Nobel laureate honored to nominate Search for Common Ground
PHILADELPHIA (March 13, 2018): The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), an organization that accepted the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Quakers worldwide, announced their nomination of Search for Common Ground (SFCG) for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.
“In lifting up Search for Common Ground we hope to draw attention to the importance of creating a space in which dialogue is possible,” says AFSC’s nominating letter. “Search for Common Ground recognizes the difficulty of finding constructive ways to respond to conflict, but they refuse to accept that a difficult thing cannot be done. They do not see the aim of dialogue as the simplistic reaching of compromise, in which everyone must be prepared to give up something important. Instead, one of their core principles is that ‘common ground is not compromise’; they aspire to a common ground where all parties collectively and creatively work toward a future in which everyone’s needs and concerns are valued.”
Search for Common Ground’s work is based on the belief that peace is a process, not an event, and that it takes long-term commitment and profound dedication to achieve it. This personal dedication to peace building also requires immense courage from staff on the ground. Every country team includes people from the various parties in conflict working together for peace and justice for all – not for one side or the other. They work with hundreds of local partners on many of the world’s most intractable and intense conflicts – including Yemen, Lebanon/Syria, Israel/Palestine, Pakistan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Iran/US, Africa’s Great Lakes, the Sahel, and Western Sahara – to find culturally appropriate ways to resolve conflict nonviolently across whole societies.
“The organization emphasizes cooperative problem solving and seeks to create opportunities for individuals, countries, and regions to discover their common humanity,” according to the nominating letter. “SFCG has been a pioneer in implementing the approach they call ‘societal conflict resolution.’ They aim to counter extremism by promoting moderation and cooperation. They do this by becoming immersed in local culture and trying to make maximum use of indigenous wisdom and creativity.”
Because Nobel laureates have the opportunity to nominate future Nobel Peace Prize winners, AFSC and Quaker Peace and Social Witness formed the Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Group to consider and recommend nominees. The group takes suggestions from the public for candidates to consider at the website www.quakernobel.org. Both last year's nominee, Christian Peacemaker Teams, and this year's nominee were suggestions submitted via the website.
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.