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.
  • Elaborate on how and why nonviolent action is such an effective approach in bringing about political, economic, and social change.
  • Define nonviolent civil resistance and how is it distinct from other forms of social and political action.
  • Identify the principles and theories of power to inform the practice of nonviolent action.
  • Connect the theories and principles of nonviolent action to its practical application.

Agenda

Section 1 - Introduction

Introduces the importance of nonviolent action through real-world stories and asks the learner to reflect on their prior knowledge.

 

Section 2 - Pillars

Defines nonviolent action as well as its basic historical foundations and principles.

Section 3 - Tools

Introduces the primary tools and methods of nonviolent action.

Section 4 - Application

Explores how the tools discussed in the previous chapter are applied in real-life nonviolent action campaigns. Learners will then get the opportunity to complete a scenario that allows them to assess a nonviolent action campaign.

Section 5 - Conclusion

Provides a space for self-reflection and tests retention while earning a certificate.

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

Guest Experts

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

Related Publications

Comment—et quand—le pouvoir populaire peut faire avancer la paix dans un contexte de guerre civile

Comment—et quand—le pouvoir populaire peut faire avancer la paix dans un contexte de guerre civile

Thursday, August 19, 2021

By: Luke Abbs; Marina G. Petrova

Malgré une brève accalmie due aux restrictions liées à la COVID-19, ces dernières années ont été témoins de l'une des plus grandes vagues de résistance non-violente mondiale de l'histoire récente, 2019 étant largement surnommée “l'année de la protestation.” Ces mouvements – du Myanmar à la Colombie en passant par l'Inde – sont largement axés sur la lutte contre l'autoritarisme ou la réparation des injustices sociales. Moins annoncé et discuté est le rôle de l'action non-violente dans les contextes de guerres civiles et des processus de paix. La non-violence stratégique peut également favoriser la paix dans ces contextes, mais le timing et les tactiques sont la clé du succès.

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¿Cómo y cuándo puede el poder popular promover la paz durante guerras civiles?

¿Cómo y cuándo puede el poder popular promover la paz durante guerras civiles?

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A pesar de una breve pausa debida a las restricciones de la COVID-19, en los últimos años hemos visto una de las mayores olas de resistencia no violenta a nivel mundial y 2019 fue catalogado como "el año de la protesta". Estos movimientos – desde Myanmar hasta Colombia y la India – se centran en gran medida en la lucha contra el autoritarismo o en subsanar injusticias sociales. Menos difundido y discutido es el papel de la acción no violenta en medio de las guerras civiles y los procesos de paz. La no violencia estratégica puede fomentar la paz también en estos contextos, pero el momento y la táctica son la clave del éxito.

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From the Street to the Peace Table: Nonviolent Mobilization during Intrastate Peace Processes

From the Street to the Peace Table: Nonviolent Mobilization during Intrastate Peace Processes

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

By: Véronique Dudouet

Though nonviolent grassroots movements often help spur transitions to peace and democracy, they are rarely invited to play a role in formal peace processes. Yet these movements can and do influence the course and content of peace negotiations and contribute to the quality and durability of the resulting peace. This report examines the strategies they employ and provides insights for grassroots movements currently mobilizing for peace or change in Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.

Type: Peaceworks

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Mobilization, Negotiation, and Transition in Burkina Faso (French)

Mobilization, Negotiation, and Transition in Burkina Faso (French)

Thursday, August 5, 2021

By: Eloïse Bertrand

En octobre 2014, un soulèvement populaire massif a destitué le président de longue date du Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, et conduit à une transition menée par des civils, laquelle a abouti à des élections libres et équitables en novembre 2015. Ce rapport illustre l’importance de la culture nationale du dialogue et du consensus et les avantages d’un vaste et solide réseau entre les groupes de négociation. Bien que la violence dans le pays ait augmenté depuis lors, les enseignements tirés de la transition au Burkina Faso peuvent être d’une aide précieuse pour guider les efforts de mobilisation populaire, les négociations et les perspectives de paix et de démocratie à long terme dans d’autres contextes.

Type: Special Report

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