Citizens around the world are using nonviolent action to push for social change. The recent anti-government protests in Iran are just one example, as are movements for peaceful and fair elections in Kenya and Honduras. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others refined and implemented these nonviolent strategies and tactics during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and they can be combined with peacebuilding approaches to transform violent conflict abroad. To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a series of expert panels on Facebook focused on this combination of peacebuilding and nonviolent action.

crowd protesting

The series of discussions focused on the strategic civil resistance and peacebuilding methods used by Dr. King and how they are being successfully applied in various contexts today. Activists like Abdallah Hendawy and Ivan Marovic, who participated in nonviolent action campaigns in Egypt and Serbia, respectively, joined peacebuilding experts to examine how nonviolent tactics like protest and non-cooperation work with peacebuilding practices, such as dialogue and negotiation, to resolve violent conflict and advance positive social change.

Detailed below, each part of the series addressed different aspects of nonviolent action and peacebuilding. Each discussion was held live on Facebook from 11:30am – 12:30pm on January 16, 17, and 18.

Applying Conflict Analysis to Nonviolent Action

Tuesday, January 16, 11:30am – 12:30pm


Lisa Schirch
Research Director, Toda Peace Institute and Senior Policy Advisor, Alliance for Peacebuilding

Nadine Bloch
Training Director, Beautiful Trouble

Ivan Marovic
Founder of the Serbian student resistance movement Otpor

Daryn Cambridge, moderator
Senior Program Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace

Using Negotiation in Nonviolent Action

Wednesday, January 17, 11:30am – 12:30pm


Sarah Thompson
Former Executive Director, Christian Peacemaker Teams

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

Daryn Cambridge, moderator
Senior Program Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace

Dialogue and Reconciliation in Nonviolent Action

Thursday, January 18, 11:30am – 12:30pm


Abdallah Hendawy
Egyptian Activist and Political Commentator

David Jehnsen
Chair and Founding Trustee, Institute for Human Rights and Responsibilities

Related Publications

How the Catholic Church Can Bolster Alternatives to Violence

How the Catholic Church Can Bolster Alternatives to Violence

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

By: Maria J. Stephan

The Catholic Church, with its 2.1 billion adherents worldwide, has been pivotal in some of the most significant nonviolent struggles in modern history. Many will recall the iconic image of Filipino religious sisters confronting military forces and a kleptocratic dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in prayerful resistance during the 1986 “people power” revolution. Today, Filipino religious leaders, facing another violent dictator, Rodrigo Duterte, once again are the leading face of nonviolent resistance. The Vatican is discussing these and other examples of powerful nonviolent movements as it rethinks its long-held doctrine of “just war.”

Religion; Nonviolent Action

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