BUILDING TRUST ACROSS THE WORLD'S DIVIDES
Initiatives of Change (IofC) began as a spiritual and social movement more than 80 years ago, drawing on the ideas that by applying guiding values of absolute honesty, unselfishness, purity and love in daily life, and being open to the divine spark within, anyone could help create a better society.
Today, IofC International is a donation- and grant-funded nonprofit organization, registered in Switzerland, which serves as the central hub for a global network of both national teams and individuals who are leading community-based initiatives.
Our grassroots approach encourages local ownership and focuses on accompanying, strengthening, and empowering individuals to be the change they want to see in the world.
The timeline below marks some key moments in this ongoing work.
Initiatives of Change grew out of the work of Frank Buchman (1878-1961).
Buchman affirmed that there is a divine purpose for the world and everyone in it, and demonstrated the connection between faith and change in society.
He was a revolutionary thinker and leader whose trust-building and reconciliation efforts have greatly influenced the 20th century. He inspired thousands to address global challenges, yet his work remains largely unknown.
Who was he? How did he emerge from small-town America to make such an impact that several governments decorated him for his contribution to peace?
As European nations re-arm for war, Frank Buchman calls for 'moral and spiritual re-armament' as the way to build a 'hate-free, fear-free, greed-free world'. The Oxford Group changes it's name to 'Moral Re-Armament '(MRA), and launches a programme of moral and spiritual change in private and public life.
MRA opens an international conference center in Caux, Switzerland. Conferences at Caux achieve high public recognition through major contributions to international developments in the post-war years. Notably the part played in the reconciliation efforts in Europe, South-East Asia, and Africa.
By the 1950s, casts of plays presenting MRA's ideas are traveling all over the world. With reconciliation a primary need, MRA establishes centres in India, Latin America, Japan and several countries in Africa.
Frank Buchman dies in 1961.
New initiatives develop throughout the 90s: Hope in the Cities, created to bridge the racial divide in the US; Clean Election Campaigns run in Taiwan, Brazil and Kenya; Foundations for Freedom visiting courses aimed at students and young professionals in Eastern European countries.
In 2001 the new name Initiatives of Change (IofC) is adopted by the Global Assembly and announced to the world's media.
IofC teams and centers on each continent continue in active operation, while new programs are established to respond to world's needs.
In 2010, the IofC global network established the IofC International Association, which today is represented by 36 IofC national associations or international programs. In 2021 a new statement of the Vision, Mission and focus on Trustbuilding, Ethical leadership and Sustainable Living were adopted.
The spiritual and moral legacy of Frank Buchman lives on in songs, films, books, programmes and above all in the stories of countless people whose lives have found a new direction. While most of the material comes from the movement he founded – The Oxford Group, Moral Re-Armament, now Initiatives of Change – it already includes much from other movements which grew from the same roots.