QCEA: Castle or community?

QCEA organises biennial weekend conferences together with Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) of Britain Yearly Meeting. Our conferences are intended to stimulate discussion of European issues raised by our advocacy.

2015 Conference: Castle or community? Quakers’ role in building the new Europe.

This conference took place from the 4-6 December 2015 in Brussels. Click here to read a summary of the conference.

Friends from all over Europe gathered in Brussels to reflect on what kind of Europe we want and how we can work together to build it. We considered how Quaker values and processes can contribute to effective advocacy and how our witness informs our advocacy and affects European policy.

Scroll down to find articles, photos and videos from the 2015 conference

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Find more photos from the conference here.

Speakers: Rachel Bayani, Doris Peschke and Arne Springorum addressed the conference on the subject of “The Europe we would like to see.” Rachel is Baha’i representative to the EU, Doris is the secretary of the Churches’ Commission on Migration in Europe, and Arne is a member of Prague recgonised Quaker meeting. You can watch their talks below (Rachel from 8:45, Doris from 30:08 and Arne from 45.41, question and answer session from 1:00.32)

Molly Scott Cato is Green Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the South West of England and spokesperson for the Green party on economics and finance. She too addressed the issue of building the Europe we would like to see, touching on many issues from the refugee crisis, to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the arms trade and the growth of corporate power. You can watch her speech below (Molly speaks from 2:18, question and answer session from 31: 45)

Articles: Read an article on the conference in The Friend here (subscription required).

Read a report on the conference by a Polish Friend, in Polish, here (Język polski)

Castle or community?

Quakers role in building a new Europe From the 4‐6 December, 110 Friends from across Europe gathered for the Quaker Council for European Affairs / Quaker Peace and Social Witness conference to reflect on some fundamental questions; what is our vision for Europe? What needs to change in order to get there? And how can Quakers take action to translate our vision into reality? On Friday Friends arrived in Brussels to consider these questions, with many other issues and worries competing in our heads. On Sunday we parted energised and ready to act together to help build a new Europe.

The conference brought together Friends from worshipping communities in 23 different countries, to form one community. When we arrived, our ideas and questions about Europe were inevitably coloured by recent events; notably the murders in Paris and subsequent reactions, from the level four alert in Belgium and France’s “declaration of war” on Daesh, to the United Kingdom’s decision to launch air strikes in Syria and a heightened military presence across Europe. On the minds of many was the refugee crisis, which continues unabated despite lessening media interest, worsening weather and proliferating border fences. Further back, though perhaps dim in the memory, was the Greek economic crisis which played out between central European institutions and the Greek government.