For Activists & Organizers
ICNC provides practical and relevant information and educational opportunities about nonviolent civil resistance to activists and organizers around the world. Our view is that nonviolent struggle is a social science that can be studied and understood, and that practitioners can increase their chances of success by learning best practices from each other as well as from cutting edge academic scholarship on this topic.
While there is no simple formula for success, there are lessons, insights, and general principles that can be discerned about how ordinary people unify themselves, organize, mobilize, strategize, communicate, build coalitions, maintain nonviolent discipline, resist repression, and engage in effective civil resistance against repressive and corrupt political, economic, and social systems. We draw examples from diverse movements around the world, including movements struggling for democratic rights, accountability and transparency (anti-corruption), self-determination, minority rights, women’s rights, indigenous and land rights, labor rights, environmental justice, and a wide variety of other causes.
ICNC offers a wealth of resources in many languages on topics related to civil resistance and movement organizing. We also support the development of new educational resources. Read more below:
- Resource Library
Visit our full resource library to find hundreds of resources on civil resistance in nearly sixty languages, including practical training curricula, articles, videos, and more. Search resources by keyword or a variety of categories to find material in your language and relevant to your cause. Many resources are downloadable.
- Ten Key Resources for Activists and Organizers
Are you interested in civil resistance and don’t know where to start? We’ve made a list of general introductory resources–many of them short articles–to introduce you to the field. We’ve also included a couple of training manuals, which introduce the field but also move to more advanced topics related to strategic planning.
- New ICNC-supported Resources for Activists and Organizers
We support the development of new educational resources for activists and organizers, and publish these through ICNC Press. Check our our forthcoming titles.
- Nonviolent Conflict Summaries
ICNC has created a series of Conflict Summaries that discuss the history behind, actions during, and ensuing events of major nonviolent movements of the 20th and 21st Centuries.
Translating civil resistance literature into diverse languages is one of the most powerful ways to spread knowledge and increase the effectiveness of nonviolent movements struggling for rights, freedom, and justice. We currently have resources in nearly 60 languages on our website. Learn more below:
- ICNC Translations Program
Our Translations Program has two goals: 1) identify and share existing translations of resources on civil resistance, and 2) support new high-quality translations into diverse languages.
- Find translations in your language
ICNC’s online Resource Library contains a vast and growing number of civil resistance resources in nearly 60 languages. These include translations that we’ve commissioned, as well as translated materials that originated from other organizations and movements.
- Request a particular resource to be translated into a language
You can request that ICNC translate resources into your language.
- Apply to be a translator for ICNC
You can apply to be an ICNC translator.
- Glossary of Civil Resistance Terms for Translators (coming soon)
We have built a glossary of 150 terms in the field of civil resistance, which will help translators ensure accuracy in their work. The glossary is almost ready for publication.
Grants & Funding
ICNC offers a wide range of funding and grant opportunities. Numerous Field Initiatives programs are included below, as well as some of our Academic Initiative programs that may be of interest to activists and organizers.
- Small Grants
ICNC solicits grant proposals from individuals and groups and supports educational initiatives (such as developing educational resources, online courses, translations and curricula; convening workshops and educational gatherings; and developing and sharing knowledge) about civil resistance.
Read our description above or click on the link to learn more.
- Curriculum Development & Teaching Support (for classroom or online courses)
ICNC supports faculty, educators, and practitioners in developing curricula and teaching classroom-based and online courses on civil resistance for university students, professionals and activists around the world.
- High School Curriculum Fellowships
This program supports high school teachers in developing and incorporating curricula on civil resistance into existing junior- or senior-level social science and history courses.
ICNC supports the development of and publishes peer-reviewed monographs (that average about 15,000-17,000 words in length [60-70 pages]). Each monograph builds on in-depth research on a particular topic and is written with the aim of reaching both practitioners and academic audiences.
- Special Reports
ICNC supports research and writing of shorter publications on subjects of civil resistance that are relevant and accessible to a broader policy community, including policy experts, decision makers and international governmental and non-governmental practitioners.
- ICNC Webinar Series
ICNC offers a webinar series focusing on critical ideas, case studies, and questions related to civil resistance and nonviolent movements. ICNC welcomes proposals and submissions for new webinars.
- Learning Initiative Network (LIN) program
Between 2014-2016, ICNC ran our Learning Initiative Network (LIN) program, which supported the work of individuals and teams who are strongly committed to learning and spreading knowledge about civil resistance in their communities. In 2017, rather than hold a fourth consecutive LIN fellow cycle, ICNC is offering additional support and mentoring to past LIN fellows and others through our new competitive Small Grants program. We may re-establish the LIN program in the future.
Learning & Educational Opportunities
ICNC offers a variety of opportunities to learn the history, practice, and methods of nonviolent civil resistance. These include:
- ICNC-Rutgers Online Course
Since 2011, ICNC has partnered with the International Institute for Peace at Rutgers University to offer an online course facilitated by experts in the field on the dynamics and power of civil resistance. This course is free and open to anyone: activists, organizers, scholars, students, journalists, members of NGOs, the policy community, and the interested public. Over the previous six years, hundreds of people throughout the world have taken this course and deepened their knowledge about movement organizing and civil resistance. It is offered in the fall of every year.
- Self-paced Online Courses
We are currently building online courses that are self-paced, which means that anyone with an internet connection can take them at anytime by themselves. For people who only have occasional internet access, parts of the courses will also be downloadable so they can be viewed offline. Courses will be designed to cover beginner, intermediate, and advanced level material.
- Regional Institutes
ICNC regional institutes are one week-long intensive courses on civil resistance that are offered around the world. These institutes are a partnership between ICNC and at least one local institution (generally a university), and provide advanced, interdisciplinary study of nonviolent civil resistance. Our upcoming Regional Institute will be held at the University of FLACSO in Quito, Ecuador. Additional Regional Institutes in other parts of the world will be announced soon. Each regional institute will be taught by leading international scholars, practitioners, organizers and activists from past and current nonviolent struggles. Regional Institutes provide both a firm academic grasp of the subject of civil resistance as well as a practical understanding of the use of nonviolent struggle in a variety of conflicts, including a focus on local concerns and contexts.
- Custom Field Workshops
ICNC staff and partners have provided workshops tailored to the needs of activists and organizers in different contexts and working on a variety of issues. ICNC only offers field workshops on a limited basis to people we already know and they require special approval.
- Webinar Library
ICNC regularly offers webinars on particular topics of nonviolent civil resistance, featuring activists, scholars, and experts in the field. Sign up for upcoming webinars and view our archive of past webinars.
- ICNC Summer Institute
The ICNC Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict (formerly called the Fletcher Summer Institute) was the first professional education program on civil resistance in the world. It was a 5-6 day course with approximately 45-50 international participants, organized by ICNC in partnership with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University) from 2006-2016. In 2017, in response to rising demand for knowledge of civil resistance around the world, ICNC made a strategic decision to discontinue the ICNC Summer Institute and instead to establish ICNC Regional Institutes, which aim to provide increased accessibility and allow more participants to attend. Our upcoming Regional Institute will be held at the University of FLACSO in Quito, Ecuador. Additional Regional Institutes in other parts of the world will be announced soon.
- The James Lawson Institute
The James Lawson Institute (JLI) was an eight-day program for North American activists and organizers dedicated to study and evaluation of movement organizing and civil resistance. ICNC organized the James Lawson Institute in 2013 and 2014. It was a tremendous success, but ICNC did not have the capacity to continue this resource-intensive program from 2015 onward. However, the James Lawson Institute has re-constituted as an independently funded program, and ICNC is an organizing partner in this effort. Information on the new and independent James Lawson Institute can be found here.
Some activists and organizers may be interested in ICNC’s programmatic offerings focusing on media, scholars and students, or the policy community.
- Write for ICNC’s blog: Minds of the Movement
ICNC’s blog Minds of the Movement aims to share cutting-edge developments in the field of civil resistance; highlight new research, ideas, resources, and practical knowledge on the study and practice of civil resistance; and provide analysis of nonviolent movements and the intersection of civil resistance and other disciplines. Contributors include activists, organizers, scholars, journalists, policymakers, and students. If you would like to contribute an article, please read our Submission Guidelines.
- Nonviolent Conflict News
ICNC created Nonviolent Conflict News (NVCNews.org) as a dedicated, reliable source of international media coverage on civil resistance. It aggregates news stories (mainly from mid-2015 forward) from a wide range of independent and conventional media outlets. While single protests generally draw the attention of most media outlets, NVCNews aims to go beyond this, providing a window into in-depth analysis of civil resistance movements, their dynamics, and the full range of nonviolent tactics that they use.
- ICNC Press & Publications
Check out our growing list of ICNC Press publications, each of which is available for free download or hardcopy purchase.
- Programs and Resources for Scholars and Students
- Programs and Resources for the Policy Community
In our work with activists and organizers, ICNC abides by the following operating guidelines:
1. Our work with activists, organizers, and other practitioners is demand driven. In response to contacts and requests initiated by groups or people seeking to end oppression or injustice through nonviolent methods, ICNC can help in enabling seminars, workshops, and educational events to be held; and/or supporting general educational projects related to civil resistance.
2. ICNC is an educational organization that develops and shares knowledge and information about nonviolent civil resistance. In our work, we do not provide political or strategic advice to those contemplating or engaged in civil resistance; we do not assist activists in conducting civil resistance actions; and we do not furnish funds to subsidize a movement’s operations.
3. ICNC can support research and general educational projects by other nongovernmental organizations and individuals if they are directly related to expanding understanding of the principles and skills involved in civil resistance.
4. ICNC observes the right to privacy of those who contact it, for the protection of people who may face repression or intimidation for exercising their rights. Accordingly, ICNC abides by requests for confidentiality from individuals who communicate with it.
ICNC Field Team
Azaz Elshami is the Manager of Global Field Initiatives at ICNC. Her work focuses on activists, organizers and practitioners around the world who are nonviolently struggling for rights, freedom, and justice. Her responsibilities include developing and sharing educational resources; overseeing ICNC’s translations program; managing grants; developing and moderating online courses; and organizing and presenting at ICNC field workshops.
Azaz has diverse experience in the fields of human rights, gender equality, peacebuilding, journalism, conflict resolution, and Internet rights.
Gabe Dayley is Program Assistant for Global Field Initiatives at ICNC. He supports the ICNC Small Grants program, which provides competitive funds for activists around the world to develop grassroots educational projects that train civilians in the knowledge and skills of civil resistance. He also contributes to the development of ICNC’s online course offerings, the promotion of newly published translations on civil resistance for ICNC’s global audience, and ICNC’s Minds of the Movement blog. His main areas of interest include environmental justice, women’s empowerment, anti-oppression work, the intersection of civil resistance and peacebuilding, and the role that mindfulness practices can play in social transformation.
In addition to his work at ICNC, Gabe serves as the executive director of the Shambhala Meditation Center of Washington, DC, a nonprofit offering training in mindfulness, awareness, and emotional intelligence education in support of responsible and compassionate global citizenship. He founded and edits The Arrow: A Journal of Wakeful Society, Culture & Politics., an online journal that publishes essays and academic articles examining the relationship between contemplative practice, politics, and activism. Gabe holds a master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University and a bachelor’s in International Relations from Pomona College.