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News Release - Quakers consider human rights, earth and economics

17 May 2012

Around a thousand Quakers will be London next week for their Yearly Meeting to discern the way forward for Quakers in Britain. This Yearly Meeting (25-28 May) at Friends House in London, will include discussion on economic justice and what it means to be a Quaker.

Sessions on Earth and Economics will follow up the major commitment Quakers made last year to become a low-carbon, sustainable community. Young people will present their responses and impressions of the kind of future Quaker actions might secure.

The young people will contribute to the final epistle or message from the gathering. Activities will challenge them to think how they live as Quakers in the world. They include 44 under 12 year olds. The Young People’s Programme, for 31 aged 12 to 15, will stay at Felden Lodge in Hemel Hampstead; and 75 will be at Lee Valley Youth Hostel for Junior Yearly Meeting for 15 to 18 year olds. Sixteen young people were part of the planning process.

As well as Yearly Meeting business and a marketplace of Quaker activities, there are lectures:

Friday 25 May 4pm Quaker Socialist Society, Salter Lecture will be given by Danny Dorling, Professor of Human Geography, on social inequality in the UK and its causes.

Saturday 26 May 7.30pm Swarthmore Lecture 2012, Snakes and Ladders, will be given by Quaker human rights lawyer, Rachel Brett, of Quaker United Nations Office. She will speak on Quaker work on human rights at the United Nations, work which has brought real change for many, including conscientious objectors and women in prison and to outlaw the use of child soldiers.

The Swarthmore Lectureship, established in 1907, is under the care of Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre trustees. The lectureship provides for both the publication of a book and for the delivery of a public lecture.



Accredited Journalists may attend Yearly Meeting. To seek accreditation email Broadcast journalists please note that filming and recording is possible only outside of sessions. Documents are available online at including formats for iPad, Kindle and Android.

See the Press pack [Word: 70kb - new window]


  • To interview Rachel Brett, contact Anne van Staveren 020 7663 1048
  • Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends.
  • Around 23,000 people attend nearly 475 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.
  • The Quakers United Nations Office works at the UN in Geneva and New York to address Quaker concerns at an international level. QUNO has “general consultative status” with the UN, enabling it to make formal representations to UN institutions on a range of issues. Staffing of QUNO Geneva is largely funded by Quakers in Britain.
  • Review copies of the book accompanying the Swarthmore Lecture will be available from Snakes and Ladders: A personal exploration of Quaker work on Human Rights at the United Nations price £8.00 ISBN 9781907123269, published by Quaker books.