Organization

Board of  Directors 2021/2022

Initiatives of Change Association (Canada) is a federally registered charitable organization, incorporated in 1944 under the name of Moral Re-Armament and operating since 2001 as Initiatives of Change.
(Business number 11904 5912 RR 0001).

The Board of Directors normally consists of seven Members elected to serve for a maximum of two 3 year terms. The Council’s main responsibility is to oversee the management of programs, financial and human resources. Priorities are generally set through national consultations. 

 

Qhase Lokhandwala - Vancouver (Co-Chair/Treasurer)

Qhase is building digital systems for a future where people can trust each other. Communication gaps between institutions and people are clearly visible in the Covid 19 crisis. This has made him realize the value of building empathy within the youth / family / community. There is also the need to make intangible moral values like trust, dignity, pride in one’s story more discernible. He is passionate about using design thinking through a collaborative approach to initiate positive social change at the grass root level.

Qhase’s journey with IofC started when he had the opportunity to visit Asia Plateau for the first time during the 1999- 2000 Millennium Conference on Human Rights. Over the years he has played a significant role of organizing the “Lets Make A Difference” (LMAD) youth conferences at Asia Plateau and a few LMAD rural youth and tribal outreach programs across India. As of now he is working to reconnect the global alumni community of 25years of LMAD through a digital mobile application that helps build multi-generational mentorship amongst the youth team.

On a professional level he has served as a Director of Research and Development at an aerospace company in the US and India. He is an experienced designer, self-learnt inventor with a few patents applied. He has a demonstrated history of solving complex problems by designing human centric solutions through application of appropriate technology. He has a passion for personal air travel and is on a mission to design and build emission free, electric air mobility.

Some other key initiatives include, designing a mobile based application that connected people stranded to ferries, helping save lives during the Hurricane Harvey. His early research on intellectual property rights with National Institute of Design, was an instrumental precursor to the formation of India’s National Design Policy. Qhase is a passionate national level rower in India and volunteers with the Maharashtra Rowing Association to help them organize indoor rowing championships and design their digital platforms. His most recent initiative in Canada is about speaking with elders and helping them to use technology to connect with their community during the present crisis. This initiative has taught him to be humble by listening to their stories and realizing the value multi-generational connection of the youth with the wisdom of elders.

 

Michael B Prior PhD - Calgary (Co-Chair)

Retired from Shell Canada and Syncrude Canada years ago. A life-long learner, I completed my doctorate in 1997 with my dissertation addressing Anxiety in the Changing Workplace. I joined Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) after retirement, and had organizational development assignments in Bolivia, Sri Lanka, and Russia.

While with Moral Rearmament, I flew to Moldova and worked with a young group (NGO Civilzatia Noua) as they intervened with the Moldovan cultures aimed at democratizing the city and country. I also was called upon to work with a young group in Belgrade as they strategized how to separate young trafficked women from their pimps. With my experience of organizations both large and small, I now look forward to assisting with the transition of IofC into the future.

 

  Hüstin Laku - Ottawa (Secretary)

 

Justin (Hüstin) Laku, Sr., is a native South Sudanese, educated in South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt, Germany and Switzerland. He helped create the Sudan Health Care & Education Project (SHCPE) to improve public health care and the Education system in South Sudan through knowledge transfer, professional development and capacity building. Through SHCPE, Hüstin collected and sent 7000 medical, science and English textbooks; medical equipment and medical supplies to the Juba Health Institute, the Juba Teaching Hospital and the Juba and Catholic Universities Library. SHCPE has equipped 13 medical clinics in Central Equatorial State.

Internationally, Hüstin was a member of the United Nations mission in Iraq; a member of the Canadian Mission in Ukraine; a former advisor to the Canadian Secretary of State for Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific; and was on staff with the former Canadian International Development Agency of Canada. He is a founding member of the African Diaspora Association of Canada.

His current research includes: Evaluating South Sudan Governance: From Perspective of Federated Forms and/or Devolution; Politics of Foreign Aid in Africa-The Myth of Foreign Aid in Africa: Case Sudan and South Sudan; and the Role of Agriculture in South Sudan’s Economic Development.

Additionally, he is working on new projects: Building partnerships between Carleton, Ottawa and St. Paul universities and the Juba and Catholic Universities in Juba; building a school for girls in Eastern Equatorial State; and, Seed for Democracy for South Sudan (SfDSS). The mission of SfDSS is to prepare the people of South Sudan to understand and adopt the democratic processes and practices that would help to ensure a future peaceful transference of power from successive governments.

Justin is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dream Keepers Award. He speaks Arabic, French, and German, and reads and writes Greek and Hebrew. Socially, he is a DJ for both private and public events.

 

Iman Al Ghafari -Damascus, Syria

Iman Al-Ghafari has completed the term she was appointed to in 2020, and is now nominated to serve a 3-year term, from 2022-2025. Many of us know Iman because she once lived in Toronto ON, and was actively involved with IofC there, especially with youth outreach.

Iman is very active with Creators of Peace: in Syria, where she now lives; in Lebanon, where she often visits; and in Canada, where she led a virtual Peace Circle last year. Iman feels called to continue to support the efforts of the Canadian team and dreams of returning to our country one day.

The Board welcomes Iman's desire to continue bringing her knowledge and skills to trustbuilding work in Canada.

 

Mangalam Lena - Toronto

Mangalam Lena is originally from Sri Lanka, born to a family of eleven children whose parents were caring and deeply spiritual Christians.  As a young girl I was full of energy, interested in all of life, particularly gifted in reaching out to people who were despised and rejected by the society.  At the age of seventeen I decided to dedicate my life to serve humanity and entered the religious order of the Franciscan Missionary of Mary. At the end of the three-year formation I was sent for further education in theology and Montessori education.  Most of my years in Sri Lanka were devoted to the poor and the marginalized.  One of my achievements was establishing a pilot project for young girls in the tea estate who were deprived of basic education.  The training provided intensive one-year education in leadership, knowledge of English, sewing, cooking, agriculture and moral science.

In 1980 I was sent to Israel as a missionary.  I learned French and Arabic to take up the role as a director in a Montessori School in Nazareth for five years.  After that I was given a mission in France and there I was trained as nurse and took care of the elderly sisters in my community.  Finally I arrived in Canada in 1989 to take care of my sick mother for a short period and thereafter joined the Franciscan community.

In Canada, I received a B.A in Theology, an M.A in Pastoral Studies, and a Doctor in Ministry Degree at St. Paul University in Ottawa.  I took a course in the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution, Third Party Neutral (TPN).  One of my greatest achievements in Canada was founding a pilot non-profit organization called Home-Based Spiritual Care to provide spiritual and religious care to the home-bound sick, the elderly and the lonely.  I also created a training program for volunteers, entitled “Spiritual Companions” providing them with supervision, feedback, and continued formation.  I effectively fund-raised for Home-Based Spiritual Care throughout the years.

I have volunteer experiences as a fund-raiser, board of director, social advocate, mediator, spiritual and emotional support worker in the hospital and in the home.