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. 

Contact the Elders here

Barbara Lawler (Australia) (Convenor)
Barbara Lawler

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. 

David Alan Curtis (UK)
David Curtis

David Curtis is 67 years old and a retired Business Consultant specialising in Team Collaboration and Co-operation. He worked in this realm for over 15 years both in the UK and around the Globe within the private and public sector, as a Director of JCP Consultancy and latterly as Managing Director of Allium Consulting Ltd based in Sheffield, and he had many highly successful projects to his credit.

In his early career, in the late 60’s and early 70’s, David worked for The House of Fraser as a Buyer for the Harrods Provincial Store Group. He joined them straight from Sheffield City Grammar School at the age of 16 and completed his higher education at the Sheffield Polytechnic.

David first met Initiatives of Change (MRA) when he was serving as President Elect of the Chamber of Trade in Sheffield over 35 years ago. He has been involved with many IofC global initiatives since then.

For the last 20 or more years, besides his paid professional work, David has been travelling to Eastern Europe - particularly Ukraine - with the IofC Foundations 4 Freedom Programme (F4F) working with students and young politicians, building teams of young people within that region who now form an important presence in their local commercial and academic circles and in local and national government. He was a founder member of F4F and has served as a committee member ever since, as well as being practically involved in running the programmes. He has travelled to Ukraine well over 30 times during this period and still continues to do so.

As a Christian, David is very involved in church activities besides having many other interests. He has been happily married to Judith for 48 years and she has always been a strong supporter and collaborator in whatever path he has chosen to take in life. Their son, Christopher and daughter Helen, both married, have given them five wonderful grandchildren. The Curtis IofC home is based in Sheffield.

 

Nombulelo Khanyile (South Africa)
Nombulelo Khanyile

Nombulelo grew up in the province of the Eastern Cape in South Africa, and is a Science Graduate from Fort Hare University. She is 64 years old and has three children and three grandchildren. She plays tennis and is a member of the university choir.

In 1974, Nombulelo had an opportunity to attend an IofC conference at Caux, Switzerland. Following the conference she decided to work fulltime with IofC, and was able to travel and work in the UK, USA, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

In 1980 to 1982 Nombulelo was back in the UK with her husband Vusi, who had won a three-year scholarship to Birmingham University. During their final year in the UK she studied for a Post Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Studies. Their return to South Africa was during the difficult time politically. Vusi, a political activist, was in and out of detention for varying periods, the longest being for two years. This put a lot of strain on the family and marriage, and in 2001 they divorced.

In 1998 Nombulelo decided to give more time to IofC. In 2000 she represented IofC-SA at the Global Consultation in India and the following year attended the Global Hoho in India along with her daughter Ndoni. One of the outcomes of the Global Hoho was the birth of the Clean Africa Campaign Leadership Training Programme. The pilot programme took place in Kenya in 2003. It later developed into the Harambee Leadership Training Programme, which has taken place in South Africa, Ghana Ethiopia and Nigeria.

Alongside her work with IofC, Nombulelo was the Community Liaison manager with FHA Homes, liaising with community organisations, unions and parliamentary groups. She was also the Human Resource Officer for Nedcor Bank, one of the four major banks in South Africa, assisting in the transformation of the bank. As an entrepreneur, she started her own hair salon business, 'Hair Afrique' from 1996 until 1999. 

In 2006 Nombulelo was elected to the International Council and served for six years. She was on the Africa Coordinating Group (ACG) for seven years.  She says the ACG opened her heart, and helped her to love the continent of Africa.

Dr Visier Sanyü Meyasetsu (Australia/India)
Dr Visier Sanyü Meyasets

Visier was born and brought up in Khonoma village in Nagaland, in North East India. He first met IofC in 1970, through Anything to Declare in Shillong. This encounter with IofC led him to a world far greater than he had ever imagined possible. After graduating from St Joseph’s college in Darjeeling he travelled with Song of Asia for three years in different parts of the world. He then lived and worked at Asia Plateau Panchgani for two years. Before moving to Australia, Visier was the Head of History Department at Nagaland University.

Visier has lived and worked in Australia for the past 20 years specializing in refugee work. His last position was with World Vision as Project Officer for Welcome to My Place. Prior to this he worked with ACT for Peace, National Council of Churches in Australia.

Visier has a PhD in History and a Bachelor of Theology and is strongly involved in the Interfaith Movement. He was a Member of the Advisory Council for the Parliament of World’s Religions Melbourne 2009 and is on the Board of Directors of Melbourne Interfaith Centre. Visier is deeply involved in indigenous peoples issues. He has presented at various international forums including being Spokesperson for the Asian delegation at the Working Group for Indigenous People at the United Nations Geneva, in the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People.

Visier is married to Pari, who currently serves as International Coordinator for Creators of Peace. Pari and Visier are the anchorpersons for the Cultural and Structural Change process at Armagh, the Australia-Pacific Centre for Initiatives of Change. They have three children, two sons and a daughter.

Andrew Stallybrass (UK/Switzerland)
Andrew Stallybrass

British-born, in Liverpool, in 1948, both of Andrew’s parents were involved in MRA. Since 1967, Andrew Stallybrass worked ‘full time’ with MRA, to begin with, in some of the travelling shows, Pitié pour Clémentine and Anything to Declare. For many years, he was part of the team carrying and planning the international conferences for Initiatives of Change (Moral Re-Armament) in Caux, Switzerland, for most of that time working with public relations for the Caux centre. He also worked on the production of conference reports and programmes, as well as writing weekly newsletters from Caux during the summer conferences.

In 1980, he married Eliane Maillefer. They have no children. From 1984 to 2014, they lived in Geneva, and Andrew now has dual nationality, British-Swiss. In 2014, they moved to live in Caux, in the Chalet de la Patinoire. Andrew is Managing Director of Caux Books, the small international publishing house linked with Initiatives of Change. He is also an independent writer and journalist. He has been a lay preacher in the Geneva Reformed Church, and was long active in the Geneva Inter-Faith Platform. He holds a post-graduate certificate of specialisation in theology from the University of Geneva.

Marie Chaftari (Lebanon)
Marie Chaftari

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. 

Christine Iralu (Nagaland)
Christine Iralu

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.’

Dr Ravindra Rao (India)
Ravindra Rao

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 IofC for ten years. He was part of the musical, India Arise touring many parts of the country and Europe. 

In 1965 he took a 10-year break from his career to work as a full-time volunteer for IofC in India and abroad. His work in Eastern India shifted philosophies of extreme left-wing activists, who surrendered their weapons to embrace IofC. He later spent time working with a Dental Hospital in Sheffield, UK before moving back to Bangalore to start his private dental practice. Soon he became a leading dentist of Bangalore and a pioneer of implant dentistry in South India, organising the first Oral Implantology Conference of Bangalore. He was on the executive committee of the Indian Dental Association. 

He retired in 2009 from his dental practice in Bangalore, to take up the position of Director of Asia Plateau, the Initiatives of Change centre in India. He and his wife Jayashree, moved to Asia Plateau, where he supported Jayashree in setting up Grampari, IofC’s rural and ecology initiative. He was a member of IofC’s International Council and a trustee in the board of trustees of Friends of Moral Re-Armament (India), which is the Indian IofC legal body. His commitment to IofC guided his professional, social and family life. Dr Rao is still active with IofC India and has interest in delivering IofC’s message in a contemporary language by drawing on Indian and other Asian traditions.

Megumi Kanematsu (Japan)
Megumi Kanematsu

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.’

Michael (Mick) Vertigan (Australia)
Michael Vertigan

Mick is in the process of retiring from a 45-year career as a secondary school teacher in Math and Science in Western Australia.  His career started in Victoria.  His wife Ruth was also a teacher and changed careers to become a Minister of the Uniting Church.  They are proud parents of six children with several grandchildren. 

Mick and Ruth have both followed a sense of God’s calling on their lives and their marriage is very much a part of their commitment to Initiatives of Change.  They have faced life’s deeper challenges with faith and cheerfulness.  Mick’s parents were stalwarts of IofC in Melbourne.  Earlier in his life, he worked for several years as a full-time volunteer with IofC in India and as part of the ‘Song of Asia musical. 

Mick is more recently engaged with IofC teams in Papua New Guinea and Cambodia and is committed to stay alongside his friends there to support their leadership in bringing change.  Mick keeps faith with old friends and reaches out with great compassion to people at home and abroad.

Daphrose Ntarataze Barampama (Burundi/Switzerland)
Daphrose Ntarataze Barampama

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 (Zimbabwe)
Roy Edward Ncube

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 (UK)
Teresa Luckhurst

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.