Building a Framework for a Lasting Peace II

Building a Framework for a Lasting Peace

The idea of outlining the conditions necessary for Building a Framework for Lasting Peace and Justice had taken root at the AFSC and a group of staff came together in Chicago around the project. (We at Lighthouse still love good old-fashioned in- person meetings by the way. We just think that we have reached an era where they can used strategically,  judiciously, sparingly.)

That group generated the first draft of the Framework. The next step they envisioned was to solicit broad input from the AFSC community and to use that input to forge a final Framework that had buy-in across the organization and could be used to guide program work and the direction of new initiatives.

Mary Zerkel, Director of Praxis/ Economic Justice and Leader of the AFSC’s Wage Peace Program, and Peter Lems, Program Officer for Integration and Impact were charged with carrying the project forward. They knew they wanted to use some kind of small group video conferences and the Star Cafe, and they approached our team to hammer out the details.

We worked with them first to envision the dynamics and then the logistics. We addressed a wide range of issues that included:

  • Who should participate? All staff? Programs staff? (in the first phase, the focus was on the staff.)
  • How can we keep track of the sign-up process? of attendance?

Our team offered test-connects, so staff who were unfamiliar could experience the video technology prior to their meeting

How best to develop the content and flow of these sessions?

We opted to use the IT department for the first meeting and  a “family and friends” group for the second.

These sessions let Mary & Peter sharpen their skills as facilitators for this series of Framework sessions

How to capture “what we heard”?

Without this, the results could lack credibility and these sessions could come to be viewed as “feel good” work. We took notes during and recorded each session and LTA combed through these materials to extract the key themes that had emerged.

Out of these discussions came a design and an implementation plan.

Here is the Front Page of the intranet room developed for this project

Framework Page in the Star Cafe


Note the access to the current version of the Framework, the Background on the Project, the List of Staff who had attended the original meeting in Chicago (who could be resources for the rest of the staff who might have questions about the process, and the sign-up list.

Early on, it proved hard to schedule and bring together the sessions. We would offer Doodle Polls with available time slots, but the sign up proved sparse. We were working with busy people, busy calendars, and with lots of moving-target events in their work life.

We had a breakthrough when we switched to fixing two or three times a week for meetings and then committing to filling them. We would ask a friend who would ask a friend – and soon we had a string of well attended meetings. And people loved them.

Fitz from LTA shepherded and managed each of these small group video conference sessions.

Word spread and soon Mary & Peter were asked to bring the Board Programs Committee up to speed on the Framework project. Two hours were allotted for the session and  LTA suggested “Lets get them involved. Lets offer them a ‘fishbowl’ session right in the room in Philadelphia.” And we did. They loved it too. Members of the Committee shifted in and out of the fishbowl and had their say. Mary and Peter facilitated via video conference from Chicago.

Later Mary and Peter briefed the full Board, who reviewed and commented on the Framework draft too.

Kate from LTA took up the What We Heard task. She attended some meetings, listened to the recording of every one, and consolidated Mary’s and Peter’s in-session notes into her final executive summary and report.

Today the AFSC is indeed working to Build a Framework for a Lasting Peace and Justice.

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  1. […] For more background on this Project, see this in our eJournal. […]

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