Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

Shared Security: A Quaker Vision for US Policy

Workshop Number: 
Jim Cason, Allisa Wilson
Who may register?: 
Open to All (adult & high school)
Experiential Activities: 
part time-attenders welcome
half gathering attenders welcome
First half (Monday-Wednesday)
Second half (Wednesday/Thursday-Friday)

AFSC and FCNL staff will engage Friends in discussions to further develop the Shared Security platform, a tool that can be used by Friends to articulate a more constructive and peaceful future approach for the US in the world.

Workshop Description

Policy professionals from AFSC and FCNL invite Friends to explore the vital role that our community can play in promoting a vision for more compassionate U.S. policies, building on their joint working paper, “Shared Security: Reimagining U.S. Foreign Policy”.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) have long advocated for concrete alternatives to the militarism that dominates U.S. foreign and domestic policy. From proposing creative conflict prevention strategies to advocating for cuts in Pentagon spending, Quaker organizations are at the forefront of a movement challenging the fear-based policy paradigm – and working to move toward loving relationship with the world.

Over decades of advocacy, FCNL and AFSC staff members have learned that one of the biggest obstacles to more compassionate policies is the widespread conviction that violent force keeps us safe. 

Quakers have a special role to play in challenging this belief and proposing an alternative that is both visionary and pragmatic, rooted in our values and tested in the reality of Friends’ breadth of experience in global and community affairs. From the challenges of climate change and food security to economic inequality and regulatory policies, the problems of the coming decades cannot be solved by an “us vs. them” approach or a chess game of opposing national interests.  A secure future for any of us depends on the well-being of people all over the world.

In 2012, AFSC’s Aura Kanegis and FCNL’s Bridget Moix launched a joint initiative to articulate a contemporary, Quaker values-based vision for a more constructive and effective U.S. foreign policy.  A 2013 consultation at Pendle Hill with a diverse spectrum of Quakers experienced in aspects of foreign policy further seasoned these ideas, and a working paper of AFSC and FCNL entitled, “Shared Security: Reimagining U.S. Foreign Policy” was published later that year.  Further efforts have yielded thinking on region and conflict-specific approaches to shared security, as well as exploration of domestic policy issues through a lens of shared security, breaking down the false choice between human rights and security.  Dozens of Quaker meetings and churches across the country have held discussion sessions about Shared Security, and we are hearing exciting feedback from these discussions.

This five-day workshop is an opportunity for in depth conversation about what Friends can do to bring about a world of shared security, away from fear, toward love. Guest speakers will help to expand our thinking and inspire action.  The workshop will provide a venue for in-depth conversation on the core principles of the Shared Security vision:

1) Peaceful Ends through Peaceful Means

2) The Planetary Imperative

3) Global Cooperation and Rule of Law
4) Restorative Approaches to Heal a Broken World.

We will invite ourselves to dream big about what this could mean for our future, and brainstorm compelling new ideas for sharing the concept both within Quaker circles and with the wider world: through educational institutions, social media, and more. 

Participants are encouraged to read the Shared Security document and blog: They should arrive with questions and comments.

Leader Experience

Workshop leadership will be provided by AFSC and FCNL staff:

Alissa Wilson (AFSC): Alissa S. Wilson is Public Education and Advocacy Coordinator for Africa at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), where she brings the lessons learned from AFSC’s work in Africa to the Washington DC policy community and liaises with the Quaker United Nations Office.    Before this position, she spent two years with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), in South Sudan, where she created and managed a community organizing program implemented in all 10 states. Alissa’s background also includes serving as the AFSC Policy Associate for Peace and Security, Researcher in Ethics at Tufts University, Jane Addams–Andrew Carnegie Fellow at the Center on Philanthropy at IU and an AmeriCorps member.  Alissa is co-author of Practical Idealists: Changing the World and Getting Paid.  She holds a BA from Amherst College in Political Science and a MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Patricia DeBoer (AFSC) :Patricia DeBoer serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives within the Integration and Impact Unit of the American Friends Service Committee.  She was previously the AFSC Asia Regional Director [2006-2013] and Cambodia Country Representative [2001-2007].    Before joining AFSC, Patricia worked for five years  with the United Nations Development Programme in the Lao PDR on Governance, Environment  and Women’s programs.   She has a masters degree in international education and has worked as a junior high teacher in Japan and as a political organizer and lobbyist in the United States.

Raed Jarrar (AFSC): Raed Jarrar serves as a Policy Impact Coordinator for AFSC, covering issues related to Asia, the Middle East, and economic justice domestically and globally.  Raed is an Arab-American political advocate, media analyst, and architect who since immigrating to the U.S. in 2005 has worked on political and cultural issues related to US foreign policy. Raed has testified in numerous Congressional hearings and briefings, and has extensive experience in leading advocacy campaigns. He often appears as a commentator on English and Arabic media outlets.

Jim Cason (FCNL), Associate Executive Secretary for Strategic Advocacy

Olivia Henry (FCNL), Program Assistant, Strategic Advocacy