"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."
Friends Seminary’s Center for Peace, Equity & Justice* supports student and faculty development of the core values of equality, diversity, and community engagement, which reflects Quaker testimonies and their accompanying legacy of activism. The Center brings together academic, social, and cultural programs that contribute to wider movements for social change. By connecting theory to real-world practice, the Center stresses learning through action, and equips students and faculty with global competencies that allow them to realize their human capacity to bring about the world that ought to be. Through its programs and course offerings, grounded in Quaker philosophy and practice, the Center seeks to connect ideas, resources, and people to advance social justice, build inclusive and sustainable communities, and foster lifelong commitments to public service.

CPEJ Purview & Programming Includes:

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • Quaker Education

    At the heart of a Quaker education at Friends is the belief that there is “that of God”—or “the Light”—within each person. This essential tenet informs all that we do, beginning with creating a community that honors the humanity and the unique gifts and challenges of each student. The Quaker testimonies of community, integrity, peace, equality, stewardship and simplicity underpin our school culture and curriculum. A Quaker education cultivates curious learners who “practice truth-seeking and know the various ways this can be accomplished—through inquiry, scientific investigation, reflection, creative expression, critical thinking, dialogue, worship, and service.” (from Friends Council on Education)
  • Diversity, Equity & Belonging

    As a Quaker school, the work of diversity, equity and belonging has been an integral piece of the fabric of our school since its inception over 230 years ago. Our vision is to create a community where everyone experiences a sense of belonging as soon as they walk through the doors of our building. We celebrate the fact that we all hold multiple identities, and we aim to ensure that everyone can stand proudly in their racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic identities.

    We ensure that diversity, equity and belonging come to life within our curriculum, our school structures, our policies and our overall programming. We approach this work in several ways, from creating affinity spaces for students from historically marginalized identities, to learning about the diverse histories that make up our community. We also create programming to learn and listen about important topics such as racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, sexism or homophobia in developmentally appropriate ways, while simultaneously celebrating our various cultural traditions and accomplishments.

    We understand that a diverse community fosters a rich and compassionate learning environment for everyone—students and adults alike.

    Click here to learn more about Diversity, Equity & Belonging at Friends Seminary.
  • Community Engagement

    The dedication to community engagement, stewardship and service is palpable at Friends Seminary. All members of our community—from our youngest learners, to Middle and Upper School students, to families, alumni and faculty and staff—seek not only to serve, but to learn about and meaningfully address issues of social injustice and community need. We strive to educate our students to become more knowledgeable, purposeful and responsible participants in the community who collaborate with local, national and global partners through relationships of reciprocity. In doing so we guide students to build crucial understanding about social injustice through listening, observation, dialogue and action.
  • Global Education

    Through a range of curricular and co-curricular offerings, community engagement, and meaningful local, national and international experiences, students grow their knowledge and skills, while also developing the empathy necessary to understand and address shared global challenges. Global education at Friends seeks to encourage curiosity and open-mindedness, underscore our shared humanity, and engage students’ own sense of shared responsibility and stewardship for our future and a more just world.

    Click here to learn more about Global Education at Friends Seminary.
* The Center for Peace, Equity & Justice was first named in the School’s 2008-2012 strategic plan: We will establish a center to promote peace, equity, and justice. All current Quaker values-based programs at Friends, such as Diversity, Service and Peace Week, will be brought under the care of the Center so that the work of these programs will gain synergy, strength and focus.

Our Quaker Foundation

"Quaker education is directly opposed to violence and to the violent expressions of hatred, racism, white supremacy, and xenophobia. Quaker schools are committed to teaching students habits of heart and mind, the foundation of which is a culture of openness and respect for every member of our community regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, place of national origin, gender identity or gender expression."
From "Quaker Schools Stand for Peace, Justice, Respect, and Social Action," August 2019, Friends Council on Education

Contact Us

Director of the Center for Peace, Equity & Justice
(646) 979-5103
Director of Diversity, Equity & Belonging
(646) 979-5126
CPEJ Specialist for Community Engagement
(646) 979-5106

Ava Heller
CPEJ Specialist for Diversity, Equity & Belonging
(646) 979-5107
The Center is led by a team of diversity, equity, and belonging practitioners who are committed to a service-learning approach to teaching and learning that promotes peace, justice, and equity.

The Center’s staff serve as the lead facilitators in instituting academic, social, and cultural programming, as well as professional growth and development strategies in these areas. However, Friends Seminary believes it is everyone’s responsibility to serve as an advocate for underrepresented groups and to help foster an inclusive climate that promotes a more peaceful world through civic engagement. Toward that end, the Center staff will work collaboratively with all constituencies: students, faculty, administrators, parents, alums, the Board of Trustees, and NYQM members.

Friends Seminary actively promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in all its programs and operations, including admissions, financial aid, hiring, and all facets of the educational experience. To form a community which strives to reflect the world’s diversity, we do not discriminate on the basis of race or color, religion, nationality, ethnicity, economic background, physical ability, sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. Friends Seminary is an equal opportunity employer.

222 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
P: 212-979-5030
F: 212.979.5034
Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.