A young Haitian woman named Vanessa learns about conflict mediation at her school. Inspired, she decides to start a peace network in an earthquake survivors’ camp, where she still lives. People dismiss her at first, telling her she is too young to make a difference. But with partnership from the American Friends Service Committee and others, she persists. Avenues are established for resolving disputes, and tensions begin to subside. The network grows, and so does the possibility of peace.

Stories like these play out, with your support, not just in Haiti, but across the U.S. and around the world. Peaceful ends can only be achieved through peaceful means. Yet, all too often, we build walls instead of bridges in the name of peace and pour resources into armies and weapons in the name of security.

How much could change if we instead focused resources on ensuring that every person has an opportunity to thrive and contribute? What if we worked together to eliminate poverty and injustice, to establish a new vision of shared security in the world and in all our lives?

As I review the past year’s work at AFSC, I see this new vision taking shape with your partnership, contributions, and energy. Please enjoy this report on AFSC’s work in 2013, and thank you.

Yours in service,

Shan Cretin
General Secretary, AFSC