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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Agenda

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.

Course Instructors

Maria J. Stephan

Maria J. Stephan

Guest Experts

  • Althea Middleton-Detzner, Director, Peacebuilding Engineers Program, PeaceTech Lab
  • Shaazka Beyerle, Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Kathleen Kuenhast, Director, Gender Policy and Strategy, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Illana Lancaster, Senior Program Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Debra Liang-Fenton, Senior Program Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Alison Milofsky, Director, Curriculum and Training Design, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ann-Sofie Jesperson, Board Member, Rhize

Related Publications

Protests Test Nigeria’s Democracy and its Leadership in Africa

Protests Test Nigeria’s Democracy and its Leadership in Africa

Thursday, October 22, 2020

By: Oge Onubogu

Nigeria’s protests against police brutality already were the largest in the country’s history before security forces opened fire on a crowd in Lagos on October 20. The protest and bloodshed have only heightened the need for the government in Africa’s most populous country to end the pattern of violence by security forces against civilians. Leaders must finally acknowledge that this brutality has fueled violent extremism. How the Nigerian government will respond to citizens’ insistent demand for accountable governance will influence similar struggles—for democracy, accountability, nonviolence and stability—across much of Africa.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Violent Extremism; Democracy & Governance; Nonviolent Action

Nonviolent Action in Myanmar: Challenges and Lessons for Civil Society and Donors

Nonviolent Action in Myanmar: Challenges and Lessons for Civil Society and Donors

Friday, September 18, 2020

By: La Ring; Khin Sandar Nyunt; Nist Pianchupat; Shaazka Beyerle

The National League for Democracy’s decisive victory in Myanmar’s 2015 elections inspired hopes of a full transition from military rule and an opening of civil space. Neither has materialized, and the groups working to advance social, political, and economic change in Myanmar continue to face significant challenges. Focusing on three cases of organized nonviolent action in Kachin, Mandalay, and Yangon, this report explores the divide that has opened between civil society and the NLD government and the rifts emerging within civil society itself.

Type: Special Report

Nonviolent Action

Curbing Corruption after Conflict: Anticorruption Mobilization in Guatemala

Curbing Corruption after Conflict: Anticorruption Mobilization in Guatemala

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By: Walter Flores; Miranda Rivers

This report analyzes the fight against corruption in Guatemala by social movements over the past five years, homing in on their major successes and challenges in working to advance transparency, accountability, and good governance. The lessons drawn from these efforts can be applicable for other movements around the world operating in similar contexts. The work also has a larger bearing for international actors helping states build peace and democratic governance following prolonged violent conflict.

Type: Special Report

Nonviolent Action

Mali’s Coup: Harbinger of Hope or Uncertainty

Mali’s Coup: Harbinger of Hope or Uncertainty

Thursday, September 10, 2020

By: Anushka Bose; Jonathan Pinckney

Last year was one of the most dramatic years of nonviolent action in recent memory, with millions taking to the streets to push for greater economic equality, democratic representation, and social justice. Some of the most dramatic uprisings took place in Africa, where longstanding repressive political regimes were forced from power in Sudan and Algeria, and protests over fuel prices in Zimbabwe led to a government crackdown. The recent almost entirely bloodless coup Mali, in which soldiers abducted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and forced him to resign capped a similar uprising, but is complicated by the role of the military in the president’s ouster and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Nonviolent Action

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