“Mediation is one way of dealing with conflicts non-violently. On the spectrum of force to reconciliation – this is the ultimate goal of our continent. When we use force we suppress conflict, we do not resolve the conflict, in reality we are putting off the conflict for the future. Reconciliation is what we inspire to do. It is our vision; it is a mechanism for avoiding future conflicts.” These were words from John Katunga, a presenter during the Mediation DEP, and also a native from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Sheik Al-Ulayyan during a panel discussion in Washington, D.C.
Quakers believe that every person has a Divine Spark and that the concept of “enemy” is abhorrent. Over the decades, AFSC has taken this precept to heart and has opened paths of communication in times of international tension, in communities where historic animosity prevails, in urban neighborhoods and rural settings.
Violence. It's everywhere you look. You see it on TV, you hear it in advertising, it's reflected in our speech. You'd think violence could solve problems, but instead it makes them worse. Sometimes it feels as though we're trapped by it.
Are you looking for some new choices? For a way out of this?
Nonviolence requires strength, courage, self-respect, and respect for others. It isn't safer than violence; it involves taking risks. It's just a choice between different kinds of risks.
2009 was a turbulent summer in Baltimore City, with more than 40 murders occurring between June 22 and the end of August. On one night alone, 18 people were shot. Sixteen of the shootings occurred in the East Baltimore community where AFSC’s Youth Empowerment through Conflict Resolution Program was working with a group of young people.
The Youth Empowerment through Conflict Resolution program works with young people in Baltimore to find peaceful resolutions to conflict in their lives. Participants learn to use tools from the Help Increase the Peace Program as well as other community building skills.
Working in under-resourced schools, the program helps young people deal with violent and impoverished neighborhoods, learn about conflict resolution and human rights, and get the support they need to become educated and engaged citizens.
AFSC's programs in the Latin America and Caribbean Region focus on issues of urban peace and community security.
The regional office in Guatemala provides monitoring and support to the programs. Our staff also collaborates with other AFSC programs on public information and educational activities in the United States.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.