BILL PARKER (CALGARY)
Bill Parker is currently employed as a Human Resources Manager/Health and Safety Co-ordinator in Calgary for a large plumbing and heating wholesaler with branches throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. He has extensive experience as a labour relations practitioner and union representative as well as a human resources generalist/management background and over a decade of experience as a senior executive working in municipal government in Regina and Calgary. Upon graduating with a political science degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Bill began his career as a Special Assistant to Premier Allan Blakeney, and spent several years working for the
Saskatchewan government in Executive Council and the Department of Labour as a Worker’s Advocate.
In autumn 2009, Bill accepted the temporary role as Director of Advancement for IofC Canada and was subsequently promoted to the temporary role of General Manager. During his short tenure in these positions Bill worked as part of a team in the upgrading of the IofC Canada website content, introduced electronic communication tools and led the design of a Facebook page. He also organized the 2010 Toronto AGM fund raising dinner and, in Calgary, established working relationships with such organizations as the Calgary Foundation with which IofC has since forged innovative partnerships and received funding.
In 2010, Bill attended the International Communications Committee and IofC International Council meetings representing IofC Canada. That same year Bill also participated in the IofC USA Board’s October meeting and a planning session of American team members laying the ground work for their week long October 2011 Trust Building event in Washington, DC.
Bill has been actively involved in IofC Canada since 2004 when he was elected to the Council of Management and served on the Executive Committee as Treasurer until being invited to take a paid role. He was re-elected onto the Council of Management in 2012 and again holds the position of Treasurer. Throughout his life Bill has known about, and lived the values of IofC growing up in Regina where his grandmother, Lillian McLean, and aunt, Gwen McLean, were actively involved with the team in Saskatchewan. Currently Bill and his wife, Judy, continue to be involved with the IofC team in Calgary.
RICHARD WEEKS (OTTAWA)
Richard Weeks has worked with MRA/IofC in Canada as a fulltime volunteer and fieldworker since 1972, in a variety of administrative and program roles. He served one earlier term on the Council of Manage, before being elected again last year.
Throughout his years with IofC, Richard has been involved internationally with MRA/IofC’s programs and its governance. He was a founding member of Initiatives of Change International, serving a five-year term as a member of its Executive.
As part of the Agenda for Reconciliation program, he helped to introduce the approach of IofC into the reconciliation process in Rwanda. In February 2012, Richard was recognised for twenty years work on behalf of democracy and human rights in Burma and as a co-founder of Canadian Friends of Burma. Early in 2012 he spent four weeks in Burma to reconnect individuals and groups with the IofC international network. This resulted in the attendance of a delegation of seven from Burma at the Caux Forum for Human Security Forum in July 2012. Richard has been involved in developments leading to the launch of an initiative for national reconciliation in South Sudan in April 2013.
At the end of April 2012, Richard made the transition from the position of a remunerated Field Worker back to that of an active and committed volunteer. He was elected to Council at the AGM in 2012
He has shared this journey with his wife Rosalind. They live in Ottawa and have recently become grandparents to a second grandson. They live for the day when IofC Canada will be fully in the hands of a younger generation.
ELIZABETH SLANKE (MONTREAL)
Elizabeth, initially from Riga, Latvia, met IofC in 1999 in Caux and ever since has been fascinated with the ideas of the movement. At that time she was working for the global anti-corruption organistaion Transparency International, being involved with administration and fundraising.In 2001 Elizabeth participated in the first Action for Life program, which developed her capacity to create and deliver youth programs.
She lived in the IofC centre Asia Plateau, India in 2002 and 2003 helping with training programs. In 2005 she studied Emotional Intelligence with Ren-Jou Liu from Taiwan, who has helped hundreds of families to be happier through learning to love and understand oneself. Another IofC member, Bhavesh Patel, inspired Elizabeth to take a coaching class in London, UK, and also to learn the Open Space group-work facilitation technique that has been used successfully in IofC meetings. Elizabeth has helped organise several Caux conferences. In 2005 she did an internship with IofC France, learning about their community building work, then later studied Human Resource Management in Paris.
Constantly exchanging with IofC members has helped Elizabeth to form her professional and personal plan – to ensure the Inner Voice is heard and guidance followed through. In 2009 Elizabeth married Ron Meetoos, a Cree / Neihwae from Thunderchild, Saskatchewan and decided to follow him to his country. In Canada, Elizabeth participated in Creators of Peace Circles in British Columbia, was an active member of the IofC team in Toronto and is involved with relationship building with aboriginal communities. Currently she lives in Montreal, Quebec, and works as a Corporate Recruiter for TD Insurance. In her free time she helps people find and follow their professional calling.
RICHARD BATSINDUKA (GATINEAU)
Richard Batsinduka is a Conflict Resolution advisor in the Federal Public Service of Canada since October 2002. Prior to joining the public service, he worked for the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution as an ADR trainer and practitioner from July 1996 to August 2000. During his career at the Institute, he initiated a training project in peaceful conflict resolution for Rwanda after the genocide. The title of this project was: "Community-Based Conflict Resolution in the Rwandan post genocide setting." At the end of the project, more than 1,000 Rwandans were trained, 7 of them were traned as trainers at the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution in Ottawa, and with that team, s Centre for Prevention and Conflict Resolution was established within the National University of Rwanda, Campus of Butare.
It is during the execution of this project that Richard had the experience of forgiveness when he met with one of his elder brother’s murderer in August 1998. When he became an Initiatives of Change member, Richard had an opportunity to share that experience in Caux in 2001; his testimony was entitled: “Meeting with Vincent's murderer”.
As facilitator, he facilitated a dialogue between Jewish and Arab communities held at the University of Toronto in January 2004 under the auspices of The Arab-Muslim-Jewish Dialogue & the University of Toronto Peace and Conflict Society. He also facilitated a dialogue between the warring parties in the sub-region of the Great Lakes region of Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo - Rwanda - Burundi), facilitation also held in Caux, in July 2000 and August 2001.
Richard continues to be involved in the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution, and spends his free time supporting the Rwandan community in the National Capital Region but he also enjoys watching his kids: Kevin and Jackie ... as well as Raïsa, Blandine and Jean-Blanchard (who finally arrived from Rwanda in October 2011) growing up in size and wisdom!
AUGUSTINO LUCANO (CALGARY)
Augustino grew up in Ngatuba village in South Sudan and attended school under a tree. In 1983 the civil war broke out between South and North Sudan and his education was disrupted. On November 28th, 1986, the rebels and government soldiers clashed in the small town of Chukudum and thousands of us were displaced. At the age of 15 he joined friends who walked barefoot to Kenya to escape the civil war, leaving parents, friends, and relatives behind and spent 4 years in a Kenyan refugee camp.
After living through the numerous hardships of a refugee’s life he decided to leave the African continent on February 22nd 1990 for Canada in pursuit of education, employment, peace, justice and a prosperous future. The difficult circumstances and hardships of the refugee life have taught him to appreciate the Creator and to be thankful for providing him with love, peace and caring. He appreciates each day. Augustino now considers Canada to be his second home, although in the beginning he struggled with the many difficulties of adapting and adjusting to a new system and life in Canada.
After 20 years he made the long journey back to his village and reunited with parents, one brother, three sisters, friends, and relatives. He says, “The journey was extremely emotional but was a blessing because it was good to share all my experiences, both negative and positive”. In 1994 he enrolled in the Alberta Vocational College and graduated in 1996. After two years in the workforce Augustino went to Mount Royal College and graduated with a Social Work Diploma. In 2000 he volunteered at the Interfaith Food Bank where he learnt about the issues affecting many Calgarians living below the poverty line.
In 2001 he volunteered at the Calgary & District Labour Council and became involved with labour, social justice and human rights issues. In 2002 Augustino co-founded the Southern Sudanese Children’s Literacy Foundation (SSCLF) to help children and families in South Sudan. From 2002 till 2008 he was president and currently is the secretary and a member of the board of directors. In 2005 he started working full time with Calgary Family Services. As a Multicultural Support Worker he helps students and families adjust to Canadian school culture and connects students and their families with community resources.
In 2011 he attended an Initiative of Change Trust Building workshop run by Janyce Konkin and has been involved with IofC since then, because he learnt from the workshop that the initiative of change starts with us but does not stop there, that change comes from individuals and gradually reaches everybody.