Category Archives: Annual Conference

Call for Proposals: 2022 FAHE Conference

Call for Proposals: 2022 FAHE Annual Conference
43rd Annual Meeting of the Friends Association for Higher Education
June 14-17, 2022
Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion
Richmond, Indiana

Conference Theme: Quakers and Racial Justice

The Friends Association for Higher Education 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 coming summer, from June 14-17, 2022, FAHE will hold its annual conference at Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion, in Richmond Indiana. The FAHE Program Committee invites proposals from faculty, staff and administrators for presentations related to the conference theme of Quakers and Racial Justice, or other topics reflecting Quaker concerns in higher education. As a tool for seeking truth as part of corporate discernment and decision-making, Quakers offer queries to provide focus, direction, and inspiration. Queries to consider in envisioning and crafting proposals include:

How have we, as educators, incorporated, or might incorporate, racial justice more fully into the curricula and co-curricular life of our schools?

What can Black Quakers tell us about exemplary models of ministry toward others?

What should be done to make Friends meetings, schools, and other institutions more racially inclusive?

What contributions might FAHE members and attenders have to make to discussions around the need for reparations for past racial injustices?

What lessons have you or f/Friends of your acquaintance learned, in attending Racial Justice Protests, from the Civil Rights movements of the mid-twentieth century to the Black Lives Matter protests following the unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many, many others.

How have Quakers impacted racial justice efforts from the 17th century onwards?
(Papers may address the lives of Black Quakers, or Black friends of Friends, such as William Boen, Benjamin Banneker, Sarah Mapps Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Howard Thurman, Jean Toomer, Mahala Ashley Dickerson, Bayard Rustin, Barrington Dunbar, or Black Friends still living such as Harold D. Weaver Jr., Vanessa Julye, Dwight Wilson, Niyonu Spann.)

How should we encourage Friends in Africa and address the effects of policies of empire and race on Friends in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and other African countries?

What can we learn from the lives and witness of Quakers in any of these African countries?

How do Friends in Britain, other parts of Europe, the Middle East or Asia and the Pacific address (or how should they address) issues of racial justice?

Who were the Quaker slaveholders, enslavers? What can we learn from their lives?

Who were the people enslaved by Quakers? What can we learn from their lives?

What can we learn from White Quaker Anti-Slavery Activists, such as Benjamin Lay, John Woolman, Anthony Benezet, Warner Mifflin, Elizabeth Heyrick, Lucretia Mott? How did they model (or not) White Allyship?

What can we learn from the struggles to desegregate Quaker schools at all levels (colleges, secondary schools)?

What reflections do you have on the 1619 Project? On the current anti-racism movement?

How might we respond appropriately to the movements that abuse or use such terms as “Critical Race Theory”?

How have Quakers supported Voting Rights for all in the past? How might we do so in the present, and future?

What is your Quaker response to works of literature by Black authors and BIPOC authors, such as Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, or Colson Whitehead?

The FAHE Program Committee requests your submissions by January 24, 2022. In accordance with Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion campus policy, Covid-19 vaccination is mandatory for all campus visitors.

Please submit your proposal here:

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FAHE 2021 Conference Epistle

To Friends and colleagues everywhere:

After a one-year hiatus resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, Friends Association for Higher Education held its 41st conference June 7-11, 2021 over Zoom on “Peacemaking in the Liberal Arts.” We have been invigorated by plenary sessions with George Lakey (author of How We Win: A Guide to Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning and Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Diverse Learners) and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge (whose leadership has included terms as Deputy Minister of Defense and of Health for South Africa), 23 workshops, worship and other opportunities for community and emboldened with better understanding of the foundations and history of the Friends Peace Testimony and renewed commitment to supporting our student activists as campaigners for the loving community we seek.

It is natural, Lakey explained, to fear and be repelled by the rising polarization around us. Polarization is an inevitable consequence of the extreme economic inequality and racial injustice of our society. Just as a forge makes metal malleable, so polarization provides the heat that drives societal transformation — for good (as with the Nordic countries in the early 20th century) or ill (Nazi Germany and fascist Italy in the same era). Since today’s polarization is inevitable, we must prepare to engage with it.

Lakey’s plenary and other sessions — by providing us with a better understanding of historical peacemaking that emerges from close study of Quaker origins in the 17th century, case studies of Friends service committees in the 19th and 20th centuries, the 1960s Civil Rights campaign, and the dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa — gave us reasons for optimism.

Oppression and injustice cry out for forceful action and offend a loving God. But, the slave master’s tools cannot break the master’s chains. Successful transformation depends on vision (prophetic witness), inspired strategy and the health of the change community. It may well be that the key gift to us from early Friends is less the reality of our unmediated access to continuing revelation than the acknowledgement of the inner struggle to be faithful to the seed of God within.

Madlala-Routledge reminded us that the “search for Peace is always a collective effort. It starts with truth-telling, incorporates justice tinged with Mercy…and a lot of meeting with other fully-as-flawed human beings.” She gave us a careful accounting of the successes and continuing challenges of South Africa’s experience with Truth and Reconciliation.

We learned in this and other sessions that true dialogue requires the voice, attention to and acknowledgement of the other. Carefully tended dialogue transforms conflict, leading to reconciliation and forgiveness. There was even the suggestion that dialogue paradigms might be the key to ensuring that machine-based artificial-intelligence technologies serve humane needs rather than stunting what it means to be human.

When those administering or benefiting from oppression decline dialogue, we are called to other forms of nonviolent activism. George Lakey and others charged us as educators to support students in their growth as activists and politically engaged citizens. We learned that there is a place for many skills and roles in social movements: helpers, organizers, advocates and rebels. We learned of the ethical foundations and resulting efficacy of protest, noncooperation and nonviolent intervention in confronting injustice. We shared experiences and plans for specific programs on our campuses to promote global understanding, explore activist identities and promote Quaker leadership.

This year’s conference hosted a Campus Executives Panel with the highest participation yet of any of our conferences with six colleges represented. The discussion addressed stresses and challenges in a time of pandemic, with a valuable sharing of perspectives and experiences by all participating. We talked about the challenges of using Quaker decision-making processes on campuses where most of the community members are not from the Religious Society of Friends. Other topics included finding a balance of collaboration opened up by Zoom while people also experience Zoom fatigue; exploring the possibility of deeper relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as with Native Americans; recruiting Quaker faculty to the Quaker campuses as well as recruiting Quaker students; the challenge of maintaining integrity and continuity of tradition while dealing with marketplace forces; and perspectives on philanthropy. Because we met virtually, the campus executives were not able to share the traditional conversation with each other over a meal, but we hope that is remedied when we can meet again in-person.

In leaving our conference, we stand ready to share with Friends and our colleagues in higher education a renewed sense of what Quaker education can contribute to transformational peacemaking. For that reason, the vitality of our Quaker colleges and study centers remains a central concern of FAHE.

During FAHE’s annual meeting for business we accepted the invitation of Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion to gather in person in June 2022. Come join us in the continuation of this good work.

With hope for our future work together,

Stephen Potthoff and Donn Weinholtz, Co-Clerks
Friends Association for Higher Education

Epistle committee draft adopted June 11, 2021

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FAHE Conference Concluded

This year’s FAHE Conference, “Peacemaking and the Liberal Arts,” has now concluded. Many thanks to all who participated for such a wonderful and inspiring week! We have now posted the conference Epistle.

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FAHE Conference Schedule

Have you been thinking about signing up to attend the FAHE online conference, June 7-11, 2021, but wanted more information first? Now you can see the full schedule to help you decide! Some highlights include:

  • A plenary session on Tuesday night by George Lakey on Gandhi and Early Quakers, with a follow-up workshop on Wednesday
  • A plenary session Thursday morning by Nozizwe Routledge on lessons from the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Hearing Quaker college presidents and provosts talk about the challenges they have faced through the pandemic
  • A selection of presentations on Peacemaking and the Liberal Arts
  • Times to gather informally with other Quaker academics
  • Times for online Meetings for Worship, both programmed and unprogrammed

Please see the attached document for full details.

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