photo of youth posing in front of MLK national park monument

Emerging Leaders for Liberation is a program for young adults looking to deepen their social justice and leadership skills.

Participants gain an understanding of systemic oppression through trainings and experiences regarding accompaniment, anti-racism, organizing, advocacy, resourcing, and Quaker principles. Participants take part in both AFSC-sponsored and other local campaigns and systems-level advocacy efforts. They gain a complex understanding of social change movements, immersing themselves in community level change efforts. As part of the initiative, participants deepen their engagement on an existing or new project.

Hear about the work of some of the 2023 Cohort.

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Who is welcome to apply?

AFSC is seeking young adults who are interested in learning more about social change theories and becoming leaders in their communities. Applicants must be 18-22 years old as of April 1, 2024 and have a relationship to an AFSC program, a Quaker college/organization, or a Quaker meeting. Accepted participants must reside within the United States during the duration of the cohort.

We especially encourage BIPOC and LGBTQIA applicants and individuals who can bring diverse backgrounds and life experiences. We value curiosity, authenticity, and empathy, and recognize that leadership shows up in different ways. Because AFSC is based in Philadelphia, we have a special interest in applicants from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Quaker colleges in the greater Philadelphia metro area.

How many people will be selected?

We aim to have 30 individuals in the cohort.

Do I need to be a Quaker to participate in the program?

No. Although AFSC is affiliated with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), this is not a “religious” program. Although you will be exposed to Quaker ideas and practices, this program does not seek your affiliation with Quakerism.

What is expected from participants?

Participants are expected to join six online learning sessions and two in-person gatherings. We ask participants to bring an open mind, be active listeners, and share their own experiences and perspectives. (Dates subject to possible change.)

What kind of social change efforts am I expected to be a part of?

With the tools and strategies learned throughout the program, participants will complete either a group project or a solo project of their choosing and take action in their community. Projects can range from op-eds demanding local policy change to working with an AFSC program on an event or organizing a rally. The project will be up to the discretion of participants and their communities’ needs.

What is the cost for the program?

Because of the generous philanthropic contributions of AFSC supporters, this program is free for all who apply and are accepted. We welcome individuals, families, and others who are inspired by our vision to help support the annual budget of our program, estimated at $300,000-$400,000 in the current year. Please click here for more information or be in touch with Emily Clarke at

Will multiple people from the same school, group, or organization be accepted?

There is a benefit for the program when multiple people from one group, school, or organization apply together so they form a learning cohort. That said, we cannot commit to accepting all who apply.

Where can I find more information?

For more information, please email:

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