News of Friends September 2013


Arthur M. Larrabee

After seven and a half years of serving as general secretary of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Arthur M. Larrabee will retire from the position on September 1, 2014. Larrabee announced his retirement in a letter to the community on March 1, 2013. “I’ve felt as though the job were made for me,” Larrabee wrote. “It has invited me to function at the intersection of the spiritual and the temporal dimensions of my life, creating an opportunity for me to use what gifts I may have in these areas. I have thrived in this place.”

He remains devoted to serving the organization “with undiminished commitment and energy” for the remainder of his term. In choosing his retirement date, Larrabee has been mindful to allow time for a smooth and graceful transition as the thoughtful search for his successor proceeds. Borrowing Harry Truman’s words, Larrabee stated he’s “looking forward to the promotion” of again being one of the people after serving them for many years; and he’s excited to discover what is in store for him in the next chapter of his life.

New Hires

Drew Smith

Friends Council on Education (FCE) has announced the appointment of a new executive director, Drew Smith, to begin service on July 1, 2014.

A practicing Friend since childhood and a member of Haddonfield (N.J.) Meeting, Smith has much to offer in taking on the director role at FCE. His personal experience with Quaker education includes both the student and the teacher perspectives. He attended Westtown School as a boarding student, and then went on to Earlham College, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. Additionally, his graduate studies in educational leadership were completed at the University of Pennsylvania.

Smith comes to FCE from Russell Byers Charter School in Philadelphia where he currently serves as the CEO and principal. Before this appointment in 2010, he worked at Friends School Mullica Hill for nearly 25 years in a variety of roles including middle school teacher, director of admissions, middle school principal, associate head of school, and head of school.

“It is truly an honor to have been chosen to be the next executive director of the Friends Council on Education,” Smith said after being informed of his appointment. “I believe that the Council and its member schools have much to teach about how best to educate our children. I am thrilled to be returning to the world of Friends education!”

Smith will work with a transition team over the next year, learning from the current executive director, Irene McHenry, and meeting with FCE constituents and colleagues, before formally starting in the position on July 1, 2014.

World News

Friends World Committee for Consultation World Office shared on their website in early July that the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) has been named one of the 100 most influential global actors in armed violence reduction.

The accolade was given by Action On Armed Violence, one of the leading organizations in the area, and comes as recognition of the work done by Quakers to put this issue on the UN agenda.

QUNO joins international figures such a Kofi Anna, Angelina Jolie, and the Dalai Lama on the list. “Like Quakers in general, we tend not to publicize our work but instead just get on and do it,” said Diane Hendrick, associate representative for peace and disarmament at QUNO’s Geneva office. “However, we are glad to be recognized by others, and we hope this will help us further increase our effectiveness as we continue.”

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