Individuals and organizations facing restrictive, oppressive and/or authoritarian forms of governance may be able to employ hundreds of nonviolent methods to amplify their voices, challenge power dynamics and press for reform. Tactics include protests, boycotts, sit-ins, civil disobedience and alternative institutions. Nonviolent resistance has been shown empirically to be twice as effective as armed struggle in achieving major political goals. The U.S. Institute of Peace promotes nonviolent approaches through education and training in strategic nonviolent action and movement-building; applied research on such movements and the efficacy of outside support; and publications that inform the work of policymakers to advance alternatives to violence.

Featured Publications

Nancy Lindborg on the Role of People Power in Global Security

Nancy Lindborg on the Role of People Power in Global Security

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

By: Nancy Lindborg

Returning from the Halifax International Security Forum, USIP President and CEO Nancy Lindborg explains why the growing number of “people power” movements around the world have left her optimistic, saying “the notion of what constitutes national security continues to evolve…security includes governments that are responsive to the needs of their people.”

Type: Podcast

Nonviolent Action; Global Policy

Conflict Prevention in Kenya: Combating Corruption through Nonviolent Action

Conflict Prevention in Kenya: Combating Corruption through Nonviolent Action

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

By: Tabatha Thompson; Hussein Khalid

The relationship between corruption and violent conflict is complex and significant. Corruption affects access to basic services, contributes to resource scarcity, and fuels organized crime. It was included on a European Commission checklist for the root causes of conflict, and it was cited as a potential driver of extremism in the 2019 report of the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States. Focusing on several social movements in Kenya, this report reviews the efforts of collective civic action to combat corruption and advance transparency, accountability, and good governance.

Type: Special Report

Nonviolent Action; Democracy & Governance

Donor Assistance in the Transparency and Accountability Movement

Donor Assistance in the Transparency and Accountability Movement

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

By: Davin O'Regan

Focusing on transparency and anti-corruption issues, this report discusses the findings from a series of participatory workshops and more than seventy interviews with social movement actors and organizations in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ukraine. It looks at the different ways social movement actors in these countries were influenced by foreign financial support and training, including in terms of the goals they set, the tactics and activities they pursue, and whether receiving foreign support compromises their legitimacy with their domestic constituents.

Type: Peaceworks

Global Policy; Democracy & Governance; Nonviolent Action

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Current Projects

Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding

Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding

The impetus behind SNAP comes from case study research that highlights how grassroots activists, organizers, and peacebuilders engaged in nonviolent action and peacebuilding can use approaches from both fields together to strategically plan and more effectively prevent violence, address grievances, and advance justice. While scholars such as Adam Curle, John Paul Lederach, Lisa Schirch, Veronique Dudouet, and Anthony Wanis-St. John have explored synergies between the two fields for decades, the SNAP guide is one of the first to offer practical modules and exercises meant to help practitioners operationalize the combined approach at the grassroots

Education & Training; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Nonviolent Action; Peace Processes

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