Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Initiatives of Change International President Omnia Marzouk in New Zealand

Initiatives of Change New Zealand was honoured to host Dr Omnia Marzouk, President of Initiatives of Change (IofC) International in New Zealand from 31 October to 15 November 2015. Omnia had a very full programme of public talks and meetings and inspired many with her compassionate, intelligent and comprehensive presentation of the ideas and actions of Initiatives of Change worldwide.

Omnia also shared her personal intercultural background - born in Spain, schooled in Egypt and Australia, where her father was the Egyptian ambassador to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, and then on to the UK where she has been working as a paediatric consultant in the United Kingdom’s busiest children’s emergency department. This intercultural background, along with her spiritual journey, has sparked a long commitment to intercultural and interfaith dialogue around the world.

Omnia Marzouk in New Zealand

Omnia focused on the theme of building trust and healing conflict across the world’s divides and the message that, to be a force for positive change, we need to start with ourselves. The message resonated with the many people Omnia met as being relevant and necessary for our communities and the world at this time. Through the meetings we had around the country, Omnia was able to learn about and contribute to discussion on the New Zealand context, including our bicultural past and present, our increasingly multicultural society and the flag debate! We are also grateful for the opportunities Omnia’s visit has opened up for IofC’s activities in New Zealand.

Omnia’s visit began in Auckland and she arrived on the day New Zealanders nervously anticipated the final of the Rugby World Cup. We all enjoyed the victory and it set the tone for what was a very positive visit.

Omnia’s journey took her from Auckland to Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Whanganui and Wellington. She spoke at two public meetings – one in Auckland and one in Wellington – and met with a wide range of organizations and individuals.