Monday, 25 August 2008

Quaker environment / peace exchange urged by France & Germany YMs

Mary Gilbert (of Quaker Earthcare Witness) and I are visiting France Yearly Meeting, held at a pilgrimage centre in Pontmain, Normandy.

Last night was the meeting of the peace committee. A number of interesting possibilities were discussed, including setting up an exchange of information amongst Friends in Europe and North America. An extremely valuable resource is "Let's cultivate peace" / "Cultivons la paix" from the third international Salon for peace initiatives, a catalog of organizations, school programs, games, videos and other materials for peace and justice education in a number of European languages. The conference was held in late May 2008, sponsored by UNESCO in the framework of the international decade of the United Nations for the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence for the children of the world, with help from the Quakers and the MAN (Mouvement pour une Alternative Non-violente). MAN was started by a French general Bollardiere, in reaction to torture by the Army in the Algerian war, and has developed a significant civil Peace Corps movement at many levels from children's cadets and work camps to research centres. German Friends and QCEA are also helping found a Peace Service (Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.v. aka forumZFD)

A delegate from Germany Yearly Meeting, Friedrich Huth (, proposes an international Quaker activity based on the 350th anniversary of the peace testimony to start in 2009. Among other possibilities would be contributions in many languages to the wiki Building a Culture of Peace visions of a peace testimony for the 21st century. Canadian Friends, Keith Helmuth, Australia and New Zealand yearly meetings have already posted items of this kind. The wiki itself could be a basis for further action, exchange of materials and resources such as those in "Let's cultivate peace" / "Cultivons la paix".

Friends at FYM were also invited to contribute in several languages to the blog Towards a Moral Economy, and will be invited to take part in an international dialogue associated with the launching of Quaker Institute for the Future's Moral Economy Project book and symposium in the spring of 2009 on Right Relationship: Building an Economy for Spaceship Earth.

For Young Friends and Young Adult Friends, there is a multilingual discussion forum on environmental and social justice activities on the website Taking IT Global

A separate multilingual discussion forum for peace education, following last year's PaixQuebecPeace conference of university students (not limited to Quakers) has been set up at Quakers are invited to participate in this as well.

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