1652 – 2020
The effect of crime and justice in society has always been important to Quakers. Quakers have been concerned with prisons and offenders from the beginning. Many early Quakers spent time in prison, so had first hand experience. The belief in 'that of God' in everyone led to work on rehabilitating prisoners and on prison reform.
1652 – 2020
Children were seen from the outset as having ‘something of God’ within them, which should be respected and nurtured. They are entitled to education and to be heard, and to freedom from exploitation and ill treatment in the workplace and the home.
1652 – 2020
Quaker mission work over the centuries has had three strands – spreading the Quaker message to non-Friends, visiting and strengthening existing Friends, and service (educational, health…). These strands have often been interwoven, with varying thicknesses at different times and places, but all three continue to the present day.
1660 – 2020
Quakers have always been committed to education. They believed from the outset that it could nurture ‘that of God’ in everyone. There are Quaker schools on all continents, and some universities/colleges too. All aspire to a Quaker ethos, and all welcome Quakers and non-Quakers.
1660 – 2020
The belief in equality led Quakers to campaign against slavery, and to aspire to good treatment of anyone who worked in a Quaker enterprise. As well as workplace conditions, many were also concerned with general welfare. QUNO works at the UN towards international labour standards.
1662 – 1900
The Lloyd family from Dolobran, Montgomeryshire, Wales can trace their history back to the days of the early Quakers in the 17th Century and two brothers, Charles and Thomas. Both were imprisoned for their beliefs. Thomas later went to Pennsylvania where he became deputy governor. Many of their descendants prospered, first in iron making and later in banking.
1675 – 2030
Meeting for Sufferings (MfS) is British Friends’ key strategic body. It was established in response to the sufferings Quakers experienced in the early days, hence its name. Its role was soon broadened and it has played an important part in British Quakers’ responses to the needs of their time ever since. The name has never been changed.
1681 – 2020
A fundamental belief in the equality of all people has led Quakers to campaign actively against racism in many parts of the world.
1698 – 1919
(1698 - 1919) Several Quakers met Russian Tsars and their diplomats, and discussed many topics. There were significant impacts on Russian education, agriculture and health. Towards the end of the period Friends’ focus was on relief - for victims of wars, for communities suffering famine, and for minorities suffering because of their beliefs.
1728 – 2020
Quakers in South Africa have always been a small group, but with an influence that far outstrips their size. Today they are still actively concerned with justice, peacemaking, development, education and political activism.
1750 – 1950
Five Quakers are singled out here, though many others played their part. William Tuke (provision for mentally ill prisoners), Stephen Grellet (preacher and advocate of improvements), Elizabeth Fry (prison conditions for women), William Tallach (prevention and rehabilitation, and the first secretary of what became the Howard League for Penal Reform), and Margery Fry (also secretary of the Howard League, and advocate of compensation for victims of crime.
1756 – 2011
The Fry family were leading chocolate manufacturers in Bristol for three generations. They created the first chocolate bar. Although philanthropic they did not have the organisation or the impact of their rivals Cadburys and Rowntrees. Elizabeth Fry and Margery Fry made major contributions to prison reform.
1759 – 1919
During the 18th and 19th century the three great Quaker chocolate firms emerged, all family enterprises – Fry’s, Cadbury’s and Rowntrees. They developed many new methods and products, and took great care of employee welfare. In the 20th century the firms became public companies and Quaker involvement soon declined.
1796 – 2020
The Retreat was founded in 1792 by William Tuke, a Yorkshire Quaker, and opened in 1796. It remains to this day a Quaker organisation. It was the first establishment in England where mental illness was regarded as something from which a person could recover, and patients were treated with sympathy, respect and dignity. its work continues to this day.
1820 – 1964
Quakers have argued against capital punishment from very early on, and became effective campaigners in the 19th century.
18th and 19th Century Quakers interest in observing the natural world led to a flourishing of Quaker scientists, particularly in the fields of botany, meteorology and astronomy. In Britain, one important way in which this interest was fostered was through Bootham School’s Natural History Society.
1836 – 1925
Joseph Rowntree (1836 – 1925) played an important part in building up the Rowntree family business, and later used his personal wealth to set up four charitable trusts. Throughout his lifetime he was concerned with the welfare of his employees and wider social issues, and the trusts take forward these concerns.
1838 – 1911
Cyrus Pringle (1838 - 1911) was a Quaker botanist for most of his adult life. However as a young man he was caught up in the American Civil War, and refused to fight because of his Quaker principles. He suffered greatly for this.
1848 – 1920
The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the USA is widely considered to date from the First Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, New York State in 1848. This meeting was instigated by five women who had been closely involved in the abolition of slavery, all but one of whom were Quakers. In 1920, it was the actions and treatment of another Quaker woman – Alice Paul – which led at last to the passing of a Women’s Suffrage Bill by the US Congress.
1851 – 1916
Silvanus Phillips Thompson (1851-1916) was an electrical engineer, professor of physics, and a gifted communicator of scientific ideas. Like other Quaker scientists before and since, he drew parallels between the quests for truth in his science and in his faith.
1858 – 1951
Elizabeth Mary Cadbury (neẻ Taylor)DBE (1858 – 1951) She was a philanthropist, welfare worker and educationalist. She married George Cadbury in 1888 and raised his five children and six of her own, initially at Woodbrooke, their first house in Birmingham. Together they gave this house to British Friends in 1903, and it has been the home of Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre ever since.
1860 – 2020
The Quaker presence in the Middle East goes back to the 1860s, when the first Quakers from Maine, USA arrived in Lebanon and Palestine. A community of Friends grew around the schools in Ramallah and Brummana. The community has lived through many changes of rulers in that time, but has always striven to be a beacon of hope for the future.
1862 – 1933
Nitobe Inazo (1862 - 1933) , 'Bridge Across the Pacific', was a Japanese Quaker who became the first Under Secretary General for the League of Nations.
1863 – 1948
Rufus Jones (1863-1948) was a highly influential American Quaker academic. For many years he was professor of psychology and philosophy at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. He was one of the founders of the American Friends Service Committee. His influence enabled the two divisions of American Quakerism, which split in the mid 19th Century, to reunite after his death.
1866 – 1942
Ada Salter (1866-1942) was a pacifist and a socialist. She was the first woman Labour mayor and spent her life working for the people of Bermondsey and London.
1867 – 2020
Quaker missionaries, mostly from Britain, served in Madagascar for a hundred years. They founded, and worked in, schools and hospitals, during a period of great change for the country. Malagasy Friends today are part of a wider Protestant church, and Quakers from elsewhere support their work financially and as volunteers.
1867 – 2020
Quaker Social Action, a UK charity, was originally established as the Bedford Institute Association n 1867, to combat poor quality and unaffordable housing, food poverty, poorly paid and intermittent work, and families struggling to pay for funerals. Many of these same issues are still being addressed today by QSA, along with feelings of social isolation and a lack of community.
1870 – 1946
The Friends War Victims Relief Committee was an official arm of the Society of Friends in Britain, set up in times of war to relieve civilian distress in practical ways. The first FWVRC was set up in 1870, following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. It was revived in Eastern Europe in 1876 and in the Balkans in 1912, and at the beginning of both World Wars. In 1941 its name was changed to the Friends Relief Service. In 1946, its work was taken over by the permanent Friends Service Council.
1870 – 2020
Although Quakers were involved with relief work from their earliest days, it was not until the late nineteenth century that the first ‘official’ institution for relief was set up. Even then, such bodies tended to be disbanded when the immediate need was over. Only in the 20th century did Friends in several countries set up permanent Quaker service agencies, with relief as part of their work. Many Friends are also active in broader relief organisations such as Oxfam, which Quakers helped to establish.
1871 – 1974
Alongside working in senior positions in the Rowntree family business Seebohm undertook several seminal studies of poverty and its causes. His analyses influenced the development of social policy in Britain in many ways. He was at the heart of the enlightened labour conditions developed at Rowntrees.
Seventeen percent of the world’s Quakers live in Latin America, with roughly half of them in Bolivia, with the majority of the rest in Guatemala, Honduras and Peru. Many are indigenous Andean people.
1873 – 2020
Brummana High school was founded in 1873. It pioneered a unique multi-faith co-educational approach in Lebanon adapting the English Quaker boarding school model. The curriculum is international. Students work in the community, and support charities. The school motto is "I Serve", and many alumni testify to its enduring effect on their lives.
1873 – 1945
Alfred Salter was a medical practitioner, pacifist, teetotaler and politician who worked tirelessly for poor and socially deprived people. His wife Ada was also a prominent socialist.
1874 – 1958
The life and work of Margery Fry illustrates Quaker faith in action with clear impact. She brought together many strands of concern for offenders, victims and communities, seeking to join together in meeting needs and restoring equilibrium.
1875 – 2020
Friends Rural Centre in Rasulia, Madhya Pradesh, India, has been a centre for rural development for over a hundred years. It was established as a missionary site by the Friends Foreign Mission Association in 1875. It developed as an orphanage following severe famines, then became a centre for study and meditation, before finally becoming a centre of a network of rural development programmes, sharing knowledge of sustainable farming methods.
1878 – 1962
Anna Ruth Fry (1878-1962) was secretary to the Friends War Victims Relief Committee from 1914 to 1923. During this time, she travelled to every country in which the FWVRC worked, including making three trips to Russia under very difficult conditions.
1882 – 1944
Arthur Eddington (1882-1944) was a Quaker astronomer. His observations of the 1919 solar eclipse confirmed Einstein's predictions. He felt that religious mysticism, and the feeling of inspiration scientists sometimes have, were rather alike .
1883 – 1952
Corder Catchpool (1883-1952) was a British Quaker and an absolutist conscientious objector who served time in prison during the First World War. He worked in Berlin between the wars, initially in relief and reparations, and later providing support for Jewish families persecuted by the Nazis.
1885 – 1954
(1885 – 1954) Agatha Harrison was a British Quaker and a close friend of Gandhi. She contributed significantly to the peaceful transfer of power from the British to the independent governments of India and Pakistan.
1885 – 1974
Richard Gregg was a Quaker Lawyer, a leading American theorist on non-violence and one of the first people to introduce Gandhi’s teachings on non-violence to the Western world. He described the tactics of non-violence as “moral jiu-jitsu.”
1885 – 1977
Alice Paul (1885-1977) was an American Quaker campaigner for women’s suffrage. She led the Silent Sentinels – a peaceful protest outside the White House calling for women’s votes – and was jailed. After going on hunger strike to protest at conditions there, she was put on a psychopathic ward and force fed.
1888 – 1895
Anti-Caste was Britain’s first anti-racist journal. It was published from 1888 to 1895 by Catherine Impey (1847–1923), a Quaker woman from Somerset. It included reports on anti-lynching campaigns in the southern states of America, and the work of prominent African American campaigners, as well as confronting issues of racism within the British Empire.
1889 – 1989
Horace Alexander (1889-1989) was a Quaker who contributed significantly to the peaceful transfer of power from the British to the independent governments of India and Pakistan, and afterwards worked to limit the terrible communal violence that followed.
1889 – 1982
Philip Noel-Baker was a British Quaker. An academic and politician, he was involved in the establishment of both the League of Nations and the United Nations. In 1959, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his work on disarmament.
1890 – 1984
Catharine Cox-Miles (1890-1984) was an American psychologist and Quaker, associated with the genetic study of genius and with the Terman-Miles test of masculinity and femininity. She took part in AFSC’s relief effort to feed German children after the First World War, earning medals for her work.
1895 – 2001
Floyd Schmoe (1895-2001) was born in Kansas but lived most of his life in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. He was both a forest ecologist and a marine biologist. In the course of relief work carried out in six separate wars, he was shot at, but never carried a gun.
1897 – 1963
In 1890 Britain took over the protectorate of Zanzibar, where slavery was widespread. In 1897 British Quakers established an industrial mission on Pemba Island, which lasted in various forms until 1963. They met with many difficulties, but are credited with liberating about 1000 slaves, and for providing education and employment for many.
1898 – 1993
Mildred Creak (1898-1993) was a ground-breaking child psychiatrist who helped to develop nine-point criteria for the diagnostics of autism. Creak maintained that autism, far from being caused by parental inadequacies, as was believed at the time, was primarily due to genetic factors. She was a member of a Quaker peace degation to Russia in 1951.
1901 – 1989
Ham Sok-Hon (1901-1989) was a Korean Quaker, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by American Friends. His commitment to non-violence earned him the name, ‘the Gandhi of Korea.’
1902 – 2020
Kenya has over 200 Quaker secondary schools, and about 1000 primary ones. The first schools were founded early in the twentieth century. More recently several schools have been established in Rwanda and Burundi, and there is an education/rural development centre in Zimbabwe.
1902 – 1963
Missionary Friends from North America came to Kenya in 1902 and soon offered education to boys and girls alike. At first, this focused on reading the Bible, but later became much broader. Many Kenyans became teachers alongside the missionaries, and at independence in 1963 Kenyan Friends took over educational leadership.
1902 – 2020
US Friends, from Ohio, established the Friends African Industrial Mission in Kaimosi, Western Kenya, in 1902. It was a mix of workplace training, school(s), basic medical support and evangelising. Numbers were small until the 1920s, but then grew rapidly, and new centres were opened. Kenyan Friends gradually took over mission work, and became independent of US Friends in 1946, though US missionaries stayed until the 1960s. Kenyan Friends are now the largest group in world Quakerism.
1903 – 2020
Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre was founded in 1903, and is based in Birmingham, UK. It offers many opportunities for the study of Quakerism through courses, retreats, private study, and a postgraduate programme. Many groups, Quaker and non-Quaker, hire its peaceful facilities for meetings and events.
1903 – 1981
David Wills ‘(1903 – 1981) lifelong focus was young people who were troublesome to others, or to themselves, or both. He played a key part in several experimental therapeutic communities, and wrote a number of books describing his experiences and his developing ideas.
1903 – 1971
Kathleen Lonsdale was a Quaker chemist who was instrumental in developing the science of crystallography. She was a peace campaigner and a prison reformer, and also served as President of the British section of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. In 1956 she wrote, Is Peace Possible?, exploring the relationship between world peace and world population needs.
1910 – 1988
Nancy Pocock was a Canadian Quaker and Peace Activist whose home in Toronto became a shelter for refugees for over three decades. In 1987, the United Nations Association in Canada awarded her the Pearson Medal of Peace for her work in disarmament, development and feminism.
1911 – 1989
H Leslie Kirkley, known as HLK, became General Secretary of OXFAM in 1951, and transformed it from a small local Oxford Committee into a leading national and international organisation, and one of the most widely respected aid agencies in the world. He was involved with many other charities, all supporting his vision for a fairer world.
1912 – 1987
Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) was a black Civil Rights activist, a close associate of Martin Luther King, and an advocate of gay and lesbian rights, and a Quaker.
1913 – 2020
The Northern Friends Peace Board was founded in 1913 following a Quaker peace conference held in York. For the last hundred years, they have campaigned against militarism and the arms trade, advised conscientious objectors, and have worked actively as peace builders in the widest sense.
1914 – 1919
Quakers started the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) in 1914, at the beginning of the First World War. It was a way of contributing without bearing arms. Many Quakers were involved in its work, along with many non-Quakers. It worked with civilian and military hospitals, in France and Britain.
1915 – 1946
Women served in the Friends’ Ambulance Unit in both the First and Second World Wars. In the First World War, women served as nurses in the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Dunkirk and also with the Anglo-Italian Ambulance Service, making up ten percent of the total FAU personnel. In the Second World War, a total of 97 women served (one woman to every 14 men). Of these, 57 saw service abroad, in India, China, the Middle East and north-west Europe.
1916 – 2006
Adam Curle (1916-2006) was a British academic and Quaker peace activist. Over a period of almost forty years, he undertook international mediation of conflicts in India/Pakistan, Nigeria/Biafra, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Croatia. In 2000, he was the recipient of the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award.
1917 – 2020
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was founded in 1917. It works with many partners, in the US and around the world, on conflict resolution and peacebuilding, alongside issues of economic, social and criminal justice. AFSC received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, jointly with its British counterpart (then called the Friends Service Council).
1918 – 2020
Many German Quakers protested openly against Nazi treatment of the Jews, and helped some of them leave the country. Quakers from elsewhere worked with German Quakers in the aftermath of World War 2. There are now about 400 active Quakers in Germany, and an important activity is their service agency, Quäker-Hilfe.
1918 – 2020
Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) is the central peace and service department of British Friends, and represents them at national level on issues of peace and social justice. It works with Quaker and other partners on a variety of projects within Britain and around the world.
1919 – 2020
The network of Quaker bases around the world that became the Quaker International Centres were originally intended to work to build peace after WW1. Initially they were organised from London and Philadelphia, but after WW2, when QUNO was set up to represent Quakers at the UN, the network gradually evolved into locally led centres/ Quaker Houses.
1919 – 2020
Over 8% of the world’s Quakers live in Bolivia, making it the world’s third largest Quaker population after the USA and Kenya. The majority of Bolivian Quakers are indigenous Aymara people living on the Altiplano – small villages in the Andes over twelve thousand feet above sea level. Most belong to the Holiness Mission Evangelical Friends Church.
1920 – 2020
From the early part of the 20th century, there has been a resurgence of Quaker input into criminal justice systems in the UK. The five Friends featured here are in chronological order by date of birth. A second article features eight later ones.
1920 – 1996
Dermot Grubb (1920 – 1996) worked in the Prison Service for most of his career, and served as governor of prisons in Oxford, Bedford and Bristol. He was known for his concern for prisoner welfare, and for staff training. He forged close links with criminology departments at Oxford and Cambridge, in research and teaching. He was active in Quaker work on penal issues to the end of his life.
1920 – 1924
Quakers working in Germany during and after the First World War described children as desperately malnourished. British and American Quakers, supported by thousands of German volunteers, set up feeding centres across Germany. At its height in 1921, the Quäkerspeisung (Quaker feeding) programme provided food for one million children a day.
1920 – 1923
In the early 1920s, striking mine workers in West Virginia and Pennsylvania had been forced out of their homes and were living in tent cities. Welfare agencies had been pressurised by the mine operators into refusing to give aid. Quakers established a feeding programme for malnourished children and made clear their position that children should never be allowed to become the victims in such disputes.
1920 – 2020
From 1920 to 1968, Quakers in Aetoroa /New Zealand ran a co-educational boarding school in Whanganui. In 1976, the Quaker Settlement at Whanganui (known locally as Quaker Acres) was established at a site near the former boarding school. This is a permanent community, set in 20 acres of farmland. It is currently home to 23 settlers, ranging in age from pre-schoolers to over 70s. Its centre provides residential seminars that are open to all.
1921 – 2020
Ursula Franklin was a Canadian physicist, pacifist, feminist and Quaker. Her particular concerns are women’s rights, economic justice and for the environment.
1921 – 1929
British and American Quakers played a small but vital role in the international relief efforts in response to the Russian famine of 1921. They were the first group on the ground, took the lead in famine relief around the area of Buzuluk, where they had worked during earlier famines, and remained until 1929 to help with reconstruction.
1921 – 1929
Through the latter part of the 19th C and the early part of the 20th C, parts of Russia suffered a series of devastating crop failures resulting in widespread famine. Quakers repeatedly led relief efforts, but they struggled against resentment on behalf of both the Russian authorities and the public back home, and accusations that Russian troops were stealing supplies meant for civilians.
1929 – 2001
Hendrik van der Merwe was a South African Quaker academic and peacemaker. For 27 years, he was head of the Centre for Conflict Resolution at the University of Cape Town and was the founding president of the South African Association for Conflict Intervention.
Joseph Elder is an academic and lifelong Quaker peace activist with experience of mediating conflicts in Kashmir, Vietnam, Korea and Sri Lanka. He is currently professor of Sociology and Languages and Cultures of Asia at the University of Wisconsin, USA.
1931 – 2020
FCE provides Friends schools in the U.S. (and international affiliates) with leadership and support on Quaker matters. It aims to foster the Quaker ethos of Friends schools, and to maintain and enrich their relationships with the wider community of Friends. FCE serves as a voice for Friends education on national matters.
1931 – 2020
Pendle Hill was founded in 1931 and is based in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. It enables study of Quakerism and related topics. It offers a varied programme of courses and retreats and also opportunities for private study.
1931 – 2020
Canadian Friends Service Committee (CSFC) is the peace and service agency of Quakers in Canada, founded in 1931. It works with a wide range of partners at international, national and community levels, seeking to bring about long-term sustainable changes in our world.
1933 – 2001
Ruth Rittenhouse Morris (1933-2001) was a Canadian Friend who was one of the world’s leading advocates for prison abolition.
1936 – 2020
The central idea of therapeutic communities is that by living together in organised and caring environments, troubled individuals can find productive ways forward. Quakers have been instrumental in establishing and supporting several such communities.
1937 – 2030
Formed in 1937 the Friends World Committee for Consultation aims “to act in a consultative capacity to promote better understanding among Friends the world over.” It is an umbrella organisation for the +400,000 Friends around the world. Their purpose is to encourage fellowship among all the branches of the Religious Society of Friends wherever they may be. Their mission is summed up as “Answering God's call to universal love, FWCC brings Friends of varying traditions and cultural experiences together in worship, communications, and consultation, to express our common heritage and our Quaker message to the world”.
1938 – 1939
The Kindertransport scheme brought 10000 Jewish children to safety in Britain in 1938 and 1939, just before World War 2. British Quakers worked with British Jews to persuade Parliament to set up the scheme. German Quakers were largely responsible for arranging special trains and identifying the children and British Quakers and Jews found families to host them. Some went to Quaker families.
Diana Lampen (1940 -) and John Lampen (1938 -) have worked in peace and reconciliation in spheres ranging from a therapeutic community for young boys, via Derry in Northern Ireland in the lead up to the Good Friday peace accord, to their present work as peace educators with the Hope Project, which they set up in 1994.
1939 – 1953
The school was opened in 1940, near Peebles in Scotland. It was a residential school for boys who had been evacuated from large cities and sent to safer places. Most evacuees were billeted with families, but this was too difficult in some cases. Scottish Friends established Barns to cater for these children.
1939 – 1946
When war began in September 1939, the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) was immediately re-formed, to provide opportunities for active service for conscientious objectors. They worked in Britain, mainland Europe and in Asia, providing relief and medical assistance of many kinds. FAU was wound up in 1946, after the war was over.
1940 – 1945
The first section from the Friends Ambulance Unit to serve abroad during WWII went to Finland in January 1940, and then to Greece in March 1941, with the Red Cross. Sixteen were captured and several spent the remainder of the war in prisoner of war camps.
1940 – 1945
A key part of Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) training was time spent serving in British hospitals. But the FAU also provided air raid relief during the Blitz, in London and other bombed cities. They worked in rest centres and bomb shelters, set up Citizens’ Advice Bureaux and ran a summer camp for children. Some also volunteered as medical guinea pigs.
1941 – 1946
One of the best-known arms of the FAU during WWII was the China Convoy. From 1941 it helped to bring supplies to landlocked ‘Free China’ and undertook considerable medical and reconstruction work, in very challenging conditions.
1941 – 1943
A major part of the Friends Ambulance Unit’s (FAU) operations during the Second World War was undertaken in North Africa and the Middle East, working alongside the British and French armies.
Tim Newell was a prison governor for 38 years and worked latterly in Grendon Prison – the therapeutic community prison for serious offenders. He has helped with the development of Circles of Support and Accountability in the UK, with restorative practice in prisons and with the provision of services for victims of serious crime, those bereaved by homicide through Escaping Victimhood.
1942 – 2020
Bob Johnson (1942 - ) is a psychiatrist who has spent much of his professional life working with disturbed and dangerous prisoners, and researching the impact of different approaches. He believes that they can all be reached, and that none of them is untreatable. He challenges much current practice on account of this.
1943 – 2020
The Friends Committee on National Legislation, founded in 1943, is a Quaker lobby organisation in the USA. It seeks to bring spiritual values and Friends' testimonies to bear on public policy decisions at the Federal level. Its management committee brings together representatives from all three Quaker traditions in the US.
1943 – 1945
As the Allied advance began in 1943, the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) began to focus on civilian relief work in Europe. Starting in Italy and going on to Greece, Yugoslavia, France, the Netherlands and eventually Germany itself, they worked in refugee camps, provided medical relief, helped rebuild homes and dealt with malnutrition. They also took part in the relief of Sandbostel concentration camp.
1943 – 1946
From the outbreak of WWII until 1942, the American Friends Service Committee provided relief in southern France. When the US entered the war, American COs were prevented from serving abroad. They worked instead in Civilian Public Service Camps, some of which were run by the AFSC. AFSC gave considerable support to Interned Japanese-Americans.
Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a ground-breaking astrophysicist and also a prominent Quaker. Her discovery of pulsars changed the view of the life cycle of stars and helped confirm Einstein’s theory of gravitational waves. She has spoken widely about the relationship between scientific method and her Quaker faith.
1947 – 1950
Following the UN vote for a Partition Plan in 1947 to create independent Arab and Jewish states within Palestine, open war broke out in 1948. The war created a refugee crisis, both within Jerusalem and in Gaza. Quakers were at the forefront of relief efforts, and were among the first NGOs to work on behalf of the UN.
Quakers/Friends have been active behind the scenes at the United Nations from the beginning, and in the League of Nations before that. Each of the two main UN centres - New York and Geneva – has a Quaker House, staffed by a small team. They listen, they contribute, and they facilitate quiet dialogue and solution building, especially with regard to peace, justice and human rights.
1948 – 2020
One facet of the work of the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) is to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights through the United Nations.
1950 – 2020
Four North American Friends – Larry Apsey, Steve Angell, Ruth Rittenhouse Morris and Marc Forget - are singled out here because of their known, and major, contributions. AVP, nonviolent training, campaigns for prison abolition, and restorative justice, are key themes.
1950 – 2020
Quakers first came to Korea to provide humanitarian aid after the Korean War (1950-53). Several local Koreans became interested in Quakerism, including notably Ham Sok Hon, the ‘Gandhi of Korea’. Seoul Monthly Meeting remains a small but flourishing group.
1950 – 1964
The Quaker International Centre in Dhaka, in what is now Bangladesh, was set up by the American Friends Service Committee in 1950, and was jointly funded by the Friends Service Council of Great Britain. It was a centre for reconciliation work between India and Pakistan, as well as providing poverty relief and urban development. The centre was handed over to trained local staff in 1964.
1951 – 2020
This is a Quaker founded common trusteeship company set up by Ernest Bader. He and his family had built up an international chemical business, which they made over to a new charity in 1951. His aim was to preserve the gift of his company for the benefit of its present and future staff in perpetuity. All staff are now members of the Commonwealth and take part in democratic decision-making. The charity owns the company as a social rather than a financial investment.
1951 – 2020
The small Quaker community in Costa Rica was founded in 1951 by a group of eleven Quaker families from Alabama. Working with the local community, they set up Monteverde Friends School, a thriving dairy farm and other community farming projects, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and a Peace Centre.
Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, (1952- ) is perhaps the only Quaker and pacifist to have found themselves second in command of their country’s defence forces. She is a longstanding member of the ANC, and served as an MP and later in the Ministries of Defence and Health. She currently campaigns against the sex-trafficking of women.
1952 – 1957
In the aftermath of the Korean War (1950-53), The Friends Service Unit (FSU) – a joint arm of the British Friends Service Council (FSC) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – provided humanitarian and medical aid to refugees and others affected by the war.
1954 – 1975
Quaker action during the 1954-75 Vietnam War focused on three different areas – peaceful protest against the conduct of the war itself, counselling for American conscientious objectors of all faiths, and humanitarian aid to both North and South Vietnam. AFSC was also involved in many diplomats' conferences aimed at ending the war.
1958 – 2020
Since its establishment, Quaker Service Australia has endeavoured to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia to implement projects that are endorsed by and will benefit their local community. As the relationship between Australian indigenous and settler communities has changes, so has the nature of the projects undertaken.
1959 – 2020
Quaker Service Australia is an aid and development arm of Quakers in Australia. Founded in 1959, it now works in countries such as Cambodia, India, East Timor and Uganda. QSA aims for long term partnerships that work towards the goals of economic self-sufficiency and environmentally sustainable living.
1960 – 2020
From the early part of the 20th century, there has been a resurgence of Quaker input into criminal justice systems in the UK. The eight Friends featured here are in chronological order by date of birth. Another article features five earlier ones.
1960 – 2030
Casa de los Amigos is a Centre for Peace and International Understanding in Mexico City. Through its programs, community space, and social and cultural activities, the Casa promotes peace with justice, fosters understanding between groups and individuals, and supports the human dignity of every person.
1961 – 1972
In 1961, East and West Germany were cut off from each other, by the Berlin Wall. Quakers were respected and trusted by both sides, and were able to build a dialogue that eased some of the tensions.
1962 – 2020
Quakers were instrumental in setting up Amnesty International, in 1962. In 1961, Quaker Eric Baker wrote a newspaper article calling for the amnesty of all political prisoners. This began a campaign, involving many others, that culminated in the founding of Amnesty the following year.
1963 – 2020
At Kenyan independence in 1963, Friends mission schools became part of the state system, though Quakers still have an important role. Many new Friends schools have grown up. A rich discussion is developing between them, focusing on the Quaker ethos and teaching quality. The new Quaker Education Council has been set up to progress this
1963 – 1976
From 1963 to 1976, Canadian Friends Service Committee operated a Peace Education Centre on Grindstone Island, on Big Rideau Lake, south of Ottawa. The aim was to explore how nonviolence could be practised in hostile, threatening situations.
1964 – 2020
Glebe House in Cambridgeshire does internationally renowned specialist work with teenage males with sexual issues, often victims and/or offenders. Through a two to three year resident programme, many go on to become active and productive members of society. It was founded by East Anglian Quakers in the 1960s, and the trustees are Quakers to this day.
1965 – 1980
Quakers were heavily involved in mediation and relief work in Zimbabwe (then called Rhodesia) during the war for independence and majority rule (1965-1979). They acted as election observers during the first free and fair election in 1980 and afterwards continued to work on race relations issues.
1967 – 1970
In 1967, following communal violence, an area of Eastern Nigeria calling itself Biafra, sought independence. In the civil war that followed (1967-1970), the area was cut off from the rest of the world and its population suffered starvation. Three Quakers took part in mediation with the leaders on both sides. The American Friends Service Committee ran relief programmes.
1967 – 2020
Hlekweni (founded 1967) is a Quaker founded rural training centre outside Bulawayo, in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe, run by Zimbabweans, under the auspices of Central and Southern Africa Yearly Meeting and supported by Quakers around the world.
1970 – 2020
Restorative justice is based on repairing the harm done by wrongdoing. Offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for what they have done. Quakers are active in this, because this speaks to the good in everyone, and can bring about healing for victims, offenders and the community.
1974 – 2020
The Canadian Friends Service Committee set this up in 1974, in response to an armed confrontation between the Ojibway people and the Canadian government. The initial aim was to enable concerns to be heard and resolved in a nonviolent way. Since then QIAC has worked on many other issues to do with the human rights of indigenous peoples in Canada.
1974 – 2020
The Friends Disaster Services is a network of volunteers from across the USA that provides relief in the aftermath of natural disasters. The group is an outreach arm of the Evangelical Friends (or Friends’ Churches) in USA, but volunteers come from all branches of Friends. The FDS provides relief to any survivor, regardless of race, religion or ethnic persuasion.
1975 – 2020
Alternatives to Violence (AVP) was initiated by Quakers in the United States but is now an international movement independent from Quakers. AVP is based on the belief that everyone has within them the creative power to transform violent situations. Local AVP groups work mainly through workshops. Many groups are working in prisons, the context in which AVP originated, but AVP is now used in many other settings, such as schools.
1979 – 1993
QSA's biggest project to date has been the Cambodian English Language Training (CELT) Program. In 1985, they began working with the Ministry of Education in Phnom Pehn to provide English language training to government officials and to improve secondary school teachers' language abilities. The project was managed by QSA until 1993, during which class intakes grew from 15 to almost 150. The project was then handed over to Australia’s International Development programme, who continued to fund it until 1996.
1980 – 2020
Historic slavery was officially abolished in the 19th century. In the 20th century Quakers were part of a growing awareness of modern forms of slavery, and began to campaign against these.
1980 – 1991
Between 1980 and 1991, nearly one million Central Americans fled political repression and violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua and sought asylum in the US. For much of that time, however, asylum was refused. Founded in 1980 by two Quakers and a Presbyterian minister from Tucson Arizona, the Sanctuary Movement provided legal, financial and material aid to these refugees.
1980 – 2020
Quakers have often been caught up in communities involved in violent conflicts. In many cases they have been able to make a contribution to community reconciliation and to building peace for the future.
1981 – 2020
Peace Brigades International is a non-governmental organisation operating in conflict zones around the world, promoting non-violence and protecting human rights. It is not a Quaker organisation, but its work is grounded in Quaker and Gandhian principles, Quakers were instrumental in its establishment, and many Quakers still work with the organisation today. In 2001, PBI was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the American Friends Service Committee.
1982 – 2010
Quaker House Belfast was set up in 1982 ‘to further the work of reconciliation and of befriending all parties in Northern Ireland’ at a time of great communal tension. It played a unique role in cross-community dialogue and peace-building for many years. By 2010, this work had been taken up by many others, and the centre was finally wound up.
1985 – 2020
There are three international agencies involved. Two work at the level of the UN, and the third works at the level of the European Union. The three agencies collaborate extensively in seeking to inform and influence international guidelines on crime and justice matters.
1986 – 1999
Australian Quaker interest in the concept of Permaculture (a design for producing sustainable life-supporting systems on the smallest possible land area) led them to establish a ten-year partnership with VACVINA – a movement in Vietnam to re-establish traditional methods of smallholding in order overcome endemic hunger in deprived rural districts following the Vietnam War.
1987 – 2100
LEAP confronts conflict in young adults through drama. Through taking a leap of creativity, a participant may leap into change. The Quaker community arts group, the Leaveners, began it in 1987, working on theatre projects. Since 1999 it has been an independent charity and the scope of its work has diversified.
QEW (Quaker Earthcare Witness) is a network of Friends and other like-minded people seeking to address the ecological and social crises of the world from a spiritual perspective, emphasizing Quaker process and testimonies. They seek emerging insights into the nature of humankind’s ‘right relationship’ with the Earth.
1990 – 2020
AVP ‘s work is focussed on running experiential workshops to help people manage their violent feelings. In 1990 AVP started working in the UK, with support from Friends House, in London. In 1997 it became an independent organisation, AVP Britain, but there is still much Quaker involvement.