American Friends Service Committee

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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American Friends Service Committee

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), organization est. 1917 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) that provides social services and information to the public in an attempt to promote international peace and reconciliation. Based in Philadelphia, it maintains offices throughout the United States. During World War I it supplied Quakers and other conscientious objectors with noncombat service roles, such as positions in relief programs and ambulance corps. Since then, it has widened its mission to provide humanitarian aid worldwide, e.g., relief and rehabilitation for victims of war and resettlement and aid for refugees. It has also worked to end capital punishment, ameliorate poverty, and promote human rights. In 1947 the AFSC shared the Nobel Peace Prize with its British counterpart, the Friends Service Council. Since the 1950s the organization has increasingly focused on programs of social and technical assistance "designed to relieve the tensions that lead to war."

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