University Settlement is currently the headquarters for the International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers (IFS). Following is a statement that was sent from Executive Director, Melissa Aase, to all IFS members in the wake of terrorist attacks in France.
The IFS Board of Directors has been in close communication with one another over the last few days, to share solidarity with our many French colleagues in the social center movement there, following the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris.
Many IFS members around the world can, unfortunately, also share their experiences in coming through these kinds of tragedies, and bear witness to the important role that neighborhood centers can and should play in preventing and reacting to such events.
Our hearts break with this senseless violence; our hearts – now broken --- remain open to one another.
IFS President Michael Zisser said, "Once more, we are asked to understand how this world can tolerate and react to the destructive actions of terrorists, and what actions we may take individually and collectively to make the world a better, safer place. Last week in Paris, and weeks before in Nigeria, Pakistan, Israel and other nations that have experienced such violence, demonstrated the great need for our work in every corner of the world. Once more, I am reminded that our IFS community serves as a beacon of hope in communities around the world, dedicated to the work of encouraging and supporting people from all backgrounds to live, work, and prosper together. Evil has been with us since the beginning and apparently will always be an opposing force to a civil society … but so has goodness, as reflected in our work, our values and our common purpose.
I am frightened to turn on my television and see another tragedy, but I am also looking forward to hearing from the worldwide network of IFS members, to be reminded of what people can do when they choose to believe in each other."
The national Federation des Centres Sociaux et Socioculturels de France (FCSF) --- representing over 1,200 neighborhood centers throughout France --- is represented on the IFS Board by Dominique Garet. Please see the statement by the regional leadership of FCSF which includes Paris, written prior to the additional attacks at a kosher market on Friday.
We will continue to share documents and conversation with the IFS membership and friends of IFS as we receive them. To send your messages of solidarity and see additional updates, please "friend" IFS on Facebook or email Executive Director Melissa Aase (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Communications Assistant Kristin Rubisch (email@example.com).