Greetings from the annual EMES meeting in Budapest

Greetings from the annual EMES meeting in Budapest

Photo: View over Danube river. Image by Ari. In the beginning of May I represented the Finland Yearly Meeting at the Friends World Committee for Consulting’s European and Middle-East Section (FWCC-EMES) Annual Meeting. The meeting was held this time in Budapest, Hungary, where the representatives of each Yearly Meeting, representatives from Quaker organizations and visiting Friends all the way from the United States and Mexico traveled to. This was my second EMES meeting, having participated in Germany two years ago, therefore I was a bit more familiar with the meeting and some Friends I had met before.   The meeting’s theme was Living in a Foreign Land and we discussed topics of foreignness, otherness and hospitality. What is it like to settle down and start life all over in a country new to oneself; How can we welcome people around us and build our community a welcoming home to everyone? In places we call home, we often have privileges that we don’t even come to realize. However, it is also possible to encounter feelings of otherness in places you feel belonging to. One fundamental value to Quakers is that of God in everyone, a view that guides us to see the core similarities we are made of. Many Friends had experiences of this topic and had, for example, lived in countries other than where they were born in. One of the most touching stories was that of a local who works in organizing education and courses for immigrants in Budapest. Grown up in Sierra Leone as a child soldier, he made a long journey full of dangers seeking for...