Throughout the Cold War, AFSC opened ways for Soviets and Americans to connect and form personal bonds. In 1964, we initiated a series of exchanges among academics, journalists, and disarmament specialists. Emerging young leaders met separately in a series known as the Tripartite Dialogues. By 1986, representatives of nations then known as “Third World” were added, to give a voice to the countries suffering from superpower dynamics.

For years, AFSC staff also supported the human rights of Roma communities in Central Europe. When war erupted in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, AFSC offered support to all people affected by the violence. While our Emergency Material Assistance Program (EMAP) sent material aid, our Peace Education Division worked to organize a domestic response to the NATO bombing of Kosovo. In the aftermath of war, we brought former enemies together in a community gardening program in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These programs each worked to overcome antagonisms and reveal our common humanity.

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  • Four people stand in a room together, talking in pairs.
    Lauramara Pixton (2nd from right), hosts an AFSC “reciprocal seminar” in 1970, where professors, journalists, and leaders formed lasting personal bonds.
  • Children, young adults, and adults sit together in a field, facing a man who is speaking.
    At this 1963 Tripartite work camp project in the USSR, young leaders from England, the U.S., and USSR related as people, not representatives of ideologies.
  • Large collection of refugee tents at the base of a hill, some with laundry drying on laundry lines strung between two tents.
    In 1999, just two of the Macedonian refugee camps serving people fleeing the NATO bombing in Kosovo held 4,700 people. AFSC also helped people in camps in Bosnia and Hungary.
  • Nine people stand together in a field with buildings in the background.
    Beginning in 2000, AFSC created a series of multiethnic community gardens in and around Sarajevo to help hungry families generate food and income while healing the scars of war.
  • Two men with name tags stand in a room, talking to one another.
    AFSC’s Michael Simmons (left) organized a seminar that brought together Roma activists with leaders from the American civil rights movement in 1995.
  • Four children work on a puzzle together.
    House of Friends in Mitrovica, Kosovo, offered a haven for Roma youth in a city divided into insular north-south ethnic enclaves after the 1999 war.