Summer Research Seminar 2018

July 9 – 14
Ithaca, New York

The 2018 Summer Research Seminar was held in Ithaca, New York, from July 9th through 14th. Twenty-four people from across North America participated during the week. Friends from Ithaca Monthly Meeting also attended on a day-by-day basis.

QIF is very grateful for the logistical and financial support provided by Ithaca Monthly Meeting. The Meeting made their meetinghouse available for study sessions and dinners each day. Ithaca Friends arranged transportation and housing. The Friends Center for Racial Justice and residents of Ithaca Ecovillage generously provided hospitality.

Everyone enjoyed getting to know each other, sharing activities, and discovering what could be learned by engaging in a Quaker meeting for worship on the occasion of research. Here are a few reflections that were shared after the seminar.

“I feel strengthened by the deep commitment to Quaker process I saw at work and what that means as a fundamental guide for our work together.”

“I too am always in gratitude and wonderment at the Quaker process. I am so thankful and so energized after this week spent with you all.”

“I leave empowered to engage in interfaith dialogue wherever possible and inspired by the learning that can occur when we take the time out of our busy schedules to come together and listen to each other.”

“I feel confirmed in the power of stories to convey ideas and feelings, both of which are important in the work of changing values and paradigms.”

“The connection for me was the interconnection between all issues presented. We are all part of the whole and until we recognize this, we will not connect the dots.”

Shared meals and conversations were one highlight. Another highlight was the evening Ecocruise on Lake Cayuga.

The presentations were rich and varied. The SRS was not devoted to a specific theme, yet common concerns emerged. The presentations illuminated the present human-planetary crisis and identified ways forward. Presenters and presentation titles were:

Chris Fici: Anticipatory Communities and an Ecovillage in India
Sara Jolena Wolcott: Sequoia Samanvaya
Betsy Keokosky (presenter) with Angela Hopkins, Jim Grant and Margaret McCasland: The Common Roots of Racial and Environmental Injustice
Jim Grant: Third Millennium Project
Margaret McCasland: “Peace on Earth, Peace with Earth” on a warming planet
Rachel Arlene Redeye Porter: The Space Between the Rows
Eileen Flanagan: Climate and Social Action
Geoff Garver: The Transition from Environmental to Ecological Law and the Remote Ownership Problem
Larry Jordan: The Care and Operation of Spaceship Earth – Closing the Circles
Ed Dreby, John Howell, and John Lodenkamper: Finite Biosphere Project

QIF’s Summer Research Seminar is held yearly to encourage spirit-led research using Quaker methods of discernment and reflection. The Seminar can be thought of as a “meeting for worship for the conduct of research.” As individuals share their research projects in a Quaker process of collective inquiry and collaborative discernment, the projects may arrive at a configuration of knowledge and understanding that would not have occurred had they remained individual efforts.

Each morning begins with a time of silent centering worship after the manner of Friends, followed by the presentation of two projects on which participants are working.

Each presentation includes a time for questions, clarification, and discussion, followed by a time of collaborative discernment conducted as a “meeting for worship for sharing,” also known as “Quaker Dialogue.”

Afternoons are open for participants to work on their projects or meet with others for additional collaborative discussion and discernment.

Evening meals are shared communally providing further time for exchange and engagement.

We keep costs as low as possible. Dormitory housing will be available at cost and hospitality will be provided by local Friends. We ask those who are able to contribute $100 for rental fees. Each participant will also contribute to the cost of our meals.

For more information on attending or presenting a topic at a future seminar, please contact Shelley Tanenbaum at

View the PDF brochure here.

Quaker Institute for the Future