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Thousands of civilians have been killed, and millions more have been displaced by the war in Ukraine. World leaders have attempted to bring the conflict to an end by funneling tens of billions of dollars in weapons to Ukraine and imposing maximum sanctions on Russia. Yet one year later, we are no closer to peace.

Amid calls for more weapons to win battlefield victories, we affirm the enduring power of building peace through peaceful means. We urge robust, persistent, and creative diplomacy and peacebuilding to bring about a just and durable solution to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends, spelled it out in his 1660 declaration to King Charles II, often cited as the Quaker Peace Testimony:

“Our principle is, and our practices have always been, to seek peace, and ensue it, and to follow after righteousness and the knowledge of God, seeking the good and welfare, and doing that which tends to the peace of all. All bloody principles and practices we do utterly deny, with all outward wars, and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever, and this is our testimony to the whole world.”

Many wars and injustices have tested this testimony since it was first declared, and our experience continues to affirm its truth. Our Quaker Peace Testimony envisions a world transformed by the Love that lives in the hearts of all people. It is deeply rooted in the teachings and life of Jesus Christ and reflected by many other faiths. It is included in the beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacekeepers for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).

This belief powers our actions today as we actively pursue a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine. Pursuing peace through diplomacy, and not through weapons, is not surrender. An enduring peace must also come with justice.

Late last year, my fellow leaders of eight Quaker organizations affirmed our Peace Testimony as it applies to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We affirmed four actions: refusing to kill, relieving suffering, building the institutions of peace and supporting peacebuilding, and removing the causes of war. Each of these remains relevant and actionable today.

“Whichever way this war ends, we are realistic that healing and sustainable peacemaking will in all likelihood take more than a generation and will only be possible through inclusive and sustainable processes from the international to the local,” we wrote then.

That process must begin now.

Bridget Moix

Bridget Moix

General Secretary

Bridget Moix is the fifth General Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). She also leads two other Quaker organizations, affiliated with FCNL: Friends Place on Capitol Hill and FCNL Education Fund.