This course addresses the challenges and issues that arise after a civil resistance movement has won. How do movements sustain and build on the gains they have made?

Unrest in Kenya surrounding human rights. Photo Courtesy of The New York Times/Evelyn Hockstein
Unrest in Kenya surrounding human rights. Photo courtesy of The New York Times/Evelyn Hockstein

Course Overview

The rise of nonviolent, people power movements around the world has become a defining feature of the 21st century. Organized citizen campaigns and movements using nonviolent methods are challenging formidable opponents: unaccountable governance, systemic corruption, institutionalized discrimination, environmental degradation, dictatorship, foreign military occupation, and violent extremism. Their “weapons” are not guns or bombs but rather protests, boycotts, sit-ins, civil disobedience, building of alternative institutions, and hundreds of other nonviolent tactics. Combined with the use of traditional political and legal means, these movements have and continue to shape political, social and economic change across the globe.

This course, part 3 of our civil resistance series, examines how nonviolent movements can sustain and build on the gains they have made and how to transition into stable, sound, and inclusive governance.

Learning Objectives

Participants in this course will:

  • Learn from a diverse set of activists, scholars and practitioners through stories, research, and exercises.
  • Transform how they analyze and think about conflict – its value, mode, and outcomes.
  • Engage with a growing community of learners and experts enrolled in the course through a continuous series of live, interactive, and collaborative online events.
  • Co-create new knowledge and insights to enhance and update the course as the field evolves.

Activists, civil society leaders, scholars, regional experts, policymakers from governments and international organizations, journalists, religious figures, educators/trainers, and those with a keen interest in how ordinary people are transforming conflicts through nonviolent action are encouraged to enroll and join this powerful global conversation.

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Chapter 1 - Post-Conflict Governance

This chapter introduces the challenges activists face after the movement and in sustaining their message. It discusses the role nonviolent campaigns have in establishing post-conflict democracy, highlighting the importance of good governance. It presents the strategic framework for stabilization and reconstruction.

Chapter 2 - From Protest to Politics

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the different types of actors that work to establish or re-establish a system of good governance and identify tensions that may arise in a post-conflict environment. It provides insight on sustaining civic engagement and how groups work to fight corruption, while examining case studies in India and Brazil.

Chapter 3 - Gender, Intersectionality, and Nonviolent Resistance

This chapter defines gender and examines the influence of gender dynamics on women’s contributions to nonviolent movements. It discusses the contributions intersectionality adds to a movement and why both gender and intersectionality are necessary to reflect on.

Chapter 4 - Conclusion

This chapter discusses the impact of Mohandas Gandhi’s work provided the framework for and inspired change in Poland. This chapter will assess the learner’s understanding of key concepts presented throughout this course and provide a space for learners to reflect on the course material.

Instructors and Guest Experts

Course Instructors

  • Daryn Cambridge, Professional Development Portfolio Manager, EPIC, Training Resources Group
  • Maria J. Stephan, former Director of the program on Nonviolent Action, U.S. Institute of Peace

Guest Experts

Related Publications

Digital Authoritarianism and Nonviolent Action: Challenging the Digital Counterrevolution

Digital Authoritarianism and Nonviolent Action: Challenging the Digital Counterrevolution

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

By: Matthew Cebul; Jonathan Pinckney

Nonviolent action campaigns are one of the most common ways citizens seek to peacefully change nonresponsive political systems. Yet recently developed and emergent technologies are transforming the nature of interactions between activists and authoritarian governments. This report examines the increasingly sophisticated set of tools—such as facial recognition and surveillance of social media platforms—authoritarian regimes are using to stifle nonviolent movements, and provides recommendations for how policymakers and activists can develop creative strategies for overcoming digital authoritarianism.

Type: Special Report

Nonviolent Action

Building a Peaceful Africa Through Arts, Culture and Heritage

Building a Peaceful Africa Through Arts, Culture and Heritage

Monday, July 26, 2021

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Across the continent, Africans are increasingly using the arts to reimagine their world and reclaim public space to reflect on what a more peaceful and prosperous Africa could look like. Indeed, the African Union (AU) has prioritized art for only the second time in its history with its 2021 theme, “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.” Leaders are hopeful that by channeling this surge in artistic expression, they can help create conditions to deliver peace to conflict-prone regions of the continent and implement the goals of the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Type: Blog

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How—and When—People Power Can Advance Peace Amid Civil War

How—and When—People Power Can Advance Peace Amid Civil War

Thursday, July 15, 2021

By: Luke Abbs; Marina G. Petrova

Despite a brief lull due to COVID-19 restrictions, the past few years have witnessed one of the largest waves of global nonviolent resistance in recent history, with 2019 widely being dubbed “the year of the protest.” These movements — from Myanmar to Colombia to India — are largely focused on pushing back against authoritarianism or redressing social injustices. Less heralded and discussed is the role of nonviolent action amid civil wars and peace processes. Strategic nonviolence can foster peace in these contexts as well — but the timing and tactics are key to success.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

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SNAP: Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding (Burmese)

SNAP: Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding (Burmese)

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

By: Nadine Bloch; Lisa Schirch

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Type: Toolkit

Nonviolent Action

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