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The history of AFSC

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was founded in 1917 during World War I to give young conscientious objectors ways to serve without joining the military or taking lives. They drove ambulances, ministered to the wounded, and stayed on in Europe after the armistice to rebuild war-ravaged communities.

Since then, AFSC has often been on the forefront of social change movements, carrying out work that many considered experimental and sometimes taking unpopular stands on controversial issues.We’ve joined communities around the globe in struggling against systems of oppression and in working for a world that respects the value and dignity of every person. We’ve responded to violence by working with people on all sides of conflict and supporting community-led efforts to lay foundations for lasting peace.

Timeline: Over a century of waging peace

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Peace Works stories

Hear from AFSC staff, volunteers, supporters, and program participants from our past and present. 

AFSC Archives

More than just a collection of records pertaining to one organization’s history, the AFSC Archives provide a unique and singular view of the social, political, and economic movements that shaped the 20th century and are still relevant today.

AFSC and the Nobel Peace Prize

In 1947, AFSC and British Friends Service Council accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Quakers worldwide. The prize recognized 300 years of Quaker efforts to heal rifts and oppose war.

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