Education for Peace
Education for peace aims to empower individuals to handle violence in themselves and others, and to help them to build peace wherever they can.
Quakers have always been committed to education. They believed from the outset that it could nurture ‘that of God’ in everyone. There are Quaker schools on all continents, and some universities/colleges too. All aspire to a Quaker ethos, and all welcome Quakers and non-Quakers.
Education for Adults: Quaker Centres and Friends Universities
There are two Quaker centres - Woodbrooke, in Birmingham, UK and Pendle Hill, in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, US. Both run rich programmes of courses and retreats, and both host conferences and other events. Woodbrooke was founded in 1903, and Pendle Hill in 1930. There are several universities founded by Friends, nearly all in the US, and Quakers have been instrumental in establishing Peace Studies departments in UK and US universities.
Education: Funding, Governance and the Quaker Ethos
Most Friends schools and other Quaker educational institutions were initially funded and governed by Quakers. In more recent times, many have received funding from other sources, public and/or private, so that other stakeholders besides Friends participate in governance. However all continue to aspire to a Quaker ethos of mutual respect, care for others, equality, truthfulness and peaceful resolutions to conflict.
Quaker Schools/Friends Schools
Quakers have always valued education, and there are Friends schools in many countries. Most were originally for Quaker children, but are now open to all. Most still have a Quaker element in their governance, and retain an explicit Quaker ethos.
Rights of the Child
Children were seen from the outset as having ‘something of God’ within them, which should be respected and nurtured. They are entitled to education and to be heard, and to freedom from exploitation and ill treatment in the workplace and the home.
Testimonies and Education
Quaker testimonies to equality, truth and integrity, community and peace have a profound influence on Quaker approaches to education. They affect what is taught and how it is taught, and they affect the ways in which all involved interact with each other.
Adam Curle (1916-2006) was a British academic and Quaker peace activist. Over a period of almost forty years, he undertook international mediation of conflicts in India/Pakistan, Nigeria/Biafra, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Croatia. In 2000, he was the recipient of the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award.
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
AFSC was founded in 1917. It works with many partners, in the US and around the world, on peace building and issues of economic, social and criminal justice. AFSC received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, jointly with its British counterpart.
(1713-1784) was an educational reformer and committed teacher who did much for the beginning of free education for African Americans. He argued strongly against slavery, and for racial equality.
Barns Hostel School
The school was opened in 1940, near Peebles in Scotland. It was a residential school for boys who had been evacuated from large cities and sent to safer places. Most evacuees were billeted with families, but this was too difficult in some cases. Scottish Friends established Barns to cater for these children.
Brummana School, Lebanon
Brummana High school was founded in 1873. It pioneered a unique multi-faith co-educational approach in Lebanon adapting the English Quaker boarding school model. The curriculum is international. Students work in the community, and support charities. The school motto is "I Serve", and many alumni testify to its enduring effect on their lives.
(1761-1818) was a pioneering American physician and medical educator, and an early advocate of vaccination. He belonged to the Pennsylvania Prison Society, the Humane Society, and the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, becoming its President in 1713.
David Wills ‘(1903 – 1981) lifelong focus was young people who were troublesome to others, or to themselves, or both. He played a key part in several experimental therapeutic communities, and wrote a number of books describing his experiences and his developing ideas.
Education in Africa
Kenya has over 200 Quaker secondary schools, and about 1000 primary ones. The first schools were founded early in the twentieth century. More recently several schools have been established in Rwanda and Burundi, and there is an education/rural development centre in Zimbabwe.
Education in Asia-West Pacific
There are individual Quaker schools in Tokyo (Japan), Hobart (Australia), Maya Pradesh (India) and a first school in the Philippines. There is also a rural development centre in India.
Education in Europe and the Middle East
There are 7 Quaker secondary schools in Britain, and 2 in Ireland. In the Middle East there are Quaker schools in Brummana (Lebanon) and Ramallah, in the West Bank. There is one Quaker study centre, in the UK.
Education in the Americas
There are about 85 Quaker schools in the USA, and about 20 universities with Quaker affiliations. The schools are supported by the Friends Council in education. There are individual schools in Jamaica, Costa Rica, Honduras and Belize, and several schools have recently been established in Bolivia.
Elizabeth Mary Cadbury
(1858 – 1951) was a committed adult educator. She was central to the development of education in Bournville and Birmingham. She was active in other issues too, notably disarmament and the League of Nations.
Friends Council on Education (FCE)
FCE provides Friends schools in the U.S. (and international affiliates) with leadership and support on Quaker matters. It aims to foster the Quaker ethos of Friends schools, and to maintain and enrich their relationships with the wider community of Friends. FCE serves as a voice for Friends education on national matters.
Friends International Bilingual Center (FIBC), Bolivia
FBIC was established in January 2016 by a group of Young Adult Friends in Bolivia. Its mission is to sustain and develop Quaker educational work in the light of all the needs they see in the Bolivian Quaker community and in Bolivian society. They offer a varied educational programme for children, teenagers and adults of all ages
Friends Rural Centre, Rasulia, India
Friends Rural Centre in Rasulia, Madhya Pradesh, India, has been a centre for rural development for over a hundred years. It was established as a missionary site by the Friends Foreign Mission Association in 1875. It developed as an orphanage following severe famines, then became a centre for study and meditation, before finally becoming a centre of a network of rural development programmes, sharing knowledge of sustainable farming methods.
Friends School Ramallah
The school founded by the Friends in Ramallah in 1889 has played an important role in Palestinian education for over 120 years. Nowadays only a few students are Quakers but the life of the school is firmly based on Quaker principles.
Friends Schools in Kenya from 1902 to independence in 1963
Missionary Friends from North America came to Kenya in 1902 and soon offered education to boys and girls alike. At first, this focused on reading the Bible, but later became much broader. Many Kenyans became teachers alongside the missionaries, and at independence in 1963 Kenyan Friends took over educational leadership.
Friends Schools in Kenya from independence in 1963 to the present day
At Kenyan independence in 1963, Friends mission schools became part of the state system, though Quakers still have an important role. Many new Friends schools have grown up. A rich discussion is developing between them, focusing on the Quaker ethos and teaching quality. The new Quaker Education Council has been set up to progress this
(1839 - 1922) built Cadburys into a large and successful concern, in partnership with his brother Richard, and created Bournville village, a 'factory in a garden'. He was also a philanthropist and social reformer.
George Fox (1624 - 91), began the Quaker movement soon after the turbulence of the English Civil War. He came to believe that everyone could encounter God directly, so priests were not needed. He spread these ideas with much success, at home and abroad, despite several imprisonments.
Glebe House: Friends Therapeutic Community Trust
Glebe House in Cambridgeshire does internationally renowned specialist work with teenage males with sexual issues, often victims and/or offenders. Through a two to three year resident programme, many go on to become active and productive members of society. It was founded by East Anglian Quakers in the 1960s, and the trustees are Quakers to this day.
Grindstone Island: Quaker Peace Education Centre
From 1963 to 1976, Canadian Friends Service Committee operated a Peace Education Centre on Grindstone Island, on Big Rideau Lake, south of Ottawa. The aim was to explore how nonviolence could be practised in hostile, threatening situations.
Hlekweni Rural Training Centre
Hlekweni was the Quaker founded rural training centre in Zimbabwe, run by Zimbabweans, under the auspices of Southern Africa Yearly Meeting and supported by Quakers around the world. It opened in 1967 and closed in 2014.
Interaction with Tsarist Russia
(1698 - 1919) Several Quakers met Russian Tsars and their diplomats, and discussed many topics. There were significant impacts on Russian education, agriculture and health. Towards the end of the period Friends’ focus was on relief - for victims of wars, for communities suffering famine, and for minorities suffering because of their beliefs.
Involvement in the Middle East
The Quaker presence in the Middle East goes back to the 1860s, when the first Quakers from Maine, USA arrived in Lebanon and Palestine. A community of Friends grew around the schools in Ramallah and Brummana. The community has lived through many changes of rulers in that time, but has always striven to be a beacon of hope for the future.
John Dalton (1766-1844) was a significant meteorologist. He also transformed chemistry with his realisation that atoms of different elements have different weights and that atoms combine in predictable ways. As a Quaker, he lived simply, but such were his achievements that his funeral procession was followed by 40 thousand people.
John Ford and the Natural History Society of Bootham School
18th and 19th Century Quakers interest in observing the natural world led to a flourishing of Quaker scientists, particularly in the fields of botany, meteorology and astronomy. In Britain, one important way in which this interest was fostered was through Bootham School’s Natural History Society.
Joseph Elder is an academic and lifelong Quaker peace activist with experience of mediating conflicts in Kashmir, Vietnam, Korea and Sri Lanka. He is currently professor of Sociology and Languages and Cultures of Asia at the University of Wisconsin, USA.
LEAP Confronting Conflict
LEAP confronts conflict in young adults through drama. Through taking a leap of creativity, a participant may leap into change. The Quaker community arts group, the Leaveners, began it in 1987, working on theatre projects. Since 1999 it has been an independent charity and the scope of its work has diversified.
The life and work of Margery Fry illustrates Quaker faith in action with clear impact. She brought together many strands of concern for offenders, victims and communities, seeking to join together in meeting needs and restoring equilibrium.
Peace Curricula in Kenya
Kenyan Friends’ first peace education manual, ‘Mulembe’, was produced in 2000. It was primarily intended for church leaders. In 2009, work began on a peace curriculum for secondary schools, with implementation in Friends schools beginning in 2011. A primary school peace curriculum is also under development.
Pendle Hill was founded in 1931 and is based in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. It enables study of Quakerism and related topics. It offers a varied programme of courses and retreats and also opportunities for private study.
(1751-1832) was an early Quaker feminist and philanthropist. She established one of England's first savings banks, and wrote many books for young people on scientific subjects, as well as a significant book on feminist economics.
Publishers and Writers
William Curtis founded the Botanical Magazine in 1787. The magazine is still published today. James Maddock produced the first directory of florists' flowers. Priscilla Wakefield wrote very successful books about botany for children.
QSA – English Language Training in Cambodia
QSA's biggest project to date has been the Cambodian English Language Training (CELT) Program. In 1985, they began working with the Ministry of Education in Phnom Pehn to provide English language training to government officials and to improve secondary school teachers' language abilities. The project was managed by QSA until 1993, during which class intakes grew from 15 to almost 150. The project was then handed over to Australia’s International Development programme, who continued to fund it until 1996.
Quaker Schools in Rwanda
Quakerism came to Rwanda in 1986, just 8 years before the genocide. Quakers and their schools are playing a crucial role in rebuilding Rwanda. There are 4 secondary schools, 5 primary schools, and 4 nursery schools, with about 6500 students between them. The students and teachers come from all ethnic and religious backgrounds and learn to live and work together.
Quakers in Bolivia
Over 8% of the world’s Quakers live in Bolivia, making it the world’s third largest Quaker population after the USA and Kenya. The majority of Bolivian Quakers are indigenous Aymara people living on the Altiplano – small villages in the Andes over twelve thousand feet above sea level. Most belong to the Holiness Mission Evangelical Friends Church.
Quakers in China
Friends first went to China to trade in the 1700s. From the 1880s Quaker missionaries were involved in schools, hospitals and a university. During the war with Japan, Friends undertook significant relief work. Few Chinese ever became Quakers, but their service was valued. Foreigners all left in 1951, and links today are mainly through visits and exchanges.
Quakers in Madagascar
Quaker missionaries, mostly from Britain, served in Madagascar for a hundred years. They founded, and worked in, schools and hospitals, during a period of great change for the country. Malagasy Friends today are part of a wider Protestant church, and Quakers from elsewhere support their work financially and as volunteers.
Restorative Practice in Schools
In the early 2000’s the use of Restorative Justice as a way of addressing youth crime began to attract the interest of some educationalists. Both youth justice professionals and the police encouraged this interest, as a way of reducing the use of exclusion. They were motivated by research showing the high correlation between youth street crime and youngsters out of school.
Rufus Jones (1863-1948) was a highly influential American Quaker academic. For many years he was professor of psychology and philosophy at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. He was one of the founders of the American Friends Service Committee. His influence enabled the two divisions of American Quakerism, which split in the mid 19th Century, to reunite after his death.
SEEDS, a non-profit venture in Kenya
SEEDS is designed to generate income to support education in Quaker schools. Planning began in 2009, and corn is now being grown on 100 acres in Western Kenya. The first harvest was in September 2011.
Silvanus Phillips Thompson (1851-1916) was an electrical engineer, professor of physics, and a gifted communicator of scientific ideas. Like other Quaker scientists before and since, he drew parallels between the quests for truth in his science and in his faith.
The Holy Experiment, in Pennsylvania
The "Holy Experiment" is how William Penn described his plans for Pennsylvania, which he founded in 1682. Penn planned to put all his Quaker principles into practice here, something that it was impossible to achieve in England at the time. Everyone would be able to live as they wished within the law, and worship as they chose.
US Universities With Quaker Origins
There are fifteen colleges/universities in the States with Quaker origins. All but two of them began in order to provide higher education in a Quaker environment, often for Quaker students only. They have evolved into a diverse set of institutions, open to students from all backgrounds, but some Quaker influence can still be seen. The two others were open to all from the outset.
Whanganui Quaker Settlement
From 1920 to 1968, Quakers in Aetoroa /New Zealand ran a co-educational boarding school in Whanganui. In 1976, the Quaker Settlement at Whanganui (known locally as Quaker Acres) was established at a site near the former boarding school. This is a permanent community, set in 20 acres of farmland. It is currently home to 23 settlers, ranging in age from pre-schoolers to over 70s. Its centre provides residential seminars that are open to all.
(1770-1843) became an eminent pharmacist. A generous philanthropist and activist, he supported many causes - anti-slavery, poverty, emergency relief, and education. He travelled widely in Europe and Russia, in connection with these.
Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre was founded in 1903, and is based in Birmingham, UK. It offers many opportunities for the study of Quakerism through courses, retreats, private study, and a postgraduate programme. Many groups, Quaker and non-Quaker, hire its peaceful facilities for meetings and events.