Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dendrobium: World Univ & Sch and its F/friendly-informedness, 1947 Nobel Peace Prize Address

Hei Scott.

I poked around a bit in the information you sent me, and I got confused.

To what extent are you planning to make this a religious institution?

I’ve encountered the Quakers twice - once in your mention of the new COO, and another time on the flyer for world university and school.

For me this was very surprising.

I don’t mind anyone’s personal religious beliefs, but I wouldn’t want to work for an institution that has a religion tied to its foundation.

I think that affiliating education with a religion so directly will probably have the effect to remove some people from considering using this option.

In my personal opinion open education and a wiki-style of providing information should not be religiously labeled.


Of course I might have misunderstood something, that’s why I’m asking, and telling you my current perception.

I’d be glad if you could tell me more what you think about this.

All the best,



Hello Mart, 

World University and School is wiki and planning to accredit on CC MIT OCW in 7 languages and CC Yale OYC in English to offer CC online university and high school degrees in all ~204 countries main languages - and facilitate wiki schools in all 7,943 languages. 

But we've also been F/friendly-informed from the beginning (2007-ish). In a sense this means WUaS is atheistically Quaker-informed since I'm its founder and am interested in non-theistic F/friends. Whether this makes WUaS religious or not, I'm not sure. But WUaS has also engaged a kind of Quaker process for our open monthly business meetings, which are and have been conducted loosely in the manner of F/friends for years now. While this means WUaS seeks to find a kind of unity (and listen to one another +) in the decision-making process - "to seek a kind of consensus" - but which in a sense has never been tested by a very contentious issue (but there is secular consensus-decision making process to deal with contentious issues), WUaS has also developed a track record/history with Minutes of the these business meetings, which both shape a history and a kind of governance process. Both American and British Quakers won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, as you may know, for organizing the Kinderspeisung in the early 40s in war-torn Europe, and this was one expression of Quakers pragmatic approach to peace and peace-making. I find Gunnar Jahn's Nobel address in this regard inspiring -  Other values of Friends include simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship ("SPICES") which I think are valuable values even in the Internet's information technology age, and which will help WUaS also potentially navigate other faiths in all countries' main languages even. For example there's an IB Quaker School in Ramallah in Palestine in Arabic and English, with which we may collaborate at some point. (I met its Director Joyce Ajlouny at Palo Alto Quaker Meeting. And Barack and Michelle Obama's daughters go/went to a Quaker School in Washington DC called Sidwell Friends). Quaker schools can be neutral ground for some peoples - kind of the Switzerland with its 4 official languages of some religions and cultures - which I see as a benefit. I also think of Quaker consensus process as more democratic than other kinds of democracy, because it attempts to reach the will of all the people involved (and it has a 350 history among Friends - and in one form or another with Quaker colleges such as Haverford, Swarthmore, Earlham and Guilford in the US; none of these however offer Ph.D., law or M.D., degrees, interestingly). And I/WUaS will continue to be a member of Friends Association of Higher Education (FAHE). Here are the two explicitly F/friendly / Quaker wiki subjects at WUaS - - and - - but check out the "Peace and Social Justice" wiki subject page as well as some others in these pages' "Links" too. Both unprogrammed Quakers and Nontheistic F/friends tend to be quite progressive and focus on helping and caring in the world. 

And WUaS has also minuted explicitly that we are a secular university and school a few years ago. (And with the current accreditation plans, we'll be nominally private - viz. the state of California's Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education - but we're also Creative Commons and wiki seeking a wide community of wiki-teachers and individuals, outside the institutional structure of matriculated student - so in a sense we'll be a very, very public set of wiki schools).

(Also, WUaS has held hive meeting spaces at the American Friends Service Committee / San Francisco Friends Meeting for many moons now. WUaS also advertised with Western Friend Quaker Magazine for 3 issues a few years ago seeking Friendly high schoolers. And here's a "WUaS F/friendly/Quaker Outreach for Friends General Conference, FAQs" from a few years ago -

All this written, I think a very diverse body of high school students from around the world will make many of their decisions of whether or not to apply to and matriculate at WUaS based on its being free and CC MIT OCW-centric - and accessible from their homes, in all countries - and eventually in their languages. I also add the big F/ small f distinction because WUaS is friendly in both ways, - and we're not religious with the small f. 

As an anthropologist, I also see the value of F/friendly culture (secularly, but historically informed) for a variety of other reasons - for one, it's quite caring. 

I'm not sure what you'll think of the above, but f/Friendliness has been a significant part of WUaS's history thus far, such that we've come through these 8 or so years with these ideas. What do you think?

Have a great trip home, and thanks for your email, and looking forward to communicating further about this and any other questions you might  have. Other questions, or thoughts about the above?  

All the best, 



As a followup, you're also welcome to open WUaS monthly business meeting, which are an hour-long and meet on the second Saturdays of the month at 9am PT - to share your thoughts, ideas, questions and concerns - and perhaps focus A WUaS in G or the G language WUaS in G in the directions you have in mind (but in conversation, and with WUaS's history as well). 





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