On the evening of March 26th, 2011, the first William Penn Lecture of this century was held in the East Room or the Arch Street Meeting House. The first speaker for the revived William Penn Lecture was George Lakey.
George Lakey’s talk was entitled “Powerful Beyond Measure: The legacy of Quaker Leadership in the 21st Century”. The theme was a coming together of the theme of the 2011 Annual Sessions, Powerful Beyond Measure: Trusting the Call to Leadership, and the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the Peace Testimony, which was honored by the Peace & Concerns Standing Committee at an event at the Arch Street Meeting House on the same day as the Lecture. In honor of the history of young adult Friends’ support of this tradition, George met with young adult Friends for a Dessert & Discussion Night at Friends Center to discuss the lecture and attenders’ their thoughts about it.
Nearly 300 people were in attendance for this lecture which featured opportunities for Friends to reflect on some of the ideas presented by responding to queries in pairs.
George Lakey is a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting. He is a trainer, organizer, author, sociologist, professor, and social change leader. George began his career as a trainer at the Martin Luther King School for Social Change and has since gone on to lead over 1,000 workshops on five continents. He has run training for coal miners, therapists, homeless people, prisoners, Russian lesbians and gays, Sri Lankan monks, Burmese guerrilla soldiers, striking steelworkers, South African activists, and others. He is currently active in the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT), an organization of Friends, and friends of Friends which is using non-violent direct action strategies currently to halt mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia.