Ordinary people in countries around the world are increasingly engaging in nonviolent civil resistance--involving actions such as strikes, boycotts, mass demonstrations, and a wide variety of other forms of noncooperation--to hold powerholders accountable and win rights, freedom, and justice. In response, many governments are systematically attempting to repress these movements by sharing resources, information, and best practices, as well as providing each other with political, economic, and military support. As nonviolent movements encounter this active backlash, there is renewed urgency around the question of what actions sympathetic external actors can take to support these movements.

Key speaker: Hardy Merriman is the President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC).His primary interest is in how ordinary people organize themselves, strategize, and mobilize to overcome adverse conditions, hold powerholders accountable, and win rights, freedom, and justice.

This talk will make the case that external actors do have a right to provide certain forms of assistance to nonviolent movements struggling for democracy and human rights. It will also discuss the challenges, risks, and advisability of certain kinds of support.

Chair of Session: Erica Chenoweth, Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denverand an Associate Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO)

Discussant: Scott Gates, Research Professor at PRIO

Hardy Merriman has contributed to the books: Is Authoritarianism Staging a Comeback? (2015), Civilian Jihad: Nonviolent Struggle, Democratization, and Governance in the Middle East (2010) by Maria Stephan (ed.), and Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential (2005) by Gene Sharp. He has also written about the role of nonviolent action in countering terrorism and co-authored A Guide to Effective Nonviolent Struggle, a training curriculum for activists.

A light lunch will be served.