In 1947, the American Friends Service Committee and Friends Service Council in Britain accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of all Quakers. As a Nobel laureate, AFSC is able to nominate a candidate for the Peace Prize to the Oslo Committee. In 2011 I joined the committee that chooses that nominee on behalf of the AFSC, and in 2012 I became the Clerk (chair) of that task group. It currently consists of thirteen people, including one representative from Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW), representing Britain Yearly Meeting.
Before becoming involved in this work, I would have most likely assumed that thousands or tens of thousands of nominations come in to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo each year. In fact, there is a rather restrictive list of people and organizations who are allowed to put forward nominations, including Nobel laureates. The largest number of annual submissions on record to date is still fewer than 350, and Quakers have the privilege of making one of those. We are also aware of the fact that the nomination in and of itself has the power to shine light on good work being done, even if the Nobel Peace Prize is not awarded to our nominee.
To see a list of Quaker nominations since 1947, click here.
The committee is tasked with considering possible nominees, researching and vetting candidates proposed by ourselves and others. We spend eleven months each year working via conference calls and email, then in the fall we travel to Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center near Philadelphia, to discern our final choice together and draft a letter of nomination. If approved by the AFSC Board, that nomination is sent to Oslo in January. I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to do this work, and profoundly impressed by the people with whom I get to serve on the committee, many of whom are engaged in their own impressive humanitarian and social justice efforts.
If you would like to put forward a candidate, we accept nominees each year between February and May. We ask that you please provide supporting information with your nomination. Before submitting a name, please read through the guidelines we consider in that discernment, and help us to understand why you find this candidate compelling. More information about the AFSC’s process and guidelines, as well as a pdf form for submitting a possible nominee, are here.