December 2023

Quaker Leadership in the Face of Global Challenges

How do Quaker organisations respond to global challenges and work for peace? This was a central question posed to four leaders from the Quaker world in a podcast recently released by Friends Journal. The podcast, Quakers in Conversation, shared insights from Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee; Bridget Moix, General Secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation; Oliver Robertson, Head of Witness and Worship with Quakers in Britain; and Sarah Clarke, United Nations Representative and Director of the Quaker UN Office.

In her interview, Sarah spoke about the unique work of Quakers at the UN, particularly how Quaker work often takes place over the long term, in collaboration with smaller countries, and on topics that may not make the headlines. She noted that while competition often prevents big powers from acting, “The UN is also the place where a tremendous diversity of Member States can come together and, sometimes, achieve amazing things”. Sarah pointed to the recent creation of the High Seas Treaty as an example of an instance where long-term leadership and engagement by smaller countries made all the difference.

In the interview, Sarah noted that Quaker principles and practices offer a unique approach at the UN in New York, bringing different parts of the UN together in a space that encourages listening. She noted that Quaker House offers a venue where dialogue between actors with different views can engage and learn from each other. As a result, transformation and change are possible.

You can listen to the full podcast here. The interview with Sarah begins at 24:56.

Related Areas of Work