 1992, and served as Chair of the IofC Canada Council. Lorne was Treasurer of IofC International from 2008 to 2014. He is currently supporting the new International Treasurer as a transition and is also volunteering in a fundraising capacity for IofC Interna- tional. His specific skill set includes strategic planning, board development, program planning, proposal writing, government liaison, project monitoring, and project evaluation.

Lorne’s upbringing in a Mennonite community in Canada gave him both grounding in faith and a reference point for refugee issues. This continues to inform his work with marginalized people around the world. He considers himself an international person, with a passion for justice. Lorne believes the combination of his experi- ence with IofC International and IofC Canada would be of benefit on the new Board.



Jean-Noël André

Jean-Noël André, a native of France, has been living in Neuville, Quebec for over 20 years. An engineer by training, he is a producer of stage productions concerning nature, the environment and tourism. Producer of a number of inter-cultural projects, such as Témis Jeunesse International and the popular show, Les Mystères de Québec, he founded the cultural centre Le Café des Arts in the historic Old Quebec City. He is co-author of the project Circles of Trust: forum for a Citizen Project in relation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. He is President of the Espace Art Nature Corporation. He chaired the international orga- nizing committee of the Congress et si la beauté pouvait sauver le monde (…“and what if beauty could save the world”) in August 2014 in Montreal.

He has known IofC in Quebec for a number of years and has been a member since 2012.With the team of Espace Art Nature, he collaborated with IofC in putting on an event on the Plains of Abraham, during the AGM held there in 2008. On a trip to Alberta in 2010, Jean-Noël met several team members and took part in an event in memory of Chief Walking Buffalo.

Through his commitment to Espace Art Nature he is well aware of the challenges faced by an association like IofC Canada in adapting to today’s realities without losing its foundational soul. His friendships with aboriginal people from different communities, his experience in the Circles of Trust and the Citizen Project, as well as his work with the Congress in Montreal (see above), give him a good degree of expertise in terms of cultural diversity and organizational skill. He is ready to commit to the Board of Directors.


Karen Bambonye

Karen Bambonye works for the federal government as a project officer in Canada’s capital. She coordinates and implements projects, which involves extensive consulting and collaboration with various people, groups, and teams. She is also responsible for drafting and preparing various communication documents; such as procedures, guidelines, quarterly reports and annual reports. Before working for the government, Karen was a self-employed photographer for five years. She took photographs of products and portraits for magazines and businesses. She was also responsible for coordinating and organizing photoshoot sessions with clients, stylists, make-up artists and art directors.

Since 2003, she has supported and helped various Initiatives of Change (IofC) teams in Canada and overseas. She lent a helping hand to the Montreal team - she was an active member of the Montreal Regional Committee. Overseas, Karen provided translation assistance at IofC’s 2003 Ghana conference ‘Africa in Search of Good Governance’. She was also, twice, a Caux Intern at IofC’s conference centre in Switzerland. Most recently, Karen also played a key role in organizing and holding a series of youth workshops at the University of Ottawa on ethical leadership, core values and quiet time. She also redesigned IofC’s brochure in 2015.

When not working and volunteering, Karen can be found in the kitchen cooking flavourful meals and baking not too sweet desserts.


Elaine Gordon

Elaine was born and raised in Cork, Ireland, and studied at Alexandra College, Dublin, the Royal Conservatory of Scotland and the Royal School of Music in London, UK. Her parents met IofC when it was called the Oxford Group, and she was brought up knowing about its values and outreach. During her years studying music in the UK, she volunteered with MRA/IofC teams there. She spent the next 11 years working full-time with IofC, using her training in piano, voice and composition as part of the production teams of two MRA musicals which toured Asia, Europe and the UK.

For thirty years she worked as a music educator, mostly in Ireland. During her years on the staff of CIT Cork School of Music, she did a research MA on the piano laboratory as an interlinking resource in the development of keyboard skills for young pianists.

In 2011, she accepted an invitation from the Board of IofC Canada to base in Ottawa and work on the development of IofC archives, as a “Charitable Worker”. It was her tenth visit to Canada and, since January 2014, she has been a permanent resident.

Her motivation in cataloguing the 80 years of IofC Canada’s history was to make available as widely as possible this valuable resource, as a means of assisting the promoting of its mission, assisting governance and being available for the membership and for researchers.

While Elaine’s focus has been mainly on archive development, her commitment extends well beyond that, to a sense of responsibility both for the advancement of IofC Canada’s mission in general and for the good governance of the association. The time she has spent in the Ottawa office has given her a familiarity with the national work of IofC, its programs and administration.

She considers it a great privilege to have recorded face-to-face interviews and conversations with some of IofC’s “living archives” across the country. Also, she has enlisted high school volunteers and, over the past three years, Ottawa University’s Global and Community Service Learning Department placed students with her in the Ottawa office.

She feels very blessed to live in the same city as her only sibling and enjoys being part of her family.


Samrawit Mersha

Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Samrawit currently lives in Ottawa with her husband and 3 children. She obtained her first degree from Addis Ababa University in her hometown and her Master’s degree from the University of Leicester in the UK. After obtaining her MA in Media, Communications and Public Relations from the University of Leicester, she worked in a non-profit organization in Ethiopia as a proj- ect manager and a communications professional where she worked on behaviour change communication, communication strategy development and implementation. Prior to that, she has worked in public relations, translation, advertising and media at different organizations in Addis Ababa and Stockholm.

She is also a children’s writer and has published eleven titles in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia and one bilingual book in Amharic and English. Her husband’s work has taken her family to Seoul, South Korea and Stockholm, Sweden where they lived for a year and a half and four years, respectively.

Samrawit learned about IofC back home from her good friend Dawit, who is the chairperson of the Ethiopian chapter. She then contacted the Ottawa office and took part in the Multicultural Women’s Friendship Circle cultural exchange program in the fall of 2014. She said, “I made good friends, learned about different cultures, learned about Canada and got inspired by guest speakers.”


Cecilia Sithembile Silundika (Thembi)

Thembi  has 20 years of experience in the federal public service working in international cooperation and indigenous peoples of the Arctic. In addition to policy work she has great experience in building partnerships and all aspects of program management. In the earlier years, Thembi coordinated a scholarship program for Southern African graduate students studying in Canada. She has two masters’ degrees in science and international relations.  Her involvement in IofC since 1992 has given her a broad scope and corporate memory. It has contributed to her philosophy in life. Thembi’s experience with IofC includes Creators of Peace, the Global Indigenous Dialogue as well as the Youth Leadership Program. She now sees the need for rejuvenating the love for IofC in a new world context. Everything is changing so fast and IofC can turn this into a positive by preparing for it and leveraging our strengths. 

Thembi would like to strengthen the Outreach and Engagement aspects – speaking engagements at high levels and community to promote IofC; to work to develop tools and means to connect with the public so that there is a renewed passion for the values that IofC promotes. This could be an important complementary step to fundraising and lead to funding support that is needed.

Another area that interests Thembi is inter-generational dialogue, to enable the passing of experiences between the older generation in transition to the younger generation. As a qualified Erickson Academy Coach with leadership training skills she is ready to help support the Board towards cohesion and motivation as they work as a team.

Thembi is currently using her leadership skills to support Newlife women’s project where she also serves as a board member ( The organization helps disadvantaged women in Sierra Leon and Ivory Coast. Thembi has three daughters, one of whom is still living at home. She enjoys classical music, folk and modern dancing, and running.


Aron Tegenfeldt

Aron completed a BA in Pacific and Asian Studies and an MA in Dispute Resolution from the University of Victoria. He worked as a project manager with the HOPE International Development Agency and has an ongoing connection with Myanmar.

Aron is a consulting director for the Peacemakers Trust in Victoria and has worked as a Research Associate for the Center for Global Studies at University of Victoria. He took part in a China/Canada Scholars Exchange Program (for continuing studies in Mandarin) with Peking University in Beijing. He is keen on the development of people and mentorship.

Aron participated in the Caux Scholars Program, with its focus on conflict transformation and peacebuilding, which continues to take place at the Initiatives of Change International conference centre in Caux, Switzerland. He has participated in local IofC meetings and workshops in Vancouver and in Victoria.

As a Co-Founder and Board member of Cocos Pure (, Aron finds this brings together his public relations and communications skills and his passion for ethically sourced and healthy food products. He lives in

Vancouver with his wife and infant son and enjoys surfing, snowboarding and sailing.