Parker J. Palmer is a writer, speaker and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He is the founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal, which oversees long-term retreat programs for people in the serving professions. These programs—which have now served 80,000 people—are deeply rooted in Quaker principles and practices.
Parker was born and raised in the Chicago area. He attended Carleton College, Union Theological Seminary and the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a Ph.D. in sociology in 1969. From 1969-1974, he served as a community organizer in Washington, D.C. He was introduced to Quakerism at Pendle Hill, where he and his family took a one-year sabbatical, 1974-75. That year stretched into a decade when Parker was appointed Dean of Studies—a decade that, Parker says, changed his life. Since leaving Pendle Hill in 1985, he has worked independently as a traveling teacher, activist and writer. Parker lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and joined friends through the Berea (KY) Friends Meeting when he was a visiting professor at Berea College.
He is the author of nine books: Healing the Heart of Democracy, The Courage to Teach, A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, The Active Life, To Know As We Are Known, The Company of Strangers, The Promise of Paradox, and The Heart of Higher Education.
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