How can nonviolent movements maintain momentum when the COVID-19 pandemic makes protesting on the streets a threat to the health and safety of their members? Coronavirus has presented major challenges for activists and nonviolent movements around the world who are working to advance peace and justice. From Hong Kong to Algeria, activists and peacebuilders are confronting the need to innovate tactically and adapt their strategies amid national lockdown orders, social distancing, and other measures intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus.


Join USIP and activists and peacebuilders from South Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela for a discussion on how nonviolent movements are confronting and adjusting to their new operating environments, how they are spreading awareness about the virus and safety measures in their communities, and how they envision the post-coronavirus era in their societies.  

The panelists will also share how they are maintaining resilience against repression and using opportunities created by the pandemic to advance their demands for peace and justice. The discussion will also include external actors offering insights into how international donors can provide support to grassroots groups and movements in ways that help them to respond flexibly to their changing environments and to better meet the needs of their communities. 
 

Speakers

Maria Stephan
Director, Nonviolent Action, U.S. Institute of Peace

Nelson Kwaje 
Director of Programs, #DEFYHATENOW

Rajaa Altalli 
Co-founder and Co-director, Center for Civil Society and Democracy

Alba Purroy 
Social Activist; Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding Trainer

Michael Silberman
Global Director, Mobilisation Lab 

Katherine Zavala
Director of Grassroots Partnerships, Thousand Currents

Related Publications

In South Sudan, the Hope and Pain of Nonviolence

In South Sudan, the Hope and Pain of Nonviolence

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

By: Yeng Lambo

After 3 a.m., my cellphone rang with the voices of relatives shouting that South Sudan’s spasms of violence had struck our family. In the night, armed youths of a rival community had ambushed a cattle camp of my clan, killing my cousins and other young cowherds as they slept, and stealing more than 400 cattle. Men from of my clan were gathering guns to race into the darkness to counterattack. If my country is ever to have peace, we must break such cycles of vengeance. So, I pleaded with my elder aunts and uncles to prevent that battle. I still do not know if we have truly succeeded.

Type: Blog

Nonviolent Action

In South Sudan, Civic Activists Take On COVID

In South Sudan, Civic Activists Take On COVID

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

By: Nelson Kwaje; Nicholas Zaremba

For South Sudan, COVID-19 is simply the newest plague. The world’s youngest country already faces civil war, repression, displacement, economic collapse, climate change, hunger—even swarming locusts. South Sudan’s people enter the fight against COVID under nearly the worst conditions of human development, and with 39 percent of them displaced by warfare. With a government that has been unable to provide even basic services, South Sudanese must rely on their emerging civil society, and international partnerships, to organize much of their response to the pandemic. Yet COVID now threatens vital international help for such grassroots campaigns.

Type: Blog

Nonviolent Action; Global Health

COVID Raises the Stakes for Zimbabwe’s Civil Society Movement

COVID Raises the Stakes for Zimbabwe’s Civil Society Movement

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

By: Miranda Rivers; Precious Ndlovu

Countries worldwide that suffer or risk violent conflicts face a new hazard amid the COVID-19 pandemic: governments’ use of the disease as a pretext to curtail democratic freedoms and punish opposition. As COVID has spread across Africa, Zimbabwe is emerging as one of the countries most vulnerable to the disease—and most illustrative of its threat to peace and democratization efforts on the continent. Two and a half years after a military coup installed President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his government has used the health crisis to arrest members of the opposition and journalists, and divert humanitarian aid to ruling party supporters.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Health; Nonviolent Action

People Power’s Transformative Role in America’s National Reckoning

People Power’s Transformative Role in America’s National Reckoning

Monday, June 22, 2020

By: Miranda Rivers; Nicholas Zaremba; Maria J. Stephan

Since the murder of George Floyd, protests against police brutality and anti-Black racism have shaken the United States, with shockwaves reverberating around the world. Demonstrators have come out in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and over 1,600 towns and cities across the country, representing the broadest protests in U.S. history. Elsewhere, there have been global solidarity protests for Black Lives Matter and demonstrations calling for an end to racism in Tunis, Pretoria, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, and dozens of other cities around the world. The Black-led popular uprising has led to a national reckoning on the issue of systemic racism and police brutality against Black people in the United States.

Type: Blog

Nonviolent Action

View All Publications