The theme selected by this year’s conference committee takes note of the fact that the FOR Seabeck Conference, since its beginning 56 years ago, has always been held on the weekend closest to the 4th of July. This year, those dates are July 3-6, 2014. At first glance, that might appear to be the wrong weekend to choose if the conference planners wanted to make sure that there would be decent attendance.
However, considering the fact that the Fellowship of Reconciliation is the oldest international organization for peace and social justice, it isn’t so surprising to find them holding a peace conference during a holiday weekend that lifts up violence as the way to establish freedom.
But there is a second way of looking at this year’s theme that is perhaps even more to the point. Thanks to Edward Snowden, the revelations in the past year about the massive electronic data gathering capabilities of the National Security Agency have alerted many Americans to the fact that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution banning unreasonable searches and seizures may indeed by horribly under threat.
The three keynote speakers this year will have a lot to say about both aspects of this year’s conference theme. In addition, we will feature a four-workshop track on Freedom of Speech honoring Oregon's first Poet Laureate, William Stafford, and celebrating his 1914-2014 centennial. Stafford was a FOR member since the 1940's, and we are honored to have artists and literary scholars with us this year.
For further information about the conference keynote speakers when they are announced, please visit the official FOR Seabeck Conference website. From that location you will find information about the Seabeck Conference Center, directions and general information about the 2014 FOR Seabeck Conference (including registration online when it opens in May 2014).