Quakers were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 in recognition of the relief work they had undertaken during the Second World War. The Quaker United Nations Offices (QUNO) were founded in New York and Geneva in 1948 to support the Quakers’ search for lasting peace. QUNO now has General Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council.
In many parts of the globe the end of the Second World War did not usher in an era of peace and stability. Political upheavals in South Asia, the Middle East and the Far East brought about immense suffering. Quaker teams again undertook relief projects in Europe and further afield.
In recent decades the focus of Quaker work has moved from providing large-scale foreign relief to supporting local partners engaged in peace and reconciliation. Since the 1990s, Friends in Britain have worked in divided communities in Europe, Africa ,Asia and the Middle East. Modern Quaker work is supported by a recognised body, Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW).
The QUNO offices actively campaign in the areas of peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict, human rights and refugees, and global economic justice issues. QUNO campaigns include work to end the deployment of child soldiers, protection of the rights of refugees and stateless populations, and policies which address sustainability and migration in a context of climate change.