Quaker work against armed violence highlighted

Quakers have been recognised among the 100 most influential global actors in armed violence reduction in a new list published by Action on Armed Violence.

Andrew Tomlinson and Jonathan Woolley, the directors of the Quaker United Nations Office in New York and Geneva, have been jointly named in the list, under the section of NGO and not-for-profit leaders.

The QUNO directors are accompanied in the list by international figures such as former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, actor Angelina Jolie and religious leader the Dalai Lama.

Andrew was clear that they were representing many colleagues. “QUNO staff have been working on this issue for decades, in Geneva and New York,” he said. “We’ve supported negotiations on disarmament, advocated for local perspectives in peacebuilding, upheld the need for reconciliation and dialogue and researched links between violence and development.”

“Like Quakers in general, we tend not to publicise our work but instead just get on and do it”, said Diane Hendrick, associate representative for peace and disarmament at QUNO’s Geneva office. “However, we are glad to be recognised by others and we hope this will help us further increase our effectiveness as we continue.”

While admitting that lists are “a necessary evil in the modern world,” Iain Overton of AOAV said that their list was important: “The people on it are truly influential – they have proven track records of mobilising change, reforming wrongs and reducing the impact of armed conflict.”

Gretchen Castle, general secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation said: “FWCC, on behalf of Friends around the world, is delighted to hear that Andrew Tomlinson and Jonathan Woolley have received this recognition.  It is a direct result of the exceptional work of  the QUNO team in both New York and Geneva, and it affirms Andrew’s and Jonathan’s leadership contribution.  We can all celebrate the depth of understanding of how Quakers work – using small circles and deep listening, initiating conversations that might not happen otherwise.  We are blessed that the QUNO staff has such an appreciation of these processes and are able to use them to great effect.”

Quakers in Britain were also quick to show appreciation for the position of QUNO on the AOAV list. They stated: “For many years Quakers in Britain have worked in close collaboration with QUNO to promote nonviolence, disarmament and challenge militarism. We are delighted that this important work  has been given international recognition.”

The Quaker United Nations Office, based in Geneva and New York, has been representing the concerns of Quakers to the UN since 1948. It works on areas including: prevention of violent conflict, peacebuilding, human rights & refugees, food & sustainability and the human impacts of climate change.

The Action On Armed Violence ‘most influential people in armed violence reduction’ list is available at: http://aoav.org.uk/2013/top-100-the-most-influential-people-in-the-world-of-armed-violence/.


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