Friends on the Move

Since our last edition of Quaker Concern two new staff people have joined our small but vibrant team!

Kerry Grier, CFSC’s new Peace Program Coordinator, has practiced human rights law in Zimbabwe and been instrumental in founding and leading multiple nonprofits focused on human rights and healthcare.

Jeremy Vander Hoek joined CFSC in the role of Assistant, CFSC Events and Indigenous Rights. He is a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo with an MA in Global Governance. His research paper focused on the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Matt Legge has moved into the role of Communications Coordinator. He continues to facilitate workshops using content from CFSC’s book Are We Done Fighting? and gives talks about the book and conflict transformation. In March he again spoke via Zoom to a first year class at Furman College (South Carolina) to answer questions about the book.

In January CFSC staff Jennifer Preston and associate member Paul Joffe were invited to present virtually at the Wet’suwet’en Peace and Unity Gathering.

February saw Jennifer virtually attend the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ meeting on the militarization of Indigenous land. She also Zoomed into the Indigenous Awareness Group at Christie Gardens (Toronto) to discuss the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and implementation of the new federal legislation.

In March Jennifer moderated a panel at the National Conference on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to look at the SDGs and Indigenous rights. She spoke on this topic again at the end of the month at the Assembly of First Nations’ Special Chiefs Meeting. Both of those meetings led up to the UN Declaration and Sustainable Development: Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights and Ecological Knowledge a symposium that CFSC co-hosted in April at the University of British Columbia. Jennifer served as host for the symposium and she and Jeremy attended in person.

Jeremy says of the experience:

“When I found out I would be attending the symposium I was excited not only to learn about how the SDGs and Indigenous rights could work together, but also because it would give me my first opportunity to engage with CFSC work in person! The depth of wisdom and knowledge shared in the panels and presentations was an excellent education for me.

“I’m eager to learn more about the opportunities and challenges the SDGs pose to Indigenous rights implementation in Canada. Alongside this learning I was able to chat with lots of different people as I assisted videographer Ellen Gabriel in conducting interviews. Ellen’s interviewing skills allowed for deep engagement on the meaning of sustainability in community. Each of the experts Ellen interviewed expanded the meaning of sustainability in a way I hadn’t thought of before. Plus, meeting Jenn, Rachel, Ellen, Keira, and many other of our partners face to face in Vancouver was wonderful! I look forward to continuing this work in such a supportive and engaged community.”