Table of Contents

Report to Australia Yearly Meeting January 2013

Yearly Meeting 2013, Share and Tell- Friends Peace Teams

A group of 12 Friends participated in a presentation about Friends Peace Teams and itsAsia West Pacific initiative. Founded originally in the USA, the FPT Asia West Pacific is one of three initiatives. The others are Peace-building in las Américas and African Great Lakes initiative (AGLI).

The essence of FPT is that it endeavours to establish long-term relationships with communities in a conflict around the world and to create programs for peace building, healing and reconciliation. It works with communities devastated by war, genocide, and natural disasters.

FPT is governed by a council with representatives from each of the unprogrammed Yearly Meetings in USA. An invitation has been issued to Australia Yearly Meeting to become the first non-US based yearly meeting to participate and we are invited to put forward the name of a Friend to serve on the FPT Council. FPT council meetings are monthly, by telephone conference call. There is also an optional annual face-to-face meeting

John Michaelis has been active in Indonesia and Nepal in the work of FPT. Rosemary Epps has been facilitating AVP workshops with women’s groups in Afghanistan and has been invited to initiate a new series of workshops under the auspices of FPT. Valerie Joy has had a mutual working relationship with FPT, through her years serving as AWPS Secretary and now has committed her involvement with FPT. Jasmine Payget and Chris Hughes are financial sustainers and prayer supporters.

Other Friends in Australia are interested to become involved in the FPT work by participating in monthly support group calls, providing prayer support, joining groups to visit the work of the initiatives and by financial support. Young Friends are encouraged to join a group this July to Indonesia, led by Sarah Rozzard.

John Michaelis reported on his field experience in Indonesia, working with Nadine Hoover, in Northern Sumatra and later in Nepal, working with FPT worker Subhash Kattel. Both of these areas have refugees from physical and political violence. FPT makes extensive use of AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project) workshops including the Trauma and Healing and Discernment AVP workshops.

The discernment workshops have been effective in building Quaker-like communities among and across people of other faiths including Muslims, Mennonites, Hindus and Buddhists. It has been wonderful to witness participants of other faiths meeting monthly, beginning their meetings in silence, sharing their leadings and concerns out of the silence, with silence between speakers so they can reflect on what was shared, and the guidance of the spirit. In the discernment workshops we break at the times of the Muslim calls to prayer and the devout Muslims don their white garments. After the prayer they remove them and re-join the workshop.

Additionally, FPT has actively sought to address human rights abuses among refugee communities, working with Amnesty International, UNESCO, UNHCR the UNESCO Heritage foundation in Paris, consuls from countries with a significant interest or stake in the region including Norway, Australia, UK and the USA. and with the Indonesian National Commission for Human Rights.

Nadine Hoover has been invited to Australia this March as the Silver Wattle Travelling Friend. She will present workshops in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne as well as the “Living Life Based on Discernment” at Silver Wattle, in conjunction with John Michaelis from March 13-16, 2013.

It is hoped that this further exposure to the work of Friends Peace Teams will fuel the interest of Friends in Australia to become involved in this work in our region.

 

Recommendation:

 

John Michaelis and Valerie Joy