Passing the baton: celebrating Obiora Ike and welcoming Fadi Daou

20th October 2022

As the family and friends were all gathered for the Building New Bridges Together 2022 conference, it was a great opportunity to say farewell to Executive Director Obiora Ike as he is handing over his responsibilities to Fadi Daou over the next few weeks. The ceremony was full of memories and laughter, and a few emotional tears were spread.

The participants were welcomed at Château de Bossey for a special dinner. This is a place dear to Obiora Ike, as it was previously a monastery and is now an ecumenical theological institute. The Geneva Gospel Choir, led by Nehemiah H. Brown, set the tone of the evening, bringing rhythm, faith, and fun to the room.

Motivated by the Master of Ceremony, Chidi Onyia, Managing Director at the United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility, attendees were asked to define how they describe Obiora Ike using the letters of his name. Galvanised by the challenge, they came up with:

• Omnipresent • Best • Intelligent • Optimistic • Respectable • Awesome

• Invincible • Kind • Empowering

In his farewell words, President and Founder Christoph Stückelberger praised the courage and resilience of Obiora Ike: “Behind what people describe as invincible laughter, there is a man who has a deep conviction that life is stronger than death, both because he himself has experienced death, but also because of his firm faith".

As one of a number of parting gifts, Stückelberger offered Ike a copy of 'The Miraculous Draft of Fishes', a beautiful 1444 painting from Swabian artist Konrad Witz which transposes the catch of 153 fish as reported in the Gospel of John into the Geneva landscape. “Obiora has the core skills we needed, a mix of knowledge, wisdom, networking, and capacities. And I appreciate the personal man he is, with his sense of innovation, creativity, and endurance. My legacy: to receive and to give it back, in line with what Jesus Christ did for us”.

Passing the baton: celebrating Obiora Ike and welcoming Fadi Daou

Obiora Ike reflected on his seven years as the head of the Foundation: “It was never about me or Christoph, it was always about the vision, and about how supporting ethics in the way we think and do things”. He shared how he wants to serve humanity in a selfless manner and encouraged participants to value meaningful relationships.

He symbolically passed the baton to Fadi Daou, while the audience cheered at this special moment.

Passing the baton: celebrating Obiora Ike and welcoming Fadi Daou

The golden glue
Incoming Executive Director Fadi Daou shared: “My word for this new phase of is Kintsugi (the Japanese art which uses gold to put back together broken pottery pieces). In a broken world, I believe that we are the gold which will bring back the pieces together using ethics and values”. As a welcoming present, Christoph Stückelberger presented him with the same painting as for Obiora Ike, but made into of a puzzle, because “You have to do the work now”.

Passing the baton: celebrating Obiora Ike and welcoming Fadi Daou

The speeches were closed by an emotional rendition by the choir of “Amazing Grace”, which resonated in all hearts:

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright, shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun

Chidi Onyia has known Obiora Ike for more than 10 years: “He is remarkable and impactful. He lives the message of Jesus, and as a friend, he always goes back to relationships. He empowers and supports his friends to realise their dreams”.

As Christoph Stückelberger stated: “There is no one leader. We all, in our respective roles, care for”.

The team wishes to express its thanks to Obiora Ike for his dedication and leadership and looks forward to working with Fadi Daou, embracing his vision for the organisation and for the world.

Article and photos credit: Loyola R. Schäfer

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