Friends Peace Teams was founded by Quakers from several Yearly meetings with the goal of making every Friends Meeting House and Church a center for peace-making. This work has formed “Initiatives” to offer opportunities for communities in conflict to create human and material resources to assist these communities to build peace. FPT is governed by a Council of Friends that meets annually, face to face, and monthly via telephone- bridge and voice-over-internet. The Council includes representatives of several Yearly Meetings in the United States and Australia, as well as appointed members-at-large. The administrative office is at St Louis Monthly Meetinghouse in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
The African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) was the first Initiative to become active. It began with a tour of Quaker communities in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania in 1999, by Friends from the USA, UK, Canada and South Africa. The goal was to establish personal relationships with people in that very violent region, and to learn of and support Friends initiatives for building local peace. Friends used a combination of locally developed techniques combined with ‘imported’ ideas such as the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP). AGLI has developed a network of programs throughout the region that nurture and learn from each other, frequently exchanging methodologies, such as Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) community trauma healing and interventions to stem election-based violence. David Zarembka was the founder of AGLI and served as its coordinator until stepping down in 2016. David Bucura currently serves as the AGLI coordinator.
Peacemaking en Las Américas (PLA) is the second FPT Initiative to have formed. Breathed to life largely by Friends in our southern USA tier, but now supported by Friends from all over the USA and abroad, PLA works with communities in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, and Bolivia. Our work there makes extensive use of AVP methods to reduce violence among individuals and groups, and has recently been using the AGLI-developed HROC community trauma healing programs. Val Liveoak was the principal energizer and coordinator of PLA. She still serves on the PLA working group. Mónica Maher is the current coordinator of PLA.
The Asia West Pacific Initiative (FPT-AWP) is our most recent Initiative. Initially called the Indonesia Initiative and developed over several years by Nadine Hoover and Alfred (NY) Friends Meeting, FPT-AWP was, for its first years, focused entirely on enabling communities to live peacefully in civil-war stricken provinces of Indonesia. This work has used AVP a great deal, and has now developed an Indonesian community trauma healing methodology. In addition, a program of pre-school programs for very young children has developed useful learning in some villages and a program to create locally produced clay-based water filters is underway. Since its origin in Indonesia, FPT-AWP has now grown to do regular work in Australia, Nepal, and the Philippines. Nadine Hoover continues to serve as the FPT- AWP coordinator.
Each of the Initiatives’ work is steered and overseen by a Working Group that meets in similar fashion to the FPT Council, that is, largely remotely with an annual all organization face to face meeting each Spring.