Friends on the move

CFSC has been honoured to work consistently with international human rights lawyer, Paul Joffe (pictured on page 3), who has recently retired after 50 years at the bar. Paul’s extraordinary commitment to the UN Declaration and Indigenous peoples’ human rights is humbling. CFSC staff Jennifer Preston hosted a small retirement dinner for Paul in Montreal. Long-time CFSC partners joined to thank Paul for his incredible service! It has been our deep pleasure to partner with Paul and we wish him a happy retirement.

CFSC staffers Sandra Wiens and Jeremy Vander Hoek headed to Washington to visit our sister Quaker service organizations Friends Committee on National Legislation and American Friends Service Committee. While still in Washington, Sandra and Jeremy attended a Global Indigenous Peoples’ Peacebuilding Conference.

Jeremy went on to New York City where he was at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues together with CFSC’s Rachel Singleton Polster, Rachel Yordy, and CFSC partner Page Nandawab-Ikwe Chartrand, Anishinaabekwe, who is based in N’Swakmok.

CFSC also supported a University of British Columbia expert seminar for the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in February. The hybrid seminar had Jeremy and Rachel Singleton Polster there in person and Jennifer online. We provided assistance to the office of the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and the keynote was given by National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak.

CFSC welcomes new Transformative Justice Program Coordinator Karen Ridd. Readers of Quaker Concern will remember from our last issue that Nancy Russell has retired. Karen has stepped into this program coordinator role now and brings a wealth of experience to CFSC.

Karen holds an MA in Peace and Justice and is a mediator, facilitator, teacher, and public speaker with decades of experience in conflict resolution.

In the ’80s Karen worked as a human rights volunteer in war zones in Central America with Peace Brigades International. Her work there was recognized with multiple awards. She has also received awards as a teacher of Conflict Resolution Studies and International Development Studies at Canadian Mennonite University. She’s a sought after consultant on the effective use of participatory education in university classrooms.

Karen is a member of Walls to Bridges Collective (teaching university courses inside prisons and jails), and has experience with Alternatives to Violence Program, Circles of Support and Accountability, and Prison Book Clubs. She’s a member of Gesher/ Bridge/Gasr (dialogue and action on Israel and Palestine), and Peac-ing it Together (connecting social activists with conflict resolution practitioners and resources).