Quaker United Nations Office Annual Reports

The text of recently received Annual Reports are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below.

2011 Report 2012 Report 2013 Report 2014 Report 2015 Report
2016 Report  

2016 Annual Report

No report received.

2015 Annual Report

No report received.

2014 Annual Report

No report received.

2013 Annual Report

Bringing people together -Providing space for informal dialogue
QUNO often works behind the scenes, building trust by bringing together people from a range of backgrounds including diplomats, staff of non-governmental organizations, academics, experts and practitioners. By creating space for quiet dialogue, we help shape UN and other international priorities, and we bring attention to issues that are not yet on the international agenda. The reputation and atmosphere of our Quaker Houses allows for the emergence of more reflective and inclusive responses to difficult issues; ideas which might not be heard in more formal settings. The scale of international negotiations can feel challenging, but the trusting environment we provide, informed by Quaker methods, remains key to our work.

Engaging UN institutions - Building awareness and advancing key peace and justice agendas
The strength of QUNO’s work also lies in our long-term persistence. Through perseverance, we have helped to change attitudes, create new understandings, and develop new standards. For example, our work on child soldiers led to the topic being put on the UN agenda for the first time. Our focus on intellectual property helped achieve the adoption of the Development Agenda within the World Intellectual Property Organization, which aims to ensure that development considerations form an integral part of that organization’s work. Through our attention to disarmament, landmines and small arms issues, we have helped shape UN priorities for peacebuilding on the ground and we have upheld the value of reconciliation and dialogue across all levels of postconflict societies.

Research and publications - Developing an evidence base and identifying good practices
QUNO produces an extensive range of specialist publications. We are recognized as a catalyst, partnering with others to harness their expertise and knowledge and bringing existing work to the attention of policymakers. We have leading expertise on many areas including peacebuilding, conscientious objection to military service and the situation of women prisoners and children of prisoners. In our economic work, we emphasise the importance of equity and sustainability in the global food system, calling for greater dialogue between small scale farmers and international decision makers. For a list of our recent publications, see page 31.

Engaging young people - Involving Quakers and young people from around the world
Both New York and Geneva offices host one-year Programme Assistant positions, providing a unique capacity-building experience for young professionals interested in international processes. Many go on to work in the areas of human rights, disarmament, peacebuilding, development and diplomacy. In addition, every July, QUNO Geneva hosts a Summer School, giving around twenty five people an opportunity to learn more about QUNO and its activities at the UN. We have run our two-week summer school since 1955 and many participants have gone on to pursue careers in the UN and international affairs. For the full report, go here

2012 Annual Report


Dear Friends,

The Quaker United Nations Offices in Geneva and New York send warm greetings to Friends everywhere.

We write this soon after our return from the 6th World Gathering of Friends at Kabarak University in Kenya, humbled by the love and faithfulness of our Quaker sisters and brothers working in their communities around the world for peace and for justice. We heard from Friends from the South and from the North. We heard of concerns about violence and insecurity, of ecological degradation and climate change, of intolerance and exclusion, of rights denied and injustices left unaddressed, of corruption and rampant inequality. And we heard of wonderful, restorative work by Quakers and their partners, in communities and in the corridors of power, of needs met, wounds healed, and voices raised up. We return affirmed in our witness at the United Nations on behalf of all Friends.

In Geneva, we are thriving on exploring interconnections among different parts of what we do. In the evolution of our work on Peace & Disarmament, we discovered that the area of Conflict, Collaboration and Natural Resources, linked with our earlier focus on migration and climate change, brings together many of our interests. In our Human Rights & Refugees work, focused on women prisoners, children of prisoners and the right of conscientious objection to military service, new opportunities continue to present themselves –most recently in the neglected issue of the effect on children of having a parent or relative sentenced to death. Our work on Global Economic Issues is exploring whether international trade and intellectual property rules that treat food as a “commodity” are compatible with sustainable food production, especially by smallholder farmers in developing countries, and the provision of sufficient food for all. This links to a process of discerning a possible role for QUNO in the international climate change negotiations, a concern that has been reaching us from the World Gathering and from several Yearly Meetings.

In New York we continue to grapple with the challenges of peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict, working with partners on the ground and beyond New York to bring insights and lessons learned to inform decisions made by policy makers at the UN. We have facilitated and participated in high level discussions in New York, in Washington DC and in Geneva on prevention, on mediation, and on the intersection between peacebuilding and development, reinforcing our core messages of inclusion and reconciliation. In November we hosted, together with the American Friends Service Committee, a delegation of Chinese academics in a series of meetings with UN officials and NGOs in New York, to discuss different approaches to peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. We have facilitated a series of visits from peacebuilding experts and others to provide their insights on complex conflict-affected environments such as Liberia, Somalia, Myanmar, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And we continue to consult with member states as they deliberate on the appropriate response to situations of conflict and fragility around the world.

We strive to ensure that Quaker agencies doing international work know of and support each others’ work. In November, staff of all the Quaker agencies active at the UN met in Geneva, while in April we were pleased to help facilitate a meeting in London of the heads of Quaker Service Agencies worldwide (those with paid staff doing international work) which covered issues such as Friends’ work at a policy level, and the role Quaker service agencies might play in revitalizing the Society of Friends. Staff of QUNO New York and QUNO Geneva work together ever more closely – one symbol of this is our joint report of recent work, the QUNO Review 2011 which is available in English, French and Spanish through our website. This last year also saw fascinating personal description and analysis of QUNO work by our two longest serving staff members in recent times – by David Atwood in the Backhouse Lecture 2012 to Australia Yearly Meeting and by Rachel Brett in the Swarthmore Lecture 2012 to Britain Yearly Meeting. In building the future possibility of such magnificent contributions to peace and justice among people and nations, we see as vital the role of young people; thus we continue to offer one year Programme Assistantships and to organize the Geneva Summer School.

We thank Friends for your faithful support of our work, and ask you to hold us in your thoughts and prayers in the year to come.

In Friendship,
Jonathan Woolley, Andrew Tomlinson,
Director, Geneva Director, New York

2011 Annual Report

Dear Friends,

The Quaker United Nations Offices in Geneva and New York send warm greetings to Friends everywhere.

Over six decades, the Quaker UN Offices have steadily worked to represent Friends’ principles and values, as the world of the UN has changed significantly around us. Our aims are as they always have been: to provide a space away from the microphones for quieter and more reflective discussions on the challenges that face the international community, a place for Rufus Jones’ "quiet processes and small circles" in which he hoped that "vital and transforming events" would have an opportunity to flower; to represent voices that are insufficiently heard in the corridors of power; and to work quietly to foster approaches to international problems that are informed by Quaker insights.

In Geneva, QUNO-GVA is preparing for its annual UN Summer School, an important item on our annual calendar for nearly 50 years, which brings 25 young people to experience the life of the UN in Geneva. Major features of the Disarmament and Peace programme this year include efforts to deepen civil society engagement with issues around the relationship between armed violence and development, and continuing work in the area of small arms. QUNO-GVA also continues an active involvement in the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. The Human Rights and Refugees programme continues work on prison reform issues (particularly in relation to the treatment of female prisoners and children of prisoners),.and the right of conscientious objection to military service. Food security is a key focus of the Global Economic Issues programme, particularly regarding intellectual property protection on seeds. QUNO-GVA is also examining what kind of contribution it might be able to make on the global concern of climate change: early programme activities have focused on the relationship between climate change and migration.

New York’s core programs are on peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict. QUNO-NY has worked with diplomats and UN staffers in establishing priorities for UN peacebuilding on the ground, upholding the need to restore relationships at all levels in war-torn societies, emphasizing reconciliation and dialogue, and supporting the inclusion of voices from across all of society. This has involved collaboration with the American Friends Service Committee and Friends’ organizations on the ground in places such as Burundi. In the Prevention program, QUNO has worked on issues such as the prevention of election-related violence (including coordination with the Friends Church Peace Teams in Kenya as they prepare for the elections in 2012), and at a policy level QUNO-NY has been emphasizing the importance of local level peacemaking and the need to include all relevant stakeholders. QUNO-NY has also been working on the issue of changing global leadership, for example recently co-hosting a visit of Chinese scholars to Central Africa to experience UN peacebuilding and peacekeeping first hand.

This year will see a change in leadership at QUNO-GVA. Our heartfelt thanks go to David Atwood, who is retiring after sixteen years of service, and we welcome Jonathan Woolley, a British Friend with extensive development experience, who is coming in as the new Director.

We thank Friends for their faithful support of our work, and ask you to pray for us in the year to come.

In Friendship,

David Atwood, Director and Representative, Geneva

Andrew Tomlinson, Director and Representative, New York