Annual Conference

FAHE announces the schedule for this year’s conference at our member institutions Swarthmore College and Pendle Hill. Read descriptions of all the conference sessions here.

Our proceedings get underway on Thursday! We will consider the theme “Truth and Inspiration” and other topics of interest to Friends and educators through presentations, panel discussions, and four plenary speakers: Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee; Maurice Eldridge, Vice Chair, The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts and Pendle Hill board member;  Frances Rose Blase, Provost of Haverford College, and Jon Watts, producer of the video series Quaker Speak, sponsored by Friends Journal.

The conference also offers a disciplinary theme, as we prepare the seventh volume in our “Quakers and the Disciplines” book series. Sessions will address the theme of Quakers, Social Work and Justice Concerns.

On Thursday evening at Pendle Hill, Joyce Ajlouny will speak on “Looking Inward with Courage: Quaker Organizations Parading Peace & Justice.” She notes, “We advocate it in our literature, we highlight it in our courses, we advocate for it in our lectures and in mentoring of our students, and we promote it in our service work and social justice programming. Beyond that, how courageous should Quaker organizations be when demonstrating peace and justice practices, policies and principles internally?”

Speaking on Friday evening, Maurice Eldridge shares “I Must Always Walk in the Light.” It’s a line from the song “I’m going to live the life I sing about in my song,” written by Tommy Dorsey and recorded by Mahalia Jackson. “It’s a wonderful spiritual piece that has always moved and inspired me,” Maurice explains. “The title has become a mantra for me and for my belief that modeling is an essential tool of teaching, of being an educator. My talk will trace the path through my life and career that I hope will reflect the role of inspiration and truth in our profession.”

Frances Rose Blase will speak on Saturday afternoon, discussing the process Haverford College engaged in recently, to discern whether or not to accept academic grants from the U.S. Department of Defense.

On Saturday evening, Jon Watts will talk about how he creates Quaker Speak, the video series he produces for Friends Journal. Each video features interviews and thoughts of Friends on different aspects of Quakerism. We’ll screen a few installments.

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40th Annual Meeting of the Friends Association for Higher Education
June 13-16, 2019
Swarthmore College and Pendle Hill
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Conference Theme: Truth and Inspiration

The Friends Association for Higher Education (FAHE) was conceived in 1979 by a group of educators seeking to bring together faculty, staff and administrators at historically Quaker colleges and universities, as well as Friends teaching at other institutions. Since its founding, FAHE has met annually at Friends institutions of higher education around the US and beyond, engaging educators and scholars in ongoing dialogue around Quaker concerns in higher education. From the very beginning, Friends have embraced a strong commitment to education, and Friends schools and colleges have attracted and welcomed both Quaker and non-Quaker educators alike who resonate with the historic Friends commitment to educating the whole person, guided by the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and (especially in recent decades) sustainability.

This summer, from June 13-16, 2019, FAHE will hold its annual conference at Swarthmore College and Pendle Hill, near Philadelphia. As a tool for seeking truth as part of corporate discernment and decision-making, Quakers offer queries to provide focus, direction, and inspiration:

• What are truth and truth-seeking, and how would you define these in your discipline and work?

• In an era where truth is under constant assault, how do we navigate, in and outside the classroom, the dangers posed by lying, information suppression, misrepresentation, and conspiracy theories?

• How do we navigate between apparently conflicting truths, values or stories?

• How has your campus responded to, or been involved in, the free speech controversies that have engulfed campuses around the country?

• In the face of growing threats to human and civil rights, a global environmental crisis, mindless consumption, and opioid addiction, what does it mean to speak truth to power?

• In an era of lies, deception, and abuse of power, how do we prevent ourselves and our students from succumbing to cynicism, hopelessness and despair?

• How do we inspire curiosity, wonder, awe, and a love of learning in our work with students in and outside the classroom?

• What values do we seek to honor in our work as educators and scholars, and what is the basis for these values?

• Wherein do you find inspiration, meaning, or truth?


The conference also offers a publication opportunity: FAHE’s Quakers and the Disciplines book series

Presenters can propose a presentation topic on the theme of the upcoming seventh volume, Quakers, Social Work, and Justice Concerns. Conference presentations provide an opportunity to draft an article for inclusion in the volume. Editors Max Carter, Daniel Rhodes, Jennifer Buck, and Erin Johnson offer some ideas for topics:

+ Early Friends and social concerns
+ Concerns for the poor (John Bellers, John Woolman)
+ Concerns for the imprisoned (Elizabeth Fry, etc.)
+ Early concerns regarding slavery (George Keith, Germantown Friends, etc.)
+ Concerns for the mentally ill (the Tukes, Philadelphia Hospital, etc.)
+ Pennsylvania—the “Holy Experiment” as a haven for conscientious refugees
+ Quakers and the abolition of slavery
+ Women’s rights and suffrage
+ Temperance and domestic concerns
+ Reconciliation and peace work
+ Reconstruction and post-war relief work
+ Jane Addams: innovator in the field of social work
+ The AFSC and Quaker Peace & Service
+ Quakers and the United Nations
+ Quaker missions and social concerns
+ Quakers and Gandhi and King
+ Quakers, Ramallah and Palestine