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News relating to our work is also published in an occasional newsletter and shared through our Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as reflections from the NFPB Co-ordinator on the Peace Peaces blog

Call to Action on military spending

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In the week that the Government “has revealed how it intends to spend £160bn over the next decade on new weapons systems, including a fleet of Trident nuclear missile submarines, two large aircraft carriers, helicopters, armoured vehicles, and unmanned drones.” [Guardian report ], Northern Friends Peace Board signed up to a Call to Action on military spending. This is in the build-up to the Global Day of Action on Military Spending on 15th April.

NFPB marks centenary

Minutes of the meeting that set up Northern Friends Peace Board

Northern Friends Peace Board was set up after a Peace Conference of Quakers in the North. The first of a number of activities and events will take place this Saturday at Manchester Meeting House, when past and present NFPB members, employees and supporters will gather to celebrate the longevity of the organisation and its activities. They will also hear about the resources that are being prepared for Quakers and others, with a new booklet and display being launched on the day.

NFPB Centenary Gathering

NFPB at the demonstration in London on 15 February 2003 against war in Iraq

The first of the events arranged to mark the centenary of Northern Friends Peace Board will be a special but informal afternoon at Manchester Meeting House, on 2nd February, from 2.00 to 5.00pm.

Inspiration and energy

NFPB members met for their last meeting of the year (and of the first 99 years of this Quaker committee) in Liverpool at the end of November. Members from all parts of the North shared in worship, in telling one another about current peace concerns and activities in their area and reflecting in more depth on a number of issues.

Centenary calendars now available

NFPB calendars

The first of our centenary activities comes ahead of the year of the centenary itself. We have had calendars printed for 2013, using posters from different parts of NFPB’s long history. With one calendar for each month, this is just a small selection of the several hundred stored in our archives. It was difficult to choose which would be most appropriate. Some of the posters – including those not in the calendar – feature in the special Quaker Week issue of The Friend.

‘Defence Alternatives: Human Security and the Small Nation Contribution’

Cathy Holman attended this ‘Scotland’s For Peace’ event on behalf of NFPB. It was held in the Scottish parliament building in March. She reports:

The meeting was organised to “rethink what ‘Defence’ policy should be about and to shift from aggressive expeditionary military action and nuclear weapons to a Human Security policy” and then to consider what this would mean for Scotland if they were an independent nation.

Talking of Peace

Quakers in York have arranged a series of free talks, to take place on Tuesday evenings during October. The venue will be Bootham School (the Main Hall), one of the two Quaker schools in the city. The first talk will be given by Haleh Afshar on ‘Iran: problems and possibilities’. Haleh Asfhar is a politics professor at the University of York, amongst her wide range of other roles and expertise.

Curiosity and conversation

Justine Huxley in her workshop

At our most recent event, taking place in Manchester in July, more than 40 people came together to learn more about dialogue, each having the chance to be part of two different workshops.Much of the potential of dialogue in society has still to be realised, concluded a report from Lisa Cumming and Ute Kelly from Bradford’s department for Peace Studies in 2010 .

Talking Together - Dialogue Skills for a Peaceful Society

The next major event we have coming up is a first-time collaboration with two innovative projects that promote different approaches to dialogue and building better understanding amongst diverse groups and individuals. Called ‘Talking Together’ and taking place in central Manchester (at Cross Street Unitarian Chapel) the event will consist of two workshops, with each participant joining in each workshop either in the morning or the afternoon.

Armed Forces Day, the military and schools

On 30th June this year’s Armed Forces Day (AFD) takes place. The website for the day (http://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/) states that its purpose is to raise awareness of what is done by members of the armed forces and to show our support. It also encourages people to hold picnics … “there is no better way to celebrate the Armed Forces than a get together with family and friends.” and to buy “AFD goodies” of various sorts in the theme of red, white and blue.

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