England's leading Christian peace campaigning group has appointed a new director with a background in nonviolent conflict resolution. Millius Ncube Palayiwa will take the helm at the Fellowship of Reconciliation England (FoRE).
Palayiwa succeeds Chris Cole, who build up the Fellowship's profile during his six years in the job. Cole became known for his opposition to the arms trade and his commitment to nonviolent direct action.
FoRE describe themselves as “one branch of a global, spiritually-based movement committed to active nonviolence as a means of personal, social, economic and political transformation”. FoRE is England's oldest national pacifist group.
It is part of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFoR), launched in 1914 by British and German Christians opposed to the first world war. It now has seventy branches and groups in five continents.
Millius Ncube Palayiwa's experience of conflict resolution includes four years working for International Alert and another four years at Quaker Peace & Service (now part of Quaker Peace & Social Witness). He received his early education in Zimbabwe (which was then Rhodesia), before gaining a divinity degree from the University of London and a law degree from Oxford.
“I am totally and unwaveringly committed to the nonviolent prevention and resolution of conflict, through early warning systems, preventative diplomacy and post-conflict peace building,” said Palayiwa.
Catholic peace activist Chris Cole stepped down in July after six years as FoRE director. FoRE's profile has risen during recent years, due in part to its place at the forefront of opposition to the arms trade. Along with other groups such as the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), FoRE was instrumental in the successful campaign to close the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO), an arms industry lobbying group within the UK's Ministry of Defence.
In addition to strengthening the organisation, Cole is also known for his personal commitment to nonviolence, having gone to prison several times for nonviolent direct action against the arms industry.
FoRE is currently prioritising a campaign against drones – remote-controlled devices that can bomb targets thousands of miles away. They are taking the lead in a major conference on the subject on 18 September.