Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Webinar Series: Change Begins with Me

Initiatives of Change (IofC) Indonesia in collaboration with Tanri Abeng University (TAU) Language Centre organized a webinar on the theme of 'Change Begins with Me.' This webinar was a very special event for the fact that it was held on our Independence Day. This was a way of celebrating Independence Day with our global IofC family. This online seminar was also another opportunity for collaboration with Tanri Abeng University (TAU) and another evidence of how much can be achieved through such initiatives. 

Khairul Umam, the director of TAU Language Centre, invited our friends, Rob and Cheryl Wood, James Cordiner, and Reuben Daamen, from IofC Australia to share their personal stories related to today’s theme. In her opening remarks Yofrina from IofC Indonesia, introduced IofC Indonesia to the webinar participants. She also welcomed them to join the online Saturday gatherings and other activities conducted by IofC Indonesia as a way of learning more and developing friendship and community-based partnership.

Our four Australian guest speakers all shared relevant experiences from their own lives. One of them, Rob Wood said, “When I was 17,  I got involved with IofC and that has been my full time voluntary work till now. For the first 7 or 8 years I travelled with three different musical shows created and presented by our organisation. The largest of these productions had a cast of 80, we were invited to 30 different countries and lived in thousands of homes during our four years together. A highlight was the welcome to Malaysia by the Prime Minister on the anniversary of their worst race riots to help rebuild the trust between divided communities.”

“Sometime later I met the love of my life, Cheryl, and together we helped to host an international community house in Melbourne and that was our home for 28 years. At around the same time we got involved in running life direction and leadership programs for people from all over Australia and around the Asia Pacific region and we're still part of teams organising those workshops now.  We do it because we believe investing in people is a really good way to help create a better future.” The human factor in world affairs is important and a transformation of our motives, attitudes and relationships is needed if we are going to begin to resolve the big issues like climate change or race war that the human family is facing at the moment.

Rob and Cheryl together presented a power-point about the value of seeking wisdom through inner reflection and of having unconditional moral values of  honesty, purity, unselfishness and love to live by. Through inner reflection, Cheryl said, “We can begin to find positive direction for our lives and correction in order to put right our mistakes and wrong doings. Restoring for these can be a pathway to inner freedom and to becoming the people we are meant to be.”

James Cordiner, who worked in Jakarta for a charitable organisation 4 years ago, expressed how much that experience and the chance to get to know Indonesia had meant to him. “People there are warm and friendly and I would like to make a return visit there some time.” During the pandemic, James has continued to work from home and has tried to reach out in care for others through his work.

Reuben Daamen, a young musician and artist shared his experience of sitting by himself practising self-reflection. “During this COVID-19 period I have kept active through my creativity. I am also glad to be part of this online session with you all and in ways like this to be able to stay connected to other parts of the world.”

One of the participants asked, “What should I do when people around don’t support what I am doing to create change in my surroundings?” One of our Australian friends responded saying, “At such times it's important to look at the motivation for our actions and see whether our intentions and actions are clean and clear. If they are,  then we can follow our hearts and never stop taking action.”

Music was also part of the morning and we enjoyed listening to 'Everyone has a story' and 'Listening', a couple of the songs from Rob Wood's CD, 'Signposts Along The Journey Of Life'. Anyone wishing to purchase the CD can contact or IofC Indonesia team,

Virtual get-togethers like this might lack some of the benefits of in-person encounters, but  in some other ways, they can offer a unique experience in bringing the world together . We can listen, share, and feel a strong sense of mutual support in spite of the physical distance between us. We would like to express our heartful thanks to the organizing committee and our distinguished speakers for this memorable event.

Yofrina Octika Gultom