IFOR history highlights
The Fellowship of Reconciliation is established in Britain and versöhnungsbund
in Germany in the midst of war, inspiring similar Christian pacifist
groups in the Netherlands, Sweden, the USA, Denmark and Germany.
600 British FOR members are sent to prison for refusing military
service, while the founder of the FOR/Germany is sentenced to death
for organizing aid for British prisoners of war.
Christian pacifists from 10 different countries meet in the Netherlands
to establish the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. IFOR's
first project is the evacuation of hundreds of starving children
from Austria to Britain.
IFOR Secretary Pierre Cérésole establishes Service
Civil (International Voluntary Service for Peace), which organizes
work camps in areas torn apart by war, with volunteers from former
Gandhi invites IFOR Travelling Secretary Muriel Lester to India
in support of the independence movement.
The IFOR office in Vienna, Austria, works for reconciliation between
Poland and Germany.
The IFOR office in Vienna, Austria is shut down by the Nazis.
In France, IFOR members André and Magda Trocmé, with
the help of the villagers of le Chambon sur Lignon, save the lives
of thousands of Jews escaping the Holocaust. In Belgium, feminist
Magda Yoors Peeters defends Jewish refugees and conscientious objectors.
In the USA, the FOR leads the struggle against internment of Japanese
In Korea, FOR member Ham Sok Hon is jailed for advocating peaceful
co-existence between North and South Korea. In the USA, the FOR
fights racial segregation; in Europe, IFOR travelling secretaries
Jean and Hildegard Goss Mayr work for reconciliation between East
The Goss-Mayrs conduct nonviolence trainings throughout Latin America,
leading to the 1975 founding of the Latin American peace and justice
network Servicio Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ).
FOR/USA invites Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hahn (later nominated
by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Nobel Peace Prize) on a speaking
tour seeking an end to the war in Vietnam.
IFOR calls for an 'ecological imperative' at its Dai Dong (Chinese
for 'A world of great togetherness') conference in Stockholm and
for a mass environmental movement.
IFOR field workers Anita Kromberg and Richard Steele begin a decade
of work for a non-racial, democratic South Africa.
FOR founders Hodgkin (left) and Sigmund-Schultze
FOR members in the Philippines conduct trainings in active nonviolence
to help lay the ground for the People's Power revolution which ends
the Marcos dictatorship.
SERPAJ participates in the nonviolent resistance to Chile's 16-year
long military dictatorship, which culminates in free elections that
IFOR branches around the world hold vigils, aid conscientious objectors
and struggle to prevent the Gulf War. Challenging the embargo, FOR/USA
sends over a million dollars in medical supplies to Iraq.
Women from Bangladesh, India, Sweden, Tanzania, the USA and Zambia
actively participate in the United Nations Fourth World Conference
on Women in Beijing.
IFOR support since 1992 contributes to the adoption of the UN Special
Rapporteur on Violence Against Women's resolution for reparations
for women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army
during World War II.
Over 30 youth from all continents meet in Sweden to work on an IFOR
Youth Empowerment Program.
The IFOR Women Peacemakers Program is launched with guests from
Nepal and India.
Ninety Years as a Fellowship
Click here to read Richard Deats' article "The Rebel Passion: 85 Years of the Fellowship of Reconciliation."
(©2001 Fellowship of Reconciliation)
Click here to read Paul R. Dekar's book "Creating the Beloved Community: A Journey with the Fellowship of Reconciliation"
(Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing, 2005, 326pp.).
The Fellowship of Reconciliation
The Cambridge Review, December 1984
By: John Ferguson
This article on the history of IFOR was written by John Ferguson
for the Cambridge Review in December 1984.
The article has been slightly re-edited by the IFOR Secretariat.
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