About Palms: Papers


Palms Australia Reflection    We open our Palms to reveal our hearts as People in God; the universal energy identified across all cultures. Along with the rest of the earth community we seek to flourish as humble components of this energy: unique beings within one being. We are co-creators. We know our common good is […]

A Powerful Palms Pentecost

A Powerful Palms Pentecost  Motivating multilingual, multicultural, multiracial mission. On Pentecost, believers in Jesus were inspired to speak in many languages (Acts 2:5-13). As Peter points out they were not drunk. The point being made was that the Good News is for all. As Paul writes in Galatians 3:28: “There is no longer Jew or […]

Submission to the independent review of aid effectiveness

The Australian government recently established an independent panel to review the effectiveness of Australia’s aid program.  Stakeholders were asked to make submissions to the review according to the set terms of reference. Palms Australia made this brief submission, outlining some areas in which it sees potential improvement in Australia’s development programs. A list of all […]

Prophetic Wisdom for Cross-Cultural Engagement

This paper Missionaries, International Development Volunteers and Beyond examines the evolution of a program, from its birth in 1961 as the Paulian Association Lay Missionary Secretariat (PALMS) to the eve of its Jubilee (50th year) where some characterise it as an International Development Volunteer (IDV) program.  It considers influences on the vision, mission, values, philosophy, […]

Can volunteers achieve the MDGs without unintended damaging consequences?

Are volunteers achieving the MDGs without also being a conduit of neo-colonial transculturation? As a practitioner I’m not so sure we in volunteer organisations prepare people adequately to avoid them falling into this trap and I’m concerned that the imposition of various structures for funded service providers might mitigate against a better approach.

Response to the Aus Government Volunteer Program (AGVP) Review

In March 2009, AusAID published a review of the Australian Government Volunteer Program (AGVP). The review was conducted by consultants hired by AusAID and drew interesting conclusions about the strengths and shortcomings of the current Government Program. It also made suggestions about future directions for the program. Always interested in increasing the effectiveness of international […]

Embracing Vulnerability in an Age of Fear

Recurrent issues of civil unrest, terrorism and natural disasters have understandably led to sending governments and agencies placing an increased emphasis on volunteer security. An overemphasis on these considerations, however, can serve to distance volunteers from their national counterparts and reduce stakeholder participation.

Submission to Senate Inquiry regarding Papua New Guinea

This submission critiques the misrepresentation of governance issues at the heart of many approaches to Aid in the region. In order to address these challenges, quality education and mentoring must be available to all levels of society and the structures which reward misbehaviour must be altered.

Exposure/Immersion Experiences

Many organisations offer short-term visits which they name Cross-cultural Immersions, Exposure Tours or Study Tours. While such programs can be beneficial to their participants, they often neglect the effects on the host community. Furthermore, they risk providing a stereotypical view of another culture which degrades and damages.

This position paper was presented to a meeting of Immersion facilitators and provides a useful starting point for discussion of these trips. For an experience built upon the arguments in this paper, consider joining Palms’ Encounter Program.

Volunteering in a neo-liberal development paradigm

A Timor-Leste case study written by Nichole Georgeou and Brendan Joyce for the magazine Just Change. An examination of mixed political motives which damage Australia’s aid program.

An international volunteer ethos

What does it mean to be a volunteer and what can volunteers bring to development.

Palms Australia’s Development Philosophy

Palms Australia seeks to “encourage just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful development.” (Mission Statement). Just what do we mean by development?

Why Palms Australia is unique

10 Great Reasons to Support the Work of Palms Australia.

The ideal of a single civilization for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress
and technique, impoverishes and mutilates us. - Octavio Paz