Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Caux, Switzerland

I participated in the Caux Interns Leadership Program -- a  five-week program focused on personal growth, leadership development, self-reflection, and the evolution of an individual's journey within a community based framework. The overall theme aligned with IofC's vision of building trust across the world's divides by becoming the change that you wish to see in the world. 

Throughout the program, interns contributed to the summer 2015 Caux conferences and the running of the conference centre through volunteer work. My individual contribution was through an assigned role in the conference operations department. This department was the liaison between the summer conference teams and the conference centre.  I volunteered in conference operations while also engaging in daily workshops with the interns program. These focused on what it means to exemplify leadership in this century, and to put into practice values of teamwork, inclusion, multiculturalism, and community building.

The interns program was full of new learnings for me. There was an emphasis upon personal reflection, individual leadership development, and learning how to better process, articulate, and discuss individual thoughts and perspectives in a multicultural community. I was able to uncover a new approach for my life founded upon a curiosity to learn, a desire to develop myself, and remaining inspired in addressing issues of the future with a community-based approach. Learning how to push myself outside my comfort zone internally, not only through social interactions, but intellectually overcoming barriers in my mind as well allowed me to challenge individual filters and perceptions put in place by culture, religion, and the media.

During my time in Caux, I learned that trusting and believing in the unknown is risky but rewarding. This is because embarking on a journey where one has a foundation for life, built upon passions, values, goals, and purpose, can only be positive and can only lead to the next right thing. This fuels individual inspiration as you take each step, either forward or backwards. My encouragement regardless of the direction you move, is at least there is movement either way. Where there is movement, there is challenge, and where there is challenge, there is growth, and growth is an absolute if one wants to be effective in making a difference in their world.

The next step for me includes joining an IofC program called Year of Living Differently (YOLD). It is a year-long framework where I will be focusing on personal growth and development while in active partnership with different IofC projects in the areas of ethical leadership, trust-building, and sustainable living. My first step will be moving to Oxford, UK to take up a role with the IofC Oxford team doing work for the Just Governance conference team and Creators of Peace circle, while getting involved with other local initiatives on the side.

Ashley Muller, Calgary