Friends Peace Teams Annual Reports
The text of recently received Annual Reports are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below.
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I was appointed at Annual Session on August 2016 to serve as Baltimore Yearly Meeting representative to the Friends Peace Teams Council, succeeding Barbara Thomas (Annapolis), and have since been engaged in my continuing orientation to this active and inspirational international Quaker mission. I was substantially assisted in preparing this report by Adrian Bishop (Baltimore, Stony Run), who has served several years as an at-large member of the FPT Council. We will seek to provide an overview of the organization and brief review of its most recent activities.
On behalf of Friends Peace Teams, we want to first thank you for your support, both spiritually and financially. As described below, our peace work has intensified during this past year while we have retained new leadership in two of our initiatives and implemented changes to our governance and infrastructure. Our work is dependent on your contributions of time, interest, presence, spirit, and revenues. We honor our many volunteers and partners at home and abroad who help us promote peace.
Friends Peace Teams, Inc. (FPT) is a not-for-profit corporation initiated in 1995 by Friends from several U.S. Yearly Meetings to promote social welfare, peacebuilding, healing and reconciliation through its work to develop long-term relationships with communities in conflict around the world. FPT seeks to invite, challenge, and empower individual Friends and Friends' meetings and churches to participate in spirit-led peaceteam work locally and internationally.
Among other activities, FPT organizes peace teams, promotes participation by Friends and others in peace teams, and helps local Friends' meetings and churches engage in peace work. FPT organizes and provides training, workshops and conferences, makes presentations, develops and distributes materials, and conducts fundraising to support its national and international work.
FPT activities overall are conducted under the auspices of the FPT Council, a governing board of representatives appointed by Yearly Meetings and other interested members appointed at large. Australia Yearly Meeting joined FPT in 2014 and has a representative on the Council. Our current co-clerk and assistant clerk are Tom Martin (Intermountain Yearly Meeting) and Nancy Shippen (New England Yearly Meeting). The Council has recently established a Governance Committee to lead in the review and revision of its governance policies and standards, especially regarding financial authority and responsibilities to assure transparency and accountability in all national and international activities while honoring FPT’s decentralized structure for implementing its international initiatives.
The Council meets annually at one in-person business meeting (called “Face to Face”) and monthly by phone and internet. Since 2013 the Face to Face has been followed by a one-day PeaceQuest of workshops and presentations describing and celebrating FPT’s peacework around the world. We held our 2017 Face to Face and PeaceQuest on May 18-20 at Wellesley Friends Meeting (Massachusetts), and will hold next year’s meetings at Nashville Friends Meeting (Tennessee) on March 17-19. We encourage everyone interested in FPT to attend and participate.
Currently PFP has three international programs or “initiatives:” African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI), with activities in Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, and Democratic Republic of Congo; Asia West Pacific Initiative (AWP), working in Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Nepal; and Peacebuilding en Las Americas (PLA), active in Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Each initiative is managed by its own Work Group of volunteers subject to governance by the FPT Council. Their programs involve workshops, support groups, and educational gatherings about the effects of trauma and conflict on personal and community relationships; and all programs teach peaceful ways to resolve these inter-related problems. Detailed information on each initiative can be obtained at FPT’s website (below), including contact information for the initiative coordinators.
The African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) continues its work in Central East Africa: Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, and Democratic Republic of Congo. This includes (among other projects) Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC), Friends Women’s Association’s Clinic in Burundi, the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), and mediation training. David Zarembka, the founder of AGLI, resigned in August, 2016 and has been replaced by David Bucura, a Rwandan resident. AGLI will be seeking a US-based person for outreach.
HROC (pronounced HE-rock) is a three day experiential workshop modeled on AVP that deals with the personal and community trauma from the violent conflicts in the region. There is a basic workshop with a follow-up day and a community celebration, plus an advanced workshop and training for community “healing companions.” AGLI operates HROC in Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya. Recently AGLI has enabled Catholic Relief Services to provide HROC in the Central African Republic and DRC and groups of Mennonites and Brethren in Nigeria.
The Alternative to Violence Project (AVP) provides three-day experiential workshops that teach participants non-violent means of resolving conflicts. There are three levels of AVP training—basic, advanced, and training for facilitators.
AGLI provides “Transformative Mediation” trainings across the region. The basic premise is that the conflict is due to broken relationships that need to be repaired or “transformed.” Consequently the disputants themselves, rather than the mediators, suggest the resolution that all parties must agree upon.
Friends Women’s Association Clinic is a medical facility in Kamenge, one of the poorest slums in Bujumbura, Burundi. The staff includes a doctor and nurse and focuses on HIV+ women from the neighborhood while also giving basic medical treatment to the general population.
Several AGLI activities rely on Extended Service Volunteers (ESVs), which are placements of three months or more for individuals who wish to be involved more extensively in one of AGLI’s programs. Some ESVs serve for one year or more.
Friends Peace Teams Asia West Pacific Initiative (AWP) engages with peace workers in Central Java, North Sumatra, Aceh in Indonesia; Manila, Tagbilaran City, and Davao City in the Philippines; Seoul, Korea; and Kathmandu, Pokara and Bhutanese camps in Nepal. AWP also maintains a concern for peace workers in Palestine, Israel, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Ukraine, New Zealand and Australia. As its peace-work follows the calling of its volunteers, in 2016 AWP actively worked in Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines and Korea supporting nonviolence, peace, trauma healing, conflict transformation, and social justice advocacy for communities recovering from war or religious violence.
AWP completed earthquake relief activities in Nepal in 2016 and provided a grant to Peace Place in Central Java to expand their training center and school. It continued to develop and support pre-schools, after-school programs, and parent, family and teacher training based on peace and nonviolence throughout its international service areas. The Power of Goodness: Art and Stories for a Culture of Peace, edited by AWP Coordinator Nadine Hoover and published in 2016, is a collection of short stories from the lives of real people who chose nonviolence and is accompanied by illustrations by young artists. It should be considered for religious education and workshops across a broad age level.
Peacebuilding en las Américas (PLA) has over ten active peacebuilding and trauma healing programs in Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. PLA provides grassroots solidarity, tools and hope to those most discriminated against and marginalized throughout this region. 2016 marked an important year for the continued sustainability of PLA’s programs. After 13 years of volunteer service, Founding Coordinator Val Liveoak retired, continuing as an advisor to the new team consisting of Monica Maher, resident of Colombia, Initiative Coordinator; Allie Prescott, Communications Specialist and Andy Cross, Financial Specialist. During this transition, the new team focused on growing and solidifying relationships with in-field Facilitators, Coordinators, and Volunteers who have passionately supported and facilitated workshops and other training activities.
In 2016, each of PLA’s programs focused work with at-risk youth, teachers, war survivors, former and active gang members, prison personnel, indigenous communities and grassroots leaders. Some program highlights include: the first ever workshop in a Mayan Language in Guatemala; trauma healing workshops in El Salvador with female war survivors who have disappeared relatives; workshops that empowered women in Afro-Indigenous and Indigenous communities defending their land rights against illegal development in Honduras; workshops that provide rehabilitation for former gang members and prisoners in a Honduran Prison; and workshops with victims of violence as well as demobilized guerrilla and paramilitary fighters in Colombia during the historic signing of the Peace Accords. PLA is currently providing AVP training to police in Guatemala City and other areas of that country.
In support of its national and international activities, FPT has a two-person part-time staff consisting of Administrative Specialist John Kintree and Communications Specialist Hayley Hathaway, with its central office at 1001 Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 673104, (314) 588-1122. Current information on FPT services and activities can be found on its website, www.FriendsPeaceTeams.org, including how to volunteer for our national activities and international initiatives, make financial contributions, and otherwise support our work. It is important to note that FPT's total annual budget in fiscal year 2016 for domestic activities and international initiatives was $349,346 ($36,878 for domestic expenses and the remainder for international initiatives), which funding was almost entirely provided through contributions from Quaker meetings, churches, and individuals.
We will have a FPT display table at each BYM Annual Session. Please take information back to your Meetings and encourage discussions on our work. I encourage you to talk to Adrian, Barbara and me if you have questions about Friends Peace Teams, including how your meeting and members can become involved in its national and international services.
Bob Rhudy (Patapsco)
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The Work of the Initiatives
In April, 2011, the African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams (AGLI) Coordinator David Zarembka published a book, A Peace of Africa: Reflections on Life in the Great Lakes Region. At the end of the year, AGLI extended service volunteer published her book, Ending Cycles of Violence: Kenyan Quaker Peacemaking Response after the 2007 Election. In August, 2011 a successful International Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC) for facilitators was held in Burundi. Some of the ten people from the United States have started conducting HROC workshops in the United States, mostly with immigrants. In the Congo, the peace center bought a piece of land and is planning to build a community center/peace house for rape survivors. The Bududa Vocational Academy acquired seven lots in the middle of the town of Bududa, built the school buildings, and moved there for the new school year in February 2012. During the year AGLI had 6 extended service volunteers and nine workcampers in July 2011 including three from Botswana. An AVP program was launched in Kenya with 42 newly training youth facilitators who have conducted basic AVP workshops for 1600 youth in a volatile area of western Kenya.
Friends Peace Teams expanded from Indonesia to Asia West Pacific as John Michaelis from Australia joined Nadine Hoover from the U.S. as co-coordinators and Nick and Sarah Rozard are supporting Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops in Singapore and Malaysia. If support expands, we hope to respond to requests from Nepal and Korea to support AVP workshops there. East Aceh, Langsa and Tamiang are working together to conduct regular Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP-HTK in Indonesia) workshops to strengthen the practice of the core team of facilitators; they started a blog: htkaceh.blogspot.com. Practicing AVP cooperative agreements promotes being good parents, teachers and family and community members through a couple dozen schools as well as communities. The thousands of people driven out of Aceh during the war (1999-2000) sought new forms of power when they were attacked and intimidated by over 1,300 forest rangers, police and military personnel. Friends Peace Teams helped them report the incident to the U.N. and Amnesty International. Then we delivered hand-sewn dolls to children and teachers. Although workshop participants are limited to 24, women have begun to travel more freely and one workshop 230 women showed up, so we made 23 circles of 10 people each and proceeded. In Java, we opened a joint Christian-Muslim training center for nonviolence, healing and developmental play and began working with Indonesia Yearly Meeting. Peter Watson from Aotearoa/New Zealand works with wood workers in Central Java to make developmental toys and Nicholas Rozard works with potters in Yogyakarta to make water filters. We built microbiology and ceramics labs to support the Indonesians to learn to make, test and produce water filters on their own.
Last October, Peacebuilding en las Americas (PLA) sponsored 20 of 30 Latin American attenders at the very successful Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) International Gathering. Nearly 100 AVPers from 22 countries attended, and it was the first fully bilingual English-Spanish Gathering. PLA hired a young couple, Manuel and Viviana Garcia Avila, to coordinate AVP in Colombia where there are three regional groups (in Barranquilla, Monteria, and Palmira, near Cali) that receive funding for over 50 workshops annually. Another 2 regions are developing (Medellin and Barrancabermeja). In El Salvador, an extended service volunteer, Margaret Lechner, is working with young people in villages around Suchitoto, and a Salvadoran Friend, Salomon Medina has organized a second workshop with Quakers near San Salvador. In Guatemala, our full time volunteer Saskia Schuitemaker has widened contacts with groups in several regions of the country, and started work in slum areas of the capital. In Honduras, our partner group, Tejedoras de Sueños, did 11 workshops last year and has started the 12 that are planned there this year. In Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras, the work includes Community Based Trauma Healing workshops, and Val Liveoak will offer at least 4 of these workshops in the US and 2-3 in Bolivia and Ecuador this year.
FPT’s US Office
This year the FPT office staff has had challenges in keeping up with the administrative and accounting requirements that support the work of our Initiatives. A second part-time staff member was hired and this year we had our first official audit of accounts. We published 2 issues of PeaceWays newsletter and the current issue is available at the FPT table. In addition to keeping up with the volume of work, raising enough funding to support the accounting and reporting about the work in the field has been difficult. We would like to ask that all Friends Meetings add FPT core budget to their annual gifts to Quaker organizations. FPT and the Initiatives mobilize a great amount of volunteer work in the US and internationally, and donations that support the necessary infrastructure are vital to continuing it.