This micro-course explores the history and dynamics of nonviolent movements. It presents the categories of specific methods of nonviolent action and some of the key theories that inform civil resistance strategies and campaigns.

Liberian women rally against their country’s civil war, a campaign documented by the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” (Pewee Flomoku)
Liberian women rally against their country’s civil war, a campaign documented by the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” (Pewee Flomoku)

Course Overview

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of nonviolent action;
  • Define nonviolent civil resistance and how is it distinct from other forms of social and political action; and
  • Identify the principles and theories of power inform the practice of nonviolent action.

Agenda

Section 1 - Introduction to Nonviolent Action

Meet the course presenters and get a broad overview of what nonviolent action is and why it is important.

Section 2 - Definitions and Historical Context

Explains what nonviolent civil resistance is and how it differs from other forms of social and political action.

Section 3 - Stories from the Field

Examines how different campaigns and movements have waged nonviolent action and what accounts for their achievements and challenges.

Section 4 - Theory and Practice

Examines how power informs how nonviolent action is utilized and identifies principles and steps that should be kept in mind when practicing nonviolent action methods.

Section 5 - Quiz

Assesses your understanding and retention of key terms, concepts, and ideas presented in this course.

Section 6 - Scenario

Allows you to apply the knowledge you've gained throughout the course to a fictional conflict scenario.

Section 7 - Reflections

Allows you to share what you have learned and read what others have learned from this course and how these skills and knowledge will impact the work we do.

Featured Scenario: Protests in Quisada

The students declared a non-violent movement, and began by protesting in front of government buildings and a month later also started staging sit-ins in the midst of critical city intersections. This nonviolent movement is in danger of fading away without achieving its goals. Utilizing the knowledge gained throughout this course, you will determine how to best address this situation. In this course we present a scenario in which you can apply the theories and concepts covered in this course to a fictional situation. A scenario is comprised of situation examples and you are asked to determine the best solution to each situation.

Instructors and Guest Experts

Instructors

  • Maria Stephan, Director, United States Institute of Peace
  • Daryn Cambridge, Professional Development Portfolio Manager (EPIC), Training Resources Group, Inc.
  • Althea Middleton-Detzner, Director, PeaceTech Labs

Guest Experts

  • John Lewis, U.S. Congressman, Georgia
  • Erica Chenoweth, Associate Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver

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Negotiations Are the Only Way to End Afghan Conflict, Says Abdullah

Thursday, June 25, 2020

By: Adam Gallagher

The head of Afghanistan’s new peace council said yesterday that he is optimistic that intra-Afghan talks can start in the coming weeks, but increased levels of violence and details of prisoner releases may slow the start of talks. Chairman Abdullah added that the government’s negotiating team will be inclusive and represent common values in talks with the Taliban. The team “will be diverse and represent all walks of life,” Abdullah said. Afghans and analysts have expressed concern that without an inclusive negotiating team, the country’s hard-won, democratic gains could be compromised for the sake of a deal with the Taliban.

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North Korea Blew Up Its Liaison Office with the South. What Now?

North Korea Blew Up Its Liaison Office with the South. What Now?

Thursday, June 18, 2020

By: Frank Aum; Patricia M. Kim

North Korea’s demolition this week of an inter-Korean liaison office that symbolized North-South cooperation marks a new spike in tensions between the countries, and in North Korean frustration with the United States. It was the latest in a string of inflammatory rhetoric and actions directed at Seoul and Washington since the failure of the February 2019 summit in Hanoi between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The building’s demolition renews strains over North Korea’s ongoing development of a nuclear weapons arsenal, the corresponding global sanctions against Pyongyang’s illicit behavior and the 67-year failure to formalize a peace treaty following the Korean War. USIP analysts Patricia Kim and Frank Aum discuss the latest downturn.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Afghan President Ghani: Freeing Prisoners Can Speed Peace Talks

Afghan President Ghani: Freeing Prisoners Can Speed Peace Talks

Thursday, June 11, 2020

By: USIP Staff

Afghanistan’s government is accelerating its release of thousands of Taliban prisoners as a step toward peace talks, President Ashraf Ghani told an online audience today. The number of prisoners freed should now surpass 3,000, Ghani said, announcing that 2,000 more will be released “within a very short period.” That move, taking the total of freed Taliban fighters to 5,000, would fulfill a central Taliban pre-condition for peace talks. Ghani voiced optimism that a rare “window of opportunity” has opened for peace negotiations, but said further steps are vital to seize the chance to end the nation’s 40-plus years of warfare.

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