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People Power and Sustaining Peace: How Nonviolent Grassroots Movements can Advance More Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies

September 20, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


The dual General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on sustaining peace (70/262 and 2282 respectively) and the focus on fostering “peaceful and inclusive societies” in the SDGs has led to a shift in thinking within the peacebuilding community—widening its scope from post-conflict settings to all stages of conflict and changing its approach from top-down to bottom-up. Research shows that this emphasis on the active participation and ownership of local actors, including those from non-traditional parts of civil society, is critical to building sustainable and just peace.

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Major nonviolent movements led by grassroots actors are proven to be twice as effective as armed struggles in achieving major political goals. They are far more likely to lead to successful democratic transitions. This is due to the fact that grassroots campaigns and movements are generally made up of people who have been directly affected by injustices. They are rooted in communities, rely on collective action, and are well-positioned to address systemic, structural problems, advance human rights, and push for accountable governance. It is vital that we draw on the recommendations from the Roadmap for Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies, which highlights the need to empower people as agents of change.

Join the U.S. Institute of Peace, Peace Direct, International Peace Institute, and Center for International Cooperation as they host a panel discussion on the significant role nonviolent movements can play in advancing sustaining peace and the sustainable development goals. The panel will include local activists and peacebuilders from conflict zones, academics, and INGOs, and panelists will explore promising funding, training, and capacity-building modalities. They will also discuss how communities can move forward together as agents of change to build strong and inclusive civil societies in an era of closing civic space.

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This event is designed for Member States, nongovernmental organizations, civil society and activist leaders, international donors, and other stakeholders committed to sustaining peace.

Welcoming Remarks:

Nancy Lindborg
U.S. Institute of Peace

Lesley Connolly
Policy Analyst
International Peace Institute

Maria J. Stephan, Moderator
Director, Program on Nonviolent Action
U.S. Institute of Peace

Victor Ochen
African Youth Initiative Network (Uganda)
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

Jacob Bul Bior Bul
Founding Member and Media Coordinator
#AnaTaban (South Sudan)
Mandela Washington Fellow
U.S. Institute of Peace

Saba Ismail
Aware Girls (Pakistan)

Rajaa Altalli
Co-Founder and Public Relations Director
Center for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria (Syria)

David Steven
Senior Fellow and Associate Director
NYU Center on International Cooperation

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United States Institute of Peace


Grant Hyatt New York (Broadway Room)
109 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017 United States
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