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The Mission of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict is to develop and promote the use of civilian-based, nonmilitary strategies that will lead to the establishment and defense of democratic self-rule and human rights.

The Record of Nonviolent Conflict

For over a hundred years popular movements using nonviolent strategies have overthrown oppressive regimes, stymied military occupiers, and brought freedom to their societies.

Among their weapons were protests such as petitions, walkouts, and mass demonstrations, acts of noncooperation including boycotts, official resignations and general strikes, and direct intervention such as sit-ins, blockades and economic disruption. By undermining their opponents' pillars of support, these nonviolent combatants produced decisive changes in their societies, opening the way for democracy, justice and individual rights.

Gandhi's struggle for Indian independence, the Danes' resistance to the Nazis in World War II, the American civil rights movement, the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the people power revolution in the Philippines, the campaign against General Pinochet in Chile, boycotts and strikes against apartheid in South Africa, the civilian insurrections against communism in Eastern Europe and Mongolia, and the student-led campaign that toppled Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia are only a few of the historical episodes in which nonviolent conflict has been pivotal.

Nonviolent Conflict Today

In the first decade of the 21st century, nonviolent groups are seeking to dislodge arbitrary rule in nations such as Belarus, Burma, Egypt, the Maldive Islands, and Zimbabwe. Nonviolent campaigns for self-determination are ongoing in places such as Tibet, West Papua, and the Palestinian territories, and nonviolent action for human rights and democracy is also underway in Iran, Cuba, and other countries.
Many who battle oppression recognize the potential of nonviolent strategies to prevail in conflicts with unjust authorities and to produce freer, open societies, so they often seek to learn more about how this is done. Nevertheless, every year tens of thousands of people around the world are asked to fight for their rights or interests by joining groups dedicated to violent insurrection or terror. This occurs even though violence often fails to accomplish its users' goals and is always highly destructive to their societies.
Several conditions have impeded the choice of nonviolent power as the driving force of conflict:

1. Widespread lack of knowledge of the success of nonviolent strategies in past conflicts.

2. The stereotype of "nonviolence" as a religious or behavioral preference rather than an alternative means of fighting for freedom and justice.

3. The tendency of the global news media to neglect coverage of nonviolent conflict, and the related assumption that violent clashes in a conflict produce the outcome.

4. Low levels of attention and support for civilian-based, nonviolent movements fighting for rights and democracy, from international organizations, institutions and governments.

5. The limited dispersion of practical know-how and specific skills in strategic nonviolent action among key participants in movements for change in many places around the world.

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict was created to rectify these problems and address these needs.

The Center’s Activities

Acting as a catalyst to stimulate the choice of nonviolent conflict, the Center collaborates with likeminded institutions, nongovernmental organizations and selected agencies to:

Educate Activists
In response to requests, the Center provides support for workshops in nonviolent conflict attended by activists and citizens who are considering civilian-based, nonviolent action as a way to seek democracy or human rights. Such workshops impart conceptual knowledge and help develop skills in applying nonviolent strategies devised by such activists.

Educate the Global Public
The Center uses television broadcast networks, the Internet, and off-air and offline media to disseminate video programming, books and video games, as well as learning materials for schools and universities. All these resources help promote the history and ideas of nonviolent conflict in open or closed societies where rights or self-rule are at issue.

Inform Policymakers and the Media
The Center conducts meetings and briefings, co-sponsors conferences, and makes available articles and academic studies, to encourage decision makers to facilitate rather than hinder opportunities for civilian-based, nonviolent movements. These same tools are used to assist senior media producers and reporters to expand and improve coverage of nonviolent struggles.

ICNC Operating Guidelines

1. The purpose of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) is to develop and disseminate knowledge related to nonviolent conflict and its practice, throughout the world. Recipients include citizens and activists living under conditions of repression, injustice and corruption, and also educators, nongovernmental organizations, media professionals and policy makers.

2. As one way to distribute knowledge about nonviolent conflict, ICNC can help in enabling workshops on nonviolent conflict to be held, in response to contacts initiated by groups or people seeking to end oppression or injustice through nonviolent methods.

3. ICNC will not assist activists in planning, organizing or conducting any actions; it will not provide political or strategic advice to those contemplating or engaged in nonviolent conflict; and it will not furnish funds to subsidize their operations.

4. ICNC will support research and other educational projects by other nongovernmental organizations and individuals, if they are directly related to expanding understanding of the principles and skills involved in nonviolent conflict. It does not furnish philanthropic grants or gifts to individuals or organizations.

5. ICNC accepts no grants, contracts or funding of any kind from any government or government-related organization, or from any foundation, corporation or institution, public or private. It is funded entirely by the family philanthropy of the founding chair.

6. 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.

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