Have you ever wondered how to say “good morning” in Bisaya, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Nepali, Tagalog, and English? Well, one way to learn is to attend the Asia and West-Pacific section meeting of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) and QUNO New York’s Director, Sarah Clarke, had the opportunity to do just that. Every morning, Sarah would get to practice her newly learned greetings during a multi-day gathering that took place in the latter half of October in Hong Kong, with Quakers from Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Nepal, India, the Philippines, Australia, and Aotearoa New Zealand.
During the four-day meeting, Friends from across Asia and the West-Pacific came together and learned more about Quaker practices in this vast and diverse region of the world. They also shared deep concern about a variety of topics on the United Nations (UN) agenda, including challenges related to climate change, food security, the inclusion of young people, and conflicts in the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula, and Myanmar. Furthermore, participants raised concern about the impact that current geo-political tensions have on the UN and discussed the importance of making linkages between high-level diplomatic work in New York and Geneva and community-level efforts taking place throughout the Asia and West-Pacific regions.
Members of Friends Peace Teams also joined the gathering, offering the opportunity for important connections between community-level and international-level Quaker work. Meeting participants also had the opportunity to learn about preparations for the World Gathering of Quakers that will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2024.
QUNO looks forward to staying in touch with Friends from this gathering, and other FWCC sections, as we continue to lift up concerns and insights coming from Quaker communities in our work at the UN.