• The School for Changemakers 10

    10th Anniversary at Asia Plateau

  • School for Changemakers or SfCM, has for 9 years been IofC-UK’s flagship leadershipprogramme for young people. In 2020, it will commemorate its 10th Anniversary


    It comprises of an initial three to five day summer residential for a selected cohort of between 30 to 50 participants. This is then followed by an offering for its network of 500 or so alumni which includes a minimum of two yearly ‘sleepover’ events held at Greencoat Place, smaller meetings and collaborations on a range of social justice projects across the country.


    Through a varied programme of activities and learning, SfCM serves its participants so that they may harness their energy and ideas. In this way, it assists them in making a real difference to the world whilst supporting their lifestyles and career choices in an increasingly competitive and demanding employment market.


    SfCM is partly skills based, partly reflective, partly discursive, partly inter-cultural, heavily convivial, inspirational, focussed on sound principles of youth work and always rooted in the spiritual experience of IofC. Its ‘curriculum’ closely matches the Tools for Change conference format of early morning Quiet Times, inspirational plenaries with guest speakers, community groups, elective training tracks, an evening social programme and late night activities which can include dance, games and drama. Character studies of Buchman and Laure, and the involvement of external experts in the delivery are cornerstones of the course.


    2020 will be SFCM’s 10th Anniversary, and its organisers would be grateful to commemorate this by holding the first ever SfCM at Asia Plateau. We are proposing a 7 day programme, held in January 2020 for between 30 to 50 people, most of whom will be alumni of existing IofC or related programmes in the region and the UK. We envisage that this anniversary SfCMprogramme will remain the responsibility of IofC-UK, and will be wholly directed by Krish Raval, but which will include Siddharth Singh and Archana Rao in particular on the organising team. The UK based Centre of Effective Dispute Resolution, and other training organisations of world class standing are interested in contributing to our curriculum.

  • About SfCM

    Process and Approach

    Participants are challenged to examine the concept of vocation and their role in the world as well as the personal, professional and spiritual dimensions of change. This is done through a series of workshops, times of reflection, plenary sessions and community work.

    Each day will commence with a full gathering of course members, who will be addressed by one or more individuals who have a powerful story to tell of how they have been able to effect change in a significant area such as the world of business; social entrepreneurism; through politics or political action; in the context of environmental issues; in community action; within the field of education or by discovering their own identity and calling in the world. These sessions will be inspirational, motivating participants and assuring them of the possibilities for real change.

  • Participants can expect to:

    • Develop the skills and self awareness to be effective leaders at work, home and in the community

    • Take insight and inspiration from experienced leaders who are leading complex change - inmany different ways - at work and in society

    • Learn from and develop friendships with other participants from diverse backgrounds, interests and experience.

    • Explore next steps in life in an empowering space

    • Connect personal values and priorities with the needs of communities, country and world

    • Network with peers and leaders with a track-record of leading social change

    • Receive opportunities for further experience e.g. international internships, education, more training, etc.


    As a result, it is envisaged that participants will gain by having:

    • Increased character and confidence to respond to challenges in their personal, professional and community lives

    • Help in making decisions about next steps

    • An increased ability to deal with diversity, community cohesion and exclusion

    • An enhanced capacity to engage in international contexts

    • Access to intern schemes and volunteering opportunities

    • An Increased likelihood of gaining post-graduation employment or work experience

  • Venue

    Asia Plateau, the Initiatives of Change centre in Panchgani, Maharashtra marked it’s 50thanniversary in 2018. Aimed at providing a space for introspection and dialogue, at Asia Plateau you will be ensconced in the protected biodiversity hot spot of the Western Ghats, surrounded by the Krishna Valley on one side and the Table Land, Asia’s second largest Plateau, on the other.

    Your closest international airport is Chatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai and it is a 5 hour taxi/bus ride from the airport. A smaller airport, which also services a few international flights is Pune Lohegaon Airport which is 2 hours away by Taxi.



    Asia Plateau
    Panchgani 412 805
    Maharashtra India




    The fee for the entire programme is GBP250 which covers the cost of food and accommodation. Should finances be a hinderance for your attendance, please do get in touch with the secretariat to see if there are scholarships you can avail.


    Participants will be required to arrive in time for the Welcome gathering at 4pm on the 3rd of January with the last session ending before lunch at 1230pm on the 9th of January. Should you want to arrive earlier or leave later please contact the secretariat for costs and availability.


    There are Travel Bursaries available for:


    SfCM UK alumni


    You can apply for these when you register for the programme.

  • Speakers at SfCM 10

    Prof. Rajmohan Gandhi

    Author of more than a dozen books, Rajmohan Gandhi is a historian and biographer involved in efforts for trust-building and reconciliation. He currently serves as Research Professor at the College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From 1997 to 2012, he was part of this university’s Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. His latest book, published in December 2018, is Modern South India: A History from the 17th Century to Our Times. Other books by him include Understanding the Muslim Mind (1987); Gandhi: The Man, his People and the Empire (2008); and Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten (2013). In 2002, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for his Rajaji: A Life, a biography of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari. Associated from 1956 with Initiatives of Change (formerly known as Moral Re-Armament), Rajmohan Gandhi served as president of Initiatives of Change International in 2009 and 2010. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he played a leading role in establishing Asia Plateau.

    Anusha Bharadwaj

    As Executive Director, Anusha is working towards taking VOICE Camps to marginalised adolescent girls across the country. She believes in the power of girls to transform communities and nations. It is with this conviction that she leads a group of passionate individuals at VOICE 4 Girls, a social enterprise that educates and empowers marginalized adolescent girls with the vision to eliminate gender inequality and violence. VOICE has impacted the lives of over 72,000 adolescents and 3000 young camp counselors. Anusha is also the Founder Director of SoCh for Social Change, a platform that offers young women social leadership skills. The signature program, SILT Bootcamp has launched its first cohort where 16 young women are being groomed to become social impact leaders. The other program Oorja has reached out to 600 young women in Tier II towns. Anusha is an alumnus of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (2005-07); Asia Pacific Leadership Program (2013-14), East West Center, USA; 1stCohort of Harvard-Dasra Social Impact Leadership Program (2014-15); and a Cordes Fellow (2017).

    Supriya Gandhi

    Supriya Gandhi teaches at Yale University and works on the interface of Islam and Indic traditions in South Asia. She completed her doctorate at Harvard University, and has also studied in Delhi, Tehran, London and Damascus. Before coming to Yale, she taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Haverford College. She is the author of The Emperor Who Never Was: Dara Shukoh in Mughal India (Harvard University Press, 2020) and is currently writing a book on modern Hinduism.

    George FitzHerbert

    George FitzHerbert is a scholar, traveller and writer. He has worked as a journalist with the BBC World Service, and as a ghost-writer in areas of religion, ethics and politics. He is currently a full-time academic, heading the Tibetan Studies programme at the University of Oxford. Prominent public figures with whom he has worked include HH the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, and the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. His most recent academic research, conducted under the auspices of the European Research Council at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, was on Tibetan-Chinese relations in the 18th and 19th centuries.


    George has been a regular visitor to IofC Asia Plateau for several years. He has spent time living in both Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

    Pooja R Bhale

    Pooja R Bhale (PRB) is a Conservation Biologist by her main qualification. Her ancillary certifications include Leadership for Young Adults, Reiki, Telepathic Animal Communication, NLP amongst several others. She heads Protecterra Ecological Foundation (PEF), a non-profit dedicatedly working towards raising the bar of awareness about our connection to the Earth. The Farm is PEF’s flagship project, an effort to reconnect people to the planet through love, awareness and learning. PRB lives at The Farm in a tent with her animals, nearly 40 of them. Spiritual ecology is the niche space in which The Farm, PRB and PEF operate. On her own time, PRB is a sportswoman and currently plays rugby on the Maharashtra team. She has also extensively travelled and worked in protected areas in South Africa, England and across India.

    Kalpana Sharma

    Kalpana Sharma is an independent journalist and author based in Mumbai. In over four decades as a journalist specializing in developmental and environmental issues as well as gender, she has worked with Himmat Weekly, Indian Express, The Times of India and The Hindu. She was also Consulting Editor with Economic & Political Weekly and Readers' Editor with Scroll.in.


    Her latest book is "The Silence and the Storm: Narratives of violence against women in India" (2019). She is also the author of “Rediscovering Dharavi: Stories from Asia’s Largest Slum” (2000). In addition, she has edited "Single by Choice, Happily Unmarried Women" (2019) and “Missing: Half the Story, Journalism as if Gender Matters” (2010), and co-edited “Whose News? The Media and Women’s Issues” (1994/2006), and “Terror Counter-Terror: Women Speak Out” (2003).

    Biren Bhuta

    Born and brought up in Mumbai.

    Schooling in Mumbai. Graduated as a production engineer from Bharti vidyapeeth’s college of engineering, Pune. Pursued a post graduate diploma in management (pgdm) from the Indian institute of management, Kolkata (IIM Cal)

    Started career as a corporate banker with standard chartered bank in Chennai.

    Switched careers to become a television journalist with NDTV in Mumbai.

    Consulted Tata steel in rural development in Bastar in Chhattisgarh

    Worked with international union for conservation of nature (IUCN) in Odisha on a project to mitigate impacts on olive Ridley turtles

    Worked as chief of csr of tata steel for the last seven years in Jharkhand and Odisha.

    Since last one year, have been helping to put together a leadership institute to develop young people as future servant leaders for public service.

    Travis Zadeh

    Travis Zadeh is a scholar of Islamic intellectual and cultural history. His areas of interest include frontiers and early conversion, Qur’anic studies, eschatology, mythology, mysticism, pilgrimage and sacred geography, encyclopedism, cosmography, classical Arabic and Persian literary traditions, material and visual cultures, Islamic studies in the digital humanities, vernacularity and language politics, comparative theories of language and translation, secularism, colonialism, Islamic reform, science, magic, miracles, and philosophies of the marvelous.


    His research has examined the role of translation in the formative stages of Islamic history, particularly in the areas of geographical writings on the wonders of the world and scriptural hermeneutics concerning the transcendental nature of the Qur’an. His first monograph, Mapping Frontiers across Medieval Islam: Geography, Translation and the ‘Abbasid Empire (I.B. Tauris, 2011), explores the diverse uses of translation, scriptural exegesis, and administrative geography in the projection of imperial power. His second book, The Vernacular Qur’an: Translation and the Rise of Persian Exegesis (Oxford University Press, Qur’anic Studies Series – Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2012), examines early juridical and theological debates on the translatability of the Qur’an, the rise of vernacular cultures, the development of Persian exegetical literature, and translations of the Qur’an.


    Zadeh is currently researching several topics, including astonishment and wonder before and after the age of reform, material and visual cultures in Islamic studies, knowledge networks spanning frontiers across Central and South Asia, and the intersections between sacred geography, history, and scripture. He is particularly interested in the problem of the marvelous, broadly construed, over the course of Islamic history. This topic forms the basis for his book project, Marvelous Geographies: Religion and Science in Islamic Thought (under contract with Harvard University Press). He is also undertaking a book project on the early history, formation, and memory of Mecca, with specific attention to the repeated destruction of the sanctuary complex at the end of the seventh century and the ensuing implications for ritual practice and political authority. Both books draw on archival research conducted with the support of an Andrew Mellon New Directions Fellowship (2013–16).

    Joachim Muller

    Joachim joined CEDR as an intern in June 2015. He went on to be hired as Research Analyst & Business Development Assistant and was responsible for communication, advanced research in Alternative Dispute Resolution and Business Development assistance for various departments at CEDR. Joachim progressed to Business Development Manager in CEDR’s Training & Consultancy Department.

    In his current role, his focus is on making mediation accessible and known to the wider public and organisations to improve social relationships within businesses, and promote access to alternative dispute resolution. Joachim also acts as a project manager and trainer on several international programmes.

    Recent projects include an international development consultancy project in Moldova, mediator training in France, conflict management at the International Labour Organisation, training and coaching young leaders in conflict management, and working directly with clients on conflict management system design in the UK, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

    Accredited as an international Civil & Commercial mediator by CEDR in 2016, he was one of the youngest professionals to have joined their conciliator panel for consumer disputes.

    Prior to joining CEDR, Joachim did a bachelor’s degreein Theology and Religious Studies at the UniversitéCatholique de l’Ouest (France), followed by a master’s degree in Mediation at the University of Lyon (France).

    Nicola Duggan

    Nicola is the Training Team Manager and is responsible for Management of the Training Team, Business Development and Sales for CEDR’sInternational Mediation and OrganisationalDevelopment programmes as well as overseeing and reporting of the training team budget.

    Nicola joined CEDR in 2013 as Course Manager and has worked with organisations across the world in designing training programmes on how to manage their conflict more effectively and how practitioners can gain the most when using mediation. In her role as a Team Manager, Nicola has been key in developing the practical application of CEDR’s conflict management, communication and leadership skills, putting them in practice every day with her team and collaborators.

    Nicola was accredited a Civil and Commercial Mediator by CEDR in 2016 and delivers training and coaching on CEDR’s New Dialogues Programme for Young Leaders on Managing Conflict Effectively.

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    SfCM 10

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