Spring 2014 Randall Scholarship Winners

Nonviolence International would like to congratulate Giselle Lopez and Julius Wani, recipients of the Spring 2014 Randall Research Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded in memory of Dr. Darrell and Mildred Randall to American University graduate students and alumni. Funding from this scholarship supports a thesis or dissertation dedicated to international nonviolent methods, ideas, or movements.

Giselle giselleLopez is a master’s student at American University’s School of International Service, where she studies International Peace and Conflict Resolution. She plans to conduct research on dispute resolution mechanisms and reform integration in Morocco’s justice system. Her findings will examine the impact that judicial reforms may have on peace and stability in the wider Middle East and North Africa region.


JuliusJulius Wani is pursuing a graduate degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University’s School of International Service, with a concentration on Governance and Peace-building. His thesis will explore the effects of ancient vs. contemporary nonviolent paradigms in post-conflict societies. He hopes to apply his findings directly to efforts pursuing peace and conflict resolution in South Sudan.

Highlights of 2013 in Active Nonviolence

2013 was a vibrant year in active nonviolence. Highlights include:

Biggest Advance in Combating Political Corruption and Promoting Democracy

After 40 years of protests, organizing and campaigning, India has instituted an anti-corruption office with prosecutorial teeth that can go after politicians and civil servants.  Given the corruption of money in the politics of many societies, this particular victory may serve as a model for other countries which are trying to figure out how to pressure politicians to vote against their own narrow interests and end political corruption.

Biggest Abolition Event of the Decade

After years of protest both domestic and foreign, the Chinese Government has abolished labor camps which have been used to punish millions of of innocent people. 300 camps will be closed!

A Landmark Victory for the Rule of Law

Biggest Whistleblowing Event of All-Time

Edward Snowden’s civil disobedience has revealed massive spying and cyber attacks by the US government.  With the support of Wikileaks and people protests in many countries, these revelations may spur global reform in protecting citizens’ privacy, and constricting all spy agencies from their relentless clandestine warfare.

Best Books on Nonviolence (in English) in 2013

Recovering Nonviolent History: Civil Resistance in Liberation Struggles edited by Maciej Bartkowski. This year’s best scholarly book on nonviolent action.  It provides a sweeping survey of lesser known examples of mass nonviolent liberation movements.

John Lewis, March. A beautifully written and illustrated graphic novel about the early years of Congressman John Lewis’s life. The philosophy of nonviolence plays a dominant role. My kids loved it.

Strategy and Soul, by Daniel Hunter. A remarkably rich and well written book about a campaiger’s tale of fighting the predatory casino industry in Philadelphia. This book can be read many times to unearth wonderful methods for analyzing, planning, organizing and sustaining direct action campaigns.  This is the most valuable book on organizing direct action campaigns written in recent years.

Biggest Success for a Social Change Movement

Five countries legalized same-sex marriage, including Uruguay, France, New Zealand, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. When the laws takes effect in 2014, there will be 16 countries that uphold the right to same-sex marriage.  Same sex marriage became legal many states in the US including. Illinois, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, California, Hawaii and New Mexico.  What does this have to do with nonviolent action? Let us remember those millions of Translesbigay people and allies who courageously broke social norms and laws for decades in order to achieve their goals of social and legal equality.

Loudest Whining by Multi-National Corporations As They Are Dragged into an Accord to Help Workers

Bangladeshi workers and allies pressured textile companies to improve their fire and building safety practices after more than 1000 workers died in accidents in 2013. http://www.bangladeshaccord.org/

Biggest Win for Indigenous People’s Rights, As Reported by AJWS.

India’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal that would have allowed a UK-based company, Vedanta Resources, to mine the Niyamgiri hills. The court recognized the indigenous community of Dongria Kondh‘s right to the land, which they make a living from and worship as part of their traditional beliefs.   This marked a major win for the rights of indigenous people in India, and it shows the power of social action. Thousands of protesters rallied to protest the mining effort last December, and hundreds of Dongria pledged to stay in the Niyamgiri hills.

See more at: http://blogs.ajws.org/blog/2013/12/30/human-rights-in-2013-our-end-of-year-top-10/#sthash.P5f6e3G6.dpuf

Most Creative Methods

As Medea Benjamin noted in her recent article 10 Good Things About the Year 2013, “Immigrant advocates in the US did remarkable organizing, They held prayer vigils, press conferences, marches. They chained themselves to the White House fence and the gates of detention centers. They encircled ICE facilities to shut down deportations. Hundreds were arrested, including eight members of Congress, calling for immigration reform. They fasted on the national mall in Washington, D.C., getting a visit from the president and his wife.”

Most Important Human Rights Law to Protect Nonviolent Actors

The UN adopted a groundbreaking resolution protecting women human rights defenders.

For a list of other human rights victories in 2013, visit: http://www.wfuna.org/news/un-human-rights-achievements-in-2013

And for five more unheralded human right victories, visit: wagingnonviolence.org

Nonviolence and nonviolent action are ideas that continue to resonate and provide citizens tools for meeting their needs.  Let’s hope that we’ll meet the planet’s needs in 2014.

Nonviolence International Launches Arabic Website on Nonviolence

We have created an Arabic language website on nonviolence that aggregates the best articles on nonviolence worldwide.

Please help us spread the news. We also welcome advice and any type of contribution.


This adds to the family of Nonviolent Action Network websites including Spanish: noviolenciaactiva.com and English: nonviolentaction.net
Please help fund this infrastructure that promotes nonviolence world-wide!

NI protests Guatanamo Bay Prison and Torture

photo credit: Palina Prasasouk

Nonviolence International staff member Andrés Thomas Conteris underwent public nasal force-feeding in Washington, DC on Friday, October 18, in protest of the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and in prisons around the United States.

The force-feeding took place outside the US District Court of Appeals, where a panel of judges considered a lawsuit concerning the practice of force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay. Defense attorneys argue that force-feeding is a violation of human rights and religious freedom, while the Obama administration maintains its necessity. The protest was intended to bring public awareness to the painful nature of the feeding process, which Guantanamo Bay prisoners undergo twice per day, as they strike in protest of indefinite detainment.

The Guantanamo Bay hunger strike began in February. At its peak in July, 106 of 166 prisoners participated. Forty-six of those were force-fed. Seventeen prisoners are still on strike. On May 23, President Obama again pledged to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay in response to the strike and protests. Only two prisoners have been released since, although about half are scheduled for release or transfer. Indefinite detainment at Guantanamo is condemned worldwide, while force-feeding has been denounced by many US politicians and international organizations, including the United Nations.

Conteris's hunger strike also coincided with that of 30,000 inmates in California prisons. From July to September, these prisoners were on hunger strike in protest of the treatment and conditions in supermax facilities, which often deny inmates any human contact for 23 hours per day, sometimes for months or years. Human rights experts from the United Nations urge prisons to end these practices on the grounds that they are inhumane and "contrary to rehabilitation."

Conteris began his hunger strike on July 8, 2013. Since then, he has also participated in force-feeding protests in front of the White House, the US Embassies in Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehab. Conteris, age 52, has sustained his water-only fast for 106 days with a brief 3-day interruption, and lost a total of 57 pounds.

For more photos, visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/visiitor/sets/72157636698402964/

Meet the 2013 Randall Research Scholarship Recipients!

The Randall Scholarship is a research scholarship that is awarded to a graduate student- from American University or an American University alumnus- , in remembrance of  Dr. Darrell and Mildred Randall . The purpose of this scholarship is to support graduate research necessary for completing a thesis or dissertation. The scholarship is intended to help fund international research related to nonviolent methods, ideas, or movements.  Below are the first recipients of the Randall Research Scholarship

Ms. Rosa P.

Ms. Rosa P. is participating in a dual graduate degree program with American University and Korea University. She plans on conducting research on radio broadcasting, balloon launches, “Hanryu” (South Korean Wave) in North Korea, defector connections, and underground churches to determine the impact and success the efforts of the South Korean civil society to educate and empower North Koreans about their rights and nonviolence resistance.  With her thesis, Ms. Rosa hopes to contribute to the nonviolent spread of information to North Korea.

Ms. Emily M

Ms. Emily M. is a graduate student at American University in the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs program. She will be conducting field research on women’s rights in Latin American, particularly in Argentina and Chile. Her research question is: What explains the expanded mission or singular focus of women-led organizations of family members of the disappeared during and after the transition to democracy?  Ms. Emily plans on contributing to the current and developing conversations about the role of women and women-centered organizations in peace negotiation and their participation in the reconstruction of post-conflict society.

Ms. Sheherazade J.

Ms. Sheherazade J. is working on her PhD in International Relations at American University.  With the assistance of Randall Research Scholarship, she will be conducting the final phase of her field work and is expected to complete her dissertation in 2014. She plans on traveling to Malaysia to conduct in-depth interviews on religious-secular and Muslim-Western women's rights partnerships. The intent of her dissertation is to explain how Muslim-Western nonviolent partnerships are working across religious- secular and cultural divides to advance women’s rights. Essentially, Ms. Sheherazade anticipates that her research will provide key insights and help fill a critical gap in the literature on religion and secularism in nonviolent human rights movements and women’s rights strategies.

NI dramatizes force feeding at the White House

o-GUANTANAMO-570-300x224 CloseGitmo.net Rally at the White House, Washington, DC

Andrés Thomas Conteris began fasting in solidarity on July 8, 2013 along with 30,000 hunger striking California prisoners with 5 Core Demands of the Pelican Bay inmates. After fasting 61 days and losing 52 lbs, on Sept. 6th at 12:00 noon, Andrés elected to be force-fed through a nasogastric tube in front of the White House to depict how prisoners in Guantánamo are subjected to forced-feeding torture twice-daily. He affirms, "I will continue to fast in solidarity with Gitmo prisoners and be fed like they are fed."

To view a video of the disturbing force-feeding you can visit the link below to see the media clip.


The video highlights the twice-daily force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay prisoners as torture, and why every U.S. Citizen should want this controversial prison facility closed. It cost $2.7 million to hold each Gitmo prisoner for one year. Forced-feeding has been classified as torture by human rights organizations and is denounced by the American Medical Association. This feeding was not only being done to ensure Andrés can stay alive, but revealed in the light of day how U.S. policy practices torture. In this way CloseGitmo.net hopes to pressure to end to this inhumane treatment. For more information visit: CloseGitmo.net

Finally, we ask that you please contribute $1.00 to help distribute 2.7 million Orange Ribbons in the campaign to Close Gitmo and support the 5 core demands of Pelican and Guantánamo Bay hunger strikers. Click here to support human rights and make your tax-deductible donation  or visit CloseGitmo.net and OrangeRibbons.net


NI staffer on 52 day fast to end torture in USA

Today marks 52 days of water-only fasting for me.  It's the longest I have ever fasted on water. The last time is when I sat in front of the White House Aug-Oct. 2000 to stop the bombing in Vieques. Thirteen years later, I return to DC, this time to continue a long-term fast with CloseGitmo.net in solidarity with the prisoners in Pelican Bay and Guantanamo Bay.

CloseGitmo.net is a a collaborative effort of individuals and organizations coming together to increase the power of our shared struggle to repudiate the practice of U.S.-sanctioned torture at all levels. Our focus is to close Guantánamo and to support the core demands of the Pelican Bay prisoners and other prisoners on hunger strike with them. We seek to strengthen collaboration among all groups and individuals who share our goals and to maximize our mission bringing justice and human rights to victims of torture.

I am coming to DC, given the urgency pf the need to end torture. Please find the plans CloseGitmo.net has for Sept 4-6 Days of Action in DC.

Please also join our orange ribbon campaign! The least you can do to confront torture is to wear a ribbon.

 It costs $2.7 million per Gitmo prisoner per year.  Please contribute $1.00 to help distribute 2.7 Million Orange Ribbons while building the campaign to Close Gitmo and Support the 5 Core Demands of Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers.Click here to support human rights and make your tax-deductible donation.

Thank you for your support of closegitmo.net and the orange ribbon campaigns.

With Peace and Justice,

Andrés Conteris, Director of Nonviolence International's Program on the Americas

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NI Stands In Solidarity With Victims of Torture

IMG540On June 26th, NI director Michael Beer and colleagues joined over 100 nonviolent activists outside the White House in solidarity with victims of torture around the world. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which condemns the use of torture in all contexts, has become increasingly centered around the use of torture on American soil - specifically, in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. To commemorate the 86 detainees deemed fit for release by the Obama administration in January 2009, as well as those captives who have died awaiting release, protesters wore orange jump suits and hung signs around their necks with the names of GITMO detainees and their IDs.
The demonstration, which began with a peace vigil, quickly developed into a full-on nonviolent protest - activists turned to face the White House, demanding that Obama "close GITMO, NOW!" As activists approached the White House fence, an elaborate drama unfolded, depicting the inhumane and torturous practice of force feeding hunger strikers. The spectacle, which drew almost the entire protesting body, distracted from the exceedingly brave act of hunger striker, Diane Wilson, who jumped the White House fence.  Diane Wilson, on her 57th day of a water-only hunger strike, was pushed on a wheelchair to the fence by NI's Latin America director, Andres Conteris. Once over the fence, Wilson remained on the ground unharmed, as secret service police approached to arrest and detain her.
IMG530 Diane WilsonWilson's courageous act, in addition to the 19, willing arrests that followed, sent a clear message of unwavering solidarity with GITMO detainees. The second message, a call of anger and frustration with the Obama administration's failure to  act on its promise, was also heard loud and clear, as protesters received word that Obama would meet with five representatives of the Guantanamo Grassroots Coalition.  The day's events, free of violence and aggression, unfolded in a victory for nonviolent protesters everywhere.  May their efforts continue so that Guantanamo detainees and all victims of torture may have their victory, their justice.
To track the progress of the Guantanamo Grassroots Coalition, visit their website at www.closegitmo.net

Solidarity with Nonviolent Turkish Protestors

NI has a keen interest in the Turkish nonviolent movement and solidarity among Turkish protestors in regards to the demolishment of the Gezi Park.
"It began with a grove of sycamores. For months environmentalists had been protesting against a government-backed plan to chop the trees down to make room for a shopping and residential complex in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. They organized a peaceful sit-in with tents, singing and dancing. On May 31st riot police staged a pre-dawn raid, dousing the protesters with jets of water and tear gas and setting fire to their encampment.” [Nonviolence International condemns the use of violence on all sides.]http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21579005-protests-against-recep-tayyip-erdogan-and-his-ham-fisted-response-have-shaken-his-rule-and
One sign read, if the government was to tear up Central Park, Hyde Park or the Tiergarten to make a shopping mall, how would you feel?

 We urge citizens world wide to go to your local parks and to join us in solidarity this Sunday, June 23, 2013.
1.     20.00: Get out and stand for 10 minutes, with your hands in your pocket. A  mute, non-violent form of protest
2.     21.00: Pans orchestra: Bring pots and pans to bang (or get the app which makes the noise)
3.     22.00: Turn off your TV, mobile, computer, lights and stay silent for 5 minutes.
Nonviolent International encourages the use of nonviolent actions to promote change. Nonviolent protest speaks in volumes around the world, let us join hand in hand in nonviolent movement.


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