Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF) has begun sharing Zoom recordings of the five-day Summer Research Seminar held online in August 2021. These are part of the QIF YouTube channel which is now available on the updated website. The website now also includes updates on QIF activities through Clerk’s Posts offered seasonally. The 2022 Summer Research Seminar is planned to be held online in the second week of August. It will extend a program of release-time stipends to support the participation of Young Friends. This program was a successful experiment in 2021 and is also being extended to support collaborative workshops in the upcoming May retreat of the Atlantic Friends Gathering in Eastern Canada. The Circle of Discernment book on artificial intelligence is expected to be published by early summer. Progress continues in other Circles of Discernment on bridging polarities, agriculture, and decolonization.
Since January, Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF) has undertaken two research and communication projects on major issues of U.S. public policy: (1) Meeting the Acute Needs of the Nation Requires Monetary System Reform; (2) Responding to the Threat of Irreversible Global Warming.
The first project prepared a policy paper for communicating with Vice President Kamala Harris through a personal channel made available to QIF. This paper is also being circulated among Friends and others. It will be available on QIF’s new website soon.
The second project is preparing an epistle to Friends everywhere on the threat of continued global warming to the continuation of life on Earth, as we know it. The purpose of the epistle is to share the information and analysis the Institute has assembled and offer suggestions for action to influence the U.S. government on climate change policy.
Since its inception in 2003, Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF) was designed and set up as a network organization. Its projects of research, discernment, and witness have not been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Its annual five-day Summer Research Seminar (SRS) shifted to an online format in 2020 with good results. Planning for the 2021 SRS is underway.
QIF currently has two Circles of Discernment engaged in collective research: one on regenerative agriculture and one on the ethical context of artificial intelligence. QIF Focus Books on these subjects will be forthcoming. An additional Focus Book on the emerging field of ecological law is in preparation based on the work of a QIF Board member. A number of QIF associates continue with their individual research projects, which feed into the Institute’s mission of advancing a global future of inclusion, social justice, and ecological integrity through participatory research, discernment, and witness.
Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF) held its Summer Research Seminar via Zoom from August 3–7 with 28 participants. The seminar functions on three levels: (1) the presentation of research, (2) collective discernment and feedback through worship sharing (Quaker dialogue), and (3) open discussion. Research reports included: regenerative agriculture; ecological vulnerability in the Gambia; monoculture and ecological law; the monetary system and social crisis; the threats and opportunities of artificial intelligence; a visual tour of quarantine, riots, and monuments. Themed discussion sessions were also held on communities of security, Black Lives Matter, seeking truth amid falsity, and the post-COVID-19 future.
Holding the seminar via Zoom was prompted by the pandemic, but QIF had already been experimenting with a virtual mode of networking. Seminar participants agreed the week was a success and points to a potential expansion of QIF programming. The Zoom format doubled the number of participants and allowed people to attend who could not otherwise have made the trip in person.
Three QIF Focus Books are in process, all of which were represented in research presentations: regenerative agriculture, ecological law, and artificial intelligence. QIF Focus Books are designed to present the key aspects of the ecological, economic, and social realities of our time and analyze how they are affecting the future.