Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. Edwin Martini
Dr. Nora Faires
Dr. Howard Dooley
Masters Thesis-Campus Only
This thesis explores the peace-building activities of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Israel between 1950 and 1961 as a parallel narrative to formal, government-led attempts at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This detailed case study combines religion, non-governmental organizations (NGO), and an expanded definition of "diplomacy" to challenge traditional notions of a strictly state-based international system.
The AFSC, a Quaker-based NGO, sustained activities (including an agricultural development project, a community center, and a series of young adult work camps) that were solidly grounded in a strong religious tradition which emphasized the importance of each individual person, the unity of all humankind, the power of human relationships, and the merits of a gradual approach in peacefully overcoming conflicts and tensions. Influenced by these principles, the organization provided a bottom-up approach to peace-building in Israel, working at the local level with common villagers and farmers. Such an outlook stands in contrast to many top-down, governmental efforts. However, the AFSC encountered financial complications as well as external tensions outside of its control that limited its effectiveness.
Bonenfant, "A "Human" Diplomacy: The American Friends Service Committee in Israel, 1950-1961" (2011). Master's Theses. 3750.