Updates-A Story of Realistic Hope

Kidney Transplant and Rebirth: A Palestinian Love Story

(Please see this powerful piece from our wonderful partner We Are Not Numbers.

Reposted with permission from Palestine Chronicle.) 

By Yousef Dawas

Hard times either bring us together or break us apart. For the young couple, it was the former, not the latter. Anan stepped up to become Rima’s pillar of support.

Anan Saadat is a 30-year-old dentist from the Gaza Strip. He is married to Rima Abu Aida, 27. Though the couple now has a renewed sense of hope for their future, things were difficult, in fact, very difficult in recent years.

Kidney Failure

Anan and Rima got married in 2018. Three years later, the couple faced a challenge. They wanted to conceive a child but couldn’t. So, in 2021 they resorted to a specialized hospital for in-vitro fertilization.

During the egg retrieval procedure, however, Rima developed a severe infection caused by unsterilized equipment, resulting in kidney failure.

The young woman was transferred to a hospital in the West Bank city of Al-Khalil (Hebron), where she spent 24 days in the intensive care unit. Doctors informed Anan that his wife would require regular dialysis to survive.

“In the beginning, I stood helpless. I sobbed uncontrollably for my wife,” Anan told The Palestine Chronicle.

For Rima, it was a different kind of heartbreak. “After dialysis, I was so tired I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t have a life. It truly felt like my life didn’t have any meaning.”

Hard times either bring us together or break us apart. For the young couple, it was the former, not the latter. Anan stepped up to become Rima’s pillar of support.

Anan’s Offer

The couple returned to Gaza, where Anan stopped practicing dentistry to entirely focus on Rima’s needs. He cared for her during the initial three-month treatment period, accompanying her through the grueling dialysis sessions three times a week.

“We used to go to dialysis at 10 pm and finish at 2 in the morning, sometimes even 3 or 4,” Anan said with a broken voice.

Aside from his wife’s suffering, Anan had also to deal with the financial strain and mounting debts.

He also wanted to donate his own kidney, but the procedure required outside expertise not available in Gaza.

Rima, at first rejected Anan’s offer, then, accepted, for her sake, and the sake of the new family.

Journey of Hope – Then Despair

In May 2022, the couple eventually traveled to Egypt for the transplant surgery.

“I was no longer working; therefore I had no source of income at the time,” Anan told us.

“I borrowed money from my in-laws, my sister, and my family. Even my married sisters sold their gold (obtained as marriage gifts) so that I could travel with my wife for her treatment.”

But after a month in Egypt, more complications followed. The couple had no tissue matching, which is required by Egyptian medical regulations for kidney transplants.

When they returned to Gaza, Anan and Rima felt truly defeated.

But hope was quickly rekindled when they met Dr. Ghazi Alyazji, head of the Kidney Transplant Department at Al-Shifa Hospital.

The doctor said that, despite the lack of tissue matching, the kidney transplant was still possible, with the help of a visiting medical delegation.

The Surgery

The first delegation, coming from Jordan, was prevented from entering Gaza. However, on July 13, 2023, Anan and Rima finally underwent the delicate surgery.

It was a success.

Following the successful surgery, Anan can breathe a sigh of relief. However, he is still processing the trauma and he cannot forget the details of that harrowing experience, which tested their love, faith, and willpower.

“My wife’s dialysis treatment lasted two years, one month, two days, and five hours,” he recalls. He remembers the whole ordeal in all of its details.

For Rima and Anan, the transplant was comparable to a rebirth. Rima, however, still longs to become a mother. She told the Palestine Chronicle that she hopes that one day she will hold her baby in her arms.

Considering everything that Rima and Anan have been through, such hope is maybe possible.

Yousef Dawas is a writer at our fiscally sponsored partner We Are Not Numbers. He is interested in economics and politics, and he is a talented photographer. WANN contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. https://www.palestinechronicle.com/kidney-transplant-and-rebirth-a-palestinian-love-story/

The first ever official “Mubarak Awad Day” is here!  How will you celebrate?

For decades, people all over the world have been inspired by the creative, bold, and loving nonviolent example of Nonviolence International’s founder Mubarak Awad. After being expelled from his home in Palestine, Mubarak has lived in the United States. The Israeli government didn’t know what to do with his impactful nonviolent activism, but even exile could not stop this force of nature. 

While he is celebrated widely among those who follow movements for either active nonviolence or Palestinian humanity, many of his neighbors have been unaware of his impact. As one small and meaningful step towards correcting the record, his adopted hometown of Gaithersburg, Maryland has declared the first ever Mubarak Awad Day!

On the occasion of his 80th birthday, this August 22nd, the City Council and Mayor of Gaithersburg, in an official act of government, declare their “heartfelt gratitude” to Mubarak.

(We celebrate both Mubarak’s 80th birthday and his lifelong commitment to active nonviolence!)

Globally respected leader, Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution, celebrated and challenged all of us to make full use of this rare and precious opportunity. He said,

This is a great and well-deserved honor. All of us who have worked alongside Mubarak know of his loving spirit and creative active nonviolence. It is wonderful to have the government of Gaithersburg join us in celebrating his accomplishments.

Now the question must be asked…

How can we best celebrate Mubarak Awad Day?

I suggest three ideas that, if implemented widely, will have a real and lasting impact:

  1. Learn about Mubarak’s life story. You can start with this video. Then check out the links and short quotations below.
  2. Take Action - Tell at least two people who don’t yet know about Mubarak that we are approaching the first ever “Mubarak Awad Day” and that you are celebrating by spreading the word a) about the power of active nonviolence, b) the ongoing suffering / resistance of the Palestinian people, and c) by protecting his legacy.
  3. Protect his legacy by donating to NVI. Any amount would be most appreciated, but to celebrate this momentous occasion we are particularly looking to inspire large multiyear gifts that can help transform the power of the organization he founded. Together, in his honor, we must find a way to rise to the challenges before us. Consider adding NVI to your will to celebrate his legacy and make real his vision of a peaceful world where the worth and dignity of all people everywhere is protected.

(It's official! Mubarak Awad Day is coming. How will you celebrate?)

As word of this recognition spread, the NVI community reacted with overwhelming joy.

Mubarak inspired many people who inspired others and thus the ripples of his impact spread. 

(Read these powerful testimonials and then keep scrolling so you don't miss the fun photos, impressive links, and the under 2 minute video where a young leader explains how meeting Mubarak changed her life.) 

Basp Bayingana Simon Peter, Ugandan Solidarity leader, wrote, "Thank you Mubarak for all the efforts in founding NVI which has been the engine in supporting social movements and activists across the world in waging against various forms of systemic injustices."

Daniel Roth, Executive Director of our wonderful partner Center for Jewish Nonviolence, declared, "Mubarak, we are celebrating you today! Your example has been an inspiration to generations of activists - including me - and you're work has had profound impact on so many people around the world. Thank you for everything you have done, taught us, and for all that you will do in the years to come! Happy birthday, Mubarak!"

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Founder, Palestine Museum of Natural History, shared, " I have known Mubarak for >25 years. I wrote about him and his work in my book on Popular Resistance in Palestine. I once told him he is like many prophets: more appreciated outside of their own communities. He just shrugged it off with his usual humility and kindness."

George Lakey, legendary nonviolent activist and trainer, said, "Huge thanks, Mubarak, for giving us such a warm and human example of what courage looks like. I'm one of the many you've inspired."

Rivera Sun, acclaimed author and nonviolence trainer, wrote, "Mubarak's steadfast commitment to justice and nonviolence is an inspiration to so many from all corners of the globe, from all walks of life. I am grateful for all that he brings to our troubled world.

Jamila Raqib, Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution (the group carrying on Gene Sharp's work), said, "I’ve had the great pleasure of crossing paths with Mubarak numerous times over the years as a beneficiary of his decades-long friendship with Gene Sharp. Mubarak is truly one of a kind - an inspiring, wise, committed teacher of nonviolent resistance, and a friend and supporter to so many of us. During the Celebrating Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance Conference in Bethlehem in 2005, he made sure to highlight and promote diverse voices, including mine as a young woman new to the work. He encouraged me to take the stage to present to an audience filled with my nonviolent heroes, an experience that shaped the work I’ve done since then, and one that will stay with me. Mubarak, thank you for your friendship and support to Gene, to the Albert Einstein Institution, and to me. Looking forward to continuing to learn from you and to be inspired by you for many years to come."

Rev. Amy Yoder McGloughlin, leader with our amazing partner, the US Advisory Committee for Hebron International Resource Network, wrote, "Thank you for all the ways you have modelled nonviolence in the Palestinian struggle for liberation. Your example inspires and challenges us all."

Michael Conklin, 3d Thursdays for Palestine advocacy group, said, "We seek the peace that surpasses all understanding as we embrace the darkest hours before the dawn. With Gratitude for Mubarak’s legacy."

Peter Weinberger, NVI Board member, told us, "Mubarak has been a mentor and friend to me for almost 30 years. I am deeply grateful for his constant encouragement and support. I am happy to celebrate this day in his honor."

Sami Awad, founder of our impressive partner Holy Land Trust, said, "It is without a doubt that if it was not for Mubarak, I would not be who I am now. He is the one that introduced me to the power of nonviolent resistance and I loved joining and participating in the activities he held, but there was a bigger reason why I even started joining the actions he was leading in the early 80's in Palestine when he opened the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence. He had a red motorcycle that he would have me ride on the back of when he went to many of these actions. I was the only 12 year old I know who had such a cool uncle. So yes, the motorcycle had a big part to do with it as well."

Oriel Eisner, On-the-Ground Organizing Director CJNV, wrote, "Happy Birthday Mubarak! Eid Milad Saeed! It's an honor and privilege to be connected to you in this work. You are an inspiration!"

Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, said, "Deep appreciation for you, Mubarak, and your strength in pursuing nonviolent resistance from Palestine to the world. You have been an inspiration to me and have always been grateful for the opportunity to have learned from you." 

Katherine Hughes Fraitekh, Director of our awesome partner Solidarity 2020 and Beyond, shared, "Dear Mubarak, you were a seminal part of my life and key to my understanding of nonviolent resistance. I tried to visit you during my first trip to Palestine on a delegation during the First Intifada, but the Israelis were terrified of your power and the power of the nonviolent struggle in Palestine that you were helping train and lead, so they deported you. When I got back to Washington, DC, I contacted you and interviewed you for my Masters Thesis on The Palestinian Intifada as a Model Nonviolent Movement for Self Determination. I've followed your work ever since and so appreciate your lifelong commitment to peace with justice in Palestine and many other communities and NVI's fiscal sponsorship of Solidarity 2020 and Beyond! Happy 80th birthday!!"

Asna Husin, Former Director of NVI-Indonesia, said, "Mubarak is a man of generosity and great insights. He helps everyone who approaches him for assistance. His words are always soothing and insightful. He was once on the island of Sabang in Aceh for advanced mediation training for young Ulama leaders of Aceh. After patiently listening to their difficult experience of Aceh conflict (1976-2005), and how they had to convince young Acehnese not to get guns to fight the Indonesian military, Mubarak shared his own experience living in the Israeli occupied Palestine. He also informed them how he started his nonviolent movement. The Ulama leaders could not believe what he went through during his years in Palestine. One leader said to him: “Our experience is nothing compared to yours. Yet, you are so forgiving and hopeful.” Mubarak reminded his audience that your religion Islam teaches forgiveness and your Allah is al-Rahman (Most Compassionate, Most Forgiving). “We have the ability for unlimited forgiveness. It is our strength and not our weakness.” Regarding hope Mubarak said then: “Hope is a delightful dream, it strengthens our spirits and soul.”

Saeed URI, former NVI Intern, wrote, "Your commitment to nonviolence and faith in humanity has had a profound impact on the world. The success of the organizations you've led is clear, but it is the change you catalyze in every individual you interact with that is remarkable. Happy Birthday!"

Michael Nagler, founder of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, shared, "Dear Mubarak, I am indebted to you -- like everyone on the planet! -- for your tireless witness. There's a Jewish myth about 69 people whose justice keeps G_d from destroying the world. You are one of them!"

Sandra Schwartz, Former Office Manager, said, "I only worked for NVI for a little over a year, but your story, your courage, and your kindness have never left me. Thank you for your never ending quest for a just peace for Palestine and Israel. Your tenacity and faith that there is an answer even in the darkest times, help to give me hope for a better world."

Frederick and Laura Ann Zahn, wrote, "Birthday greetings to Mubarak from the Zahns as we are Blessed to know your mother's prayers and faith live today. Blessed to know you by way of your big brother, Bishara. Blessed to witness the strength of the NVI ministry. Blessed to learn from your vision of peace for God's children, Blessed to have celebrated your return to Bethlehem. Blessed to have had you share with our mission team."

Edy Kaufman, Retired Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, shared, " Jonathan Kuttab and myself joined you yesterday celebrating Mubarak Awad and wishing him a long, active and healthy life. The nicest way to remember him was when Jonathan to me read chapter 15 of his wonderful life story aloud, where Mubarak - as usual- is challenging authority, Israeli or anywhere else. So our best wishes to him, Nancy and to all of his good friends like you who have helped him build dreams and realities."

Rand Engel, Former Director of Balkan Sunflowers, wrote, "Mubarak, happy birthday! Thank you for a life of profound service, for being a fearless avatar of decency and justice, while at the same time a personal model of humility. Thank you again for your visit to a Balkan Sunflowers Learning Center in 2010."

Elin Ross, former NVI staff, said, "I think of Mubarak (or MEA as we always referenced him at NVI!-) almost daily as I make my own decisions as a leader...not that we would make the same choices every time but as a touchstone to remind me to consider different perspectives. This is his gift, you don't have to agree with him, having him in your life simply means that he comes to mind regularly and his lessons challenge you to be open to the possibility of alternatives. I also have to think about him every year because we are birthday twins!-) Happiest of birthdays to a mentor, a leader and ultimately a friend."

Larry Zweig wrote, "Nonviolence creates REAL power ... sometimes Silence creates the LOUDEST explosions."

Dr. E. James Rajasekaran said, "The present world needs leaders like Mubarak to spread the message of peace as in many parts of the world, people face destruction which totally wipeout peace in the society on the whole."

Jenny Thomas wrote, "So thankful for the work and influence of Nonviolence International and Mubarak’s vision and courage!"

Jennifer Duskey said, "Thank you for all the help you gave Mennonite Church USA with our resolution to work for peace and justice in Israel-Palestine. Happy birthday!"

Roseanne Weinstein wrote, "So many memories-So long ago…..Always believed he was special." 

Fr. Harry J Bury told us, "When I was abducted in Gaza in 2005, it was followers of Mubarak who got me free."

Genie Silver shared, "I have not met Mubarak but from what I’ve seen and read it’s clear he’s a very kind and humble person who practices nonviolent civil disobedience as the only way to gain freedom, justice and peace for the Palestinian people in their homeland and everywhere. As a psychologist and professor he practices and teaches how to make lives better and to help those in pain. We need more people like Mubarak in the world."

Elizabeth Yates wrote, "I am acquainted with some of the Awad family in Bethlehem. I appreciate especially the non-violent resistance. I work personally with Daoud Nassar and family on behalf of their Bethlehem farm the Tent of Nations. God bless you as your work continues."

Tom Getman, Former Senate staffer and Palestine NGO director/and Geneva UN humanitarian representative, shared, "I owe a huge debt to Mubarak for two reasons. 1. He brings a strong sense of the Spirit of Peace's presence and courage whenever he is in a room where some of us are gathered for advocacy for all suffering and oppressed people. But especially he strengthens us with his wisdom for the sake of Palestinians under the heavy hand of Apartheid in Israel-Palestine. And 2. Mubarak's relationship in the visit to Palestine with our mutual friend Desmond Tutu led The Arch to speak a dart of fire to me at my presence at the liberation of the last segregated beach in South Africa. He said, ""You are now dismissed from working in South Africa with my thanks for the anti-apartheid legislation/law and prayerful non-violent participation. But we are now on our feet with Madiba soon to be freed. If you really want to prove your bona fides on human rights and that of the NGOs with whom you work you must turn your eyes to the Palestinians who are suffering more than we ever have." That was the word of authority inspired by Mubarak's hosting The Arch that changed my life and that of my family for the last 35 years including my wife and I working in Palestine and striving in the UN for peace with justice. Shukran ekter Alhann Wah Salaan, Mubarak and Nancy."

Karim Crow, Former Director NVI's Islam and Peace Program, wrote, "Dr Mubarak Awad has been a notable influence upon myself. It was through my father Professor Ralph Crow that I first met Mubarak and Nancy, in 1989 when my parents moved to Washington DC from Beirut, and Ralph began participating in activities of Nonviolence International. (Ralph had worked with Mubarak before when he helped organize the first conference on nonviolent action in the Arab world in Amman (Jordan) in the late '70s.) From 1996 til 1999 I directed the program on 'Islam & Peace' at NVI, and made several extended journeys with Mubarak to MENA to promote our initiative. One incident made a lasting impression : around 1997 Mubarak and myself flew from Istanbul to Tel Aviv, with Mubarak carrying a number of delicate glass globes and vases crafted in Turkey that he intended to give as gifts to relatives and friends in Palestine. After we cleared passport control, collected our bags, and were on our way out of the airport, we were stopped by security police who questioned us about where we had been. One of them demanded to see the packages Mubarak was carrying, carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and paper for protection. He took each one and placed it on the ground and stamped his boot crushing it into small pieces. I watched incredulously one by one, and grew angry. I started to protest at this gross abuse obviously intended to humiliate him personally, but Mubarak grabbed my shoulder and said, "Its all right, let it go." I saw his face smiling in controlled emotion : I saw nonviolence in action. We never spoke about it again. Mubarak Awad -- while others complain of injustices yet shrug helplessly, He says: "Let's Do something, Let's try this..." May you celebrate your 80th in love and joy, and always keep Hope alive in your heart ! Praying for your health and good spirits, my dear friend."

Rusty Nelson said, "In 1988, I joined the late Kathleen Donahoe on the staff of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane. Having only heard Mubarak on NPR interviews, I was surprised she had the temerity to invite him to speak in Spokane and amazed that he came and interacted with our emerging activists and rigid skeptics in homes and classrooms, 5 to 10 persons at a time. Many of us were just beginning to comprehend the scope of the Palestinian struggle and the capacity of nonviolent action. Accompanying Mubarak on this little tour gave me a crash course in peace advocacy, something I really needed as my wife Nancy and I would lead PJALS for 20 years. I hope there are times I employed the patience, tact, and care Mubarak demonstrated during that visit. He remains among my tiny pantheon of heroes."

Sucy Varughese wrote, "Your zeal for Palestinian Justice, Freedom and Dignity is inspirational."

Karsten Mathiasen said, "Huge thanks, Mubarak, for giving us such a warm and human example of what courage looks like. I'm one of the many you've inspired."

Laura Barnitz, NVI's First Staff person, wrote, "I was studying international relations and peace and conflict resolution at American University when I met Mubarak who had just recently been exiled by the Israeli Government. In those days the first Intifada was beginning to take shape, and the parade of leaders and activists who visited him was impressive but more so was his consistent, kind treatment of everyone, even those who were not practicing nonviolence. Mubarak's perseverance and ability to not take himself too seriously were life lessons I am forever grateful for, but most of all I treasure his genuine friendship. Happy Birthday!

John Salzberg said, "Happy birthday, Mubarak! In appreciation for your valient efforts in advocating Palestinian human rights!"

Betty Sitka, Former NVI staff, wrote, "Mubarak Awad expanded my worldview and empowered me to believe that I can make an impact on the world! I am so grateful for his dedication to freedom and liberty, to his belief in the capacity of humanity to share love and light as a way to heal ourselves! His dedicated friendship with Prof. Abdul Aziz Said of AU compounded his impact on countless, teaching the next generation about possibilities of Nonviolence! I adore you and thank you!!!"

Stellan Vinthagen, Endowed Chair in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance, said, "For me Mubarak has been a role model and inspiration since the 1980s, literally showing how spreading research, training and knowledge about nonviolent resistance to a population that suffer under domination and occupation, can be a a great source of mobilization, resistance and hope. It is a clear sign of the importance of Mubarak's work that Israel felt forced to throw him out of Palestine. That, however, did not stop him, instead he escalated his work from the US and on an international level, continuing to have an impact on new generations of nonviolent freedom fighters. To me Mubarak embodies the Palestinian "steadfastness" or Sumud. When I then finally met him 2016 at a conference on nonviolent activism in the US, it was a huge honor. During a dinner I told him about my admiration of his work, but he was not very interested in hearing about that. Instead he responded in a characteristic humble and respectful way, giving me a Palestinian keffiyeh as a sign of his appreciation of my solidarity work for Palestinians through the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza. It is people like Mubarak who make it possible to imagine a new world."

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, President, Minaret of Freedom Institute, wrote, "Whenever anyone asks,'When will the Palestinians have a Martin Luther King (or a Gandhi)?', I answer we have many, foremost among them being Mubarak Awad."

Joe Eldridge said, "Mubarak has had his eyes firmly fixed on simple fairness for his people all his life - an effective and determined advocate who has bent the moral arc of the universe toward justice. There should be a Mubarak decade."

John Mbaziira wrote, "The unfortunate bit is having not had an opportunity before to interact with Mubarak himself. Still, the good news is that I have been mentored and groomed in Nonviolence and civil resistance by the people whom Mubarak inspired and nurtured, and by their confessions, I believe the values, principles, and discipline which I have carried on and continue to carry would be no different from what I would take if I were to get that opportunity to be mentored by him. Thank you, Mubarak, for inspiring the world, we celebrate you. Happy Birthday!"

David Ritchie said, "Mubarak, my friend, your life is an inspiration to all who hope to make the world a better place. Thank you for all you have done for humanity."

Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, wrote, "In his words and actions Mubarak Awad has demonstrated not only that "the pen is mightier than the sword", but also that the "heart is stronger than the fist" and that peace is the true and inherent essence of humanity - not war. In difficult times - when fear, hate, nationalism and armed violence fill the media channels, it is vitally important to dispel this with the positive examples and power of non-violence advanced by Mubarak Awad and other non-violent champions."

Max Obuszewski, Peace Activist said, "While Mubarak was expelled, I did visit his nonviolence center in Palestine while on a human rights visit in the mid-1980s. May his vision last through the ages."

Lynnea Bylund wrote, "On the auspicious occasion of Mubarak Awad's 80th birthday, we in harmony with the nonviolent community celebrate and pay tribute to his lifelong dedication to the principles of nonviolence. Often hailed as today's Gandhi and King for the Palestinian people, Mubarak Awad's enduring commitment to peaceful activism has left an indelible mark on hearts worldwide. His powerful example, born from a spirit unyielding even in the face of adversity, continues to inspire generations, reminding us all that love and compassion are forces capable of remarkable change. As we join in commemorating the first ever Mubarak Awad Day, declared by his adopted hometown of Gaithersburg, Maryland, we convey our deepest gratitude for his extraordinary contributions to fostering a more just and harmonious world. Happy 80th birthday, Mubarak Awad!"

Pastor Carolyn Morton, Poor People's Campaign leader in Alabama, said, "Thank you! Mr. Mubarak Awad, for sharing the blessings of your teachings and faith through wisdom of study on Nonviolence and resistant Nonviolent as well. And social justice movement and humanity around the country! I am a faith leader, a Activist, peace maker,and a Peace Builder, social justice Activist! My heart and doing this work in the community combined 15 years on behalf of Samford Commnity Outreach Nonviolence Movement! I Celebrate you and Congratulations to you, and your proclamation! Thanks, again and Be Blessed."

David Hartsough, co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce and World Beyond War, wrote, "Happy Birthday Mubarak!! You have been and are a gift to our planet. Your commitment to helping people understand and realize the power of Nonviolence and nonviolent movements and spread the seeds of nonviolence in Palestine and around the world helps give us all HOPE that we can help create a world with peace and justice for all, that We Shall Overcome!"

Art Laffin, Longtime nonviolent activist, member of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, and co-editor of Swords Into Plowshares, said, "Mubarak, HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY!!! I give thanks to God for the great gift of your life, your friendship, and your exemplary and courageous commitment to the way of nonviolence struggle in resistance to State-sanctioned violence, no matter the cost. Thank you for showing the world that nonviolence is the best and most meaningful way to resolve conflict! Deo Gratias for your 80 years of life and for all you have done, and continue to do, to help create a nonviolent world."

Tiffany Pache (Danitz) wrote, "I have so many fond memories of Mubarak that it is difficult to pick just one. Instead, I'll express my gratitude for teaching me to meet people where they are with patience and agape."

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb said, "Dear Mubarak, Your article in the Fellowship about hospitality in Palestinian culture transformed my understanding of Palestinian spirituality. And seeing the intergenerational impact of your work has also been profound! Thank you for your ongoing legacy."

Please add your voice to this global celebration by filling out this simple Google Form. 

Mubarak says, "Thank you to our many friends and fellow peacemakers who sent greetings for my birthday. I am very humbled and grateful to have so many friends. Your messages increased my commitment to peace and nonviolence."

(In under two minutes, Meg Wilder explains how meeting Mubarak when she was just 19 years old changed the direction of her life.)


(Even when silenced, Mubarak's powerful loving voice will be heard!) 

(With a commitment to active nonviolence and justice for all, Mubarak confronts occupation forces.)

(To enjoy the great story behind this photo, please click here.)

Learn more about Mubarak's life and work at the links below. 

Did you know he co-taught a course on nonviolence with a Jew in Haifa?

Here he is reflecting on his long friendship with Gene Sharp.

Along with Jonathan Kuttab, Mubarak answers tough questions asked by a Jew. 

Mubarak lovingly remembers Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu.

Mubarak celebrates the life of NVI co-founder. Abdul Aziz Said. 

Lessons in Nonviolent Palestinian Resistance From the First Intifada: An Interview with Mubarak Awad

Celebrating Mohammed Abu-Nimer

NVI staff present and past, board, former interns, and supporters gathered at the investiture of Mohammed Abu-Nimer to the Abdul Aziz Said Endowed Chair of Peace and Conflict Resolution in the School of International Service at the American University on September 28th. Abdul Aziz Said was a founder and long standing board member of NVI, and Mohammed Abu-Nimer is a current board member.  Present were former NVI staff, Betty Sitka, Karim Crow, Asna Husin, NVI Director Michael Beer, NVI partner Bassam Ishak and his son Said, former intern Majid Abu-Nimer, NVI counsel Bill Espinosa, NVI founder, Mubarak Awad and spouse Nancy Nye, and many NVI supporters including Lester Kurtz, Bobby Herman, Barbara Wien, the El-Hibri family, Elena Turner, & Saji Prelis.


Below, please see a letter from the President of American University announcing that NVI Board member, Mohammed Abu-Nimer, will serve as the inaugural Abdul Aziz Said Chair in International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

More at: https://www.american.edu/change-cant-wait/inspire/aus-newest-endowed-chair-honors-the-legacy-and-future-of-peacebuilding.cfm

Dear AU Community,

Establishing faculty chairs not only furthers the scholarly impact of our expert faculty, but also supports changemaking work in our community and around the world. They are a key priority of the Change Can’t Wait campaign to shape AU’s future. In rare instances, a chair can symbolize both a legacy that means so much to our history as an institution and a call to action for our future.

Today, I am announcing a new chair in the School of International Service (SIS) that achieves this unique distinction. The Abdul Aziz Said Chair in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, named in memory of one of AU’s cherished scholar-teachers and made possible through the philanthropic support of our dedicated community, will advance the vital SIS charge of “waging peace.”

A three-time American University alumnus (SIS/BS ’54, MA ’55, PhD ’57) and member of the SIS faculty for almost 60 years, Professor Said was a mentor to countless students, a friend to generations of AU faculty and staff, and a pioneer in his field. Over his decades of scholarship, Professor Said was sought out by peace activists, policymakers, and thought leaders for his expertise. Diplomats and international delegates often stopped by his campus office for advice on addressing issues of violence, extremism, peace negotiation deadlocks, and conflicts in the Middle East. His innovative thinking and inclusion of disparate perspectives in his scholarship—including spirituality and religion, the promotion of human dignity, human rights and human development, and the social inequity and injustice that fueled conflict among groups and nations—forever shaped the field of international affairs.

As a lifetime champion of peace and conflict resolution, Professor Said modeled the ideals of his scholarship in his own life. For instance, in the 1950s, when Jewish students were excluded from already established organizations on campus, Professor Said stepped forward to help create the AU chapter of the Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity. Serving as faculty advisor for decades, he is fondly remembered by the Phi Epsilon Pi brothers for helping to foster their enduring friendships.

Established in the memory of this true AU changemaker, the endowed Said Chair was made possible through the generosity of numerous alumni, Phi Epsilon Pi brothers, friends, and family and matched by the university in its commitment to honor Professor Said and the important work of the chair. This collective fundraising effort was led by his wife, Elena Turner, SIS/BA ’82, who was instrumental in working with Dean Shannon Hader and the SIS community. The philanthropic investment of our community to honor Professor Said reflects the incomparable impact his work, guidance, mentorship, and empathy made on the lives of students, faculty, and practitioners worldwide.

Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer will serve as the inaugural Abdul Aziz Said Chair in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Professor Abu-Nimer is a prolific scholar with more than 35 years of teaching, including 22 years alongside Professor Said. He currently serves in the SIS International Peace and Conflict Resolution program. His work includes extensive research and practice in peacebuilding in divided societies; nonviolence, dialogue, and religion; the application of conflict resolution models in Muslim communities; Palestinian-Jewish relations in Israel, faith-based peacebuilding, and impact evaluation of peacebuilding interventions.

He received the PEACE Distinguished Scholar Award from the International Studies Association and the International Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, both earlier this year. He is the president and founder of the Salam Institute for Peace and Justice; served several years as a senior advisor of KAICIID Dialogue Centre, an international organization specializing in interreligious and intercultural dialogue; and was director of the Peacebuilding and Development Institute in SIS for 13 years.

Professor Abu-Nimer will carry Professor Said’s legacy to a new generation of scholars and continue to expand SIS’s reputation for “waging peace.” Supporting our faculty scholarship is a cornerstone of our strategy and the Change Can’t Wait campaign. It provides opportunities for our community to learn with foremost experts and to provide actionable research and knowledge that directly impacts the greatest challenges of our time.

Please join me in congratulating Professor Abu-Nimer and thanking the community for supporting his scholarship and honoring the legacy of Professor Said.


Sylvia M. Burwell
President, American University

2023 Distinguished Scholar Award goes to...

Mohammed Abu-Nimer!

Mohammed serves on NVI's Board of Directors and has just been chosen as the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Scholar Award of the Peace Studies Section of the International Studies Associations. The award is given each year to a scholar who has a substantial record of research, practice and/or publishing in the field of peace and conflict studies. The selection committee was deeply impressed by the breadth and quality of his work on interreligious conflict resolution and faith-based peacebuilding, interfaith dialogues, and on incorporating peace and forgiveness into pedagogy in the Muslim world, his expertise in conducting interfaith dialogue workshops and trainings across the world, as well as his institution - and organization - building work. Congratulations on your selection!

At the upcoming 2023 International Studies Association conference which will take place in Montreal, Canada (March 15th – March 18th ) Mohammed was invited to the Distinguished Scholar Awards Roundtable that will celebrate his many contributions to the field.

Congratulations and thank you for all you do Mohammed.

NVI is proud to be associated with your visionary leadership for a better world. 

NVI stands with Rep. Pramila Jayapal

US Rep. Pramila Jayapal recently was rebuked by many in the Congress of the United States for her statement that Israel is a racist state. Her statement is tragically correct. When people who speak important and difficult truths are attacked, the purpose is not just to silence them but also to intimidate others. We at NVI reject this. The world needs more brave people ready to speak unpopular truths raising up our shared humanity. Rep. Jayapal has been a consistent voice for the worth and dignity of all people. In the video below, you will see how she spoke powerfully with Nonviolence International. As she stood with us, when she is under attack, we stand with her and all those willing to speak truth about the sad reality of human suffering. Together we seek to find a path forward to a better world for all. Facing hard truths is an essential part of that path. 

Noura Erakat said on Democracy Now!,

I want to point out that nothing that she said was controversial. If Representative Jayapal is wrong, then so are all the experts and the advocates that study this issue and that apply it across the globe. So, the attack on her is actually a bullying and harassment attack that is meant to scare everyone else from even having a conversation and acknowledging this reality on the ground, and, most importantly, taking responsibility for it.

The United States is not just a bystander here. The United States is complicit and a pillar of Israeli apartheid in its provision on unequivocal financial, diplomatic and military support, that, but for that support, Israel could not sustain this regime, which is not surprising, which is not surprising at all, because the U.S. was the last pillar to fall, the last domino to fall, in sustaining apartheid in South Africa, where it had to fall in line with everyone else. But during apartheid South Africa and the international campaign against it during that regime’s tenure, the United States issued the most vetoes within the Security Council to protect apartheid there, just — to protect apartheid in Namibia and South Africa, and here we’re seeing a similar pattern.

As to the way that Representative Jayapal amended her statement, note that she didn’t walk it back. She didn’t say that Israel is a racist state. She wanted to make a distinction between Israeli people and the Israeli government.

Please see this moving video of Rep. Jayapal speaking to NVI.

Supporting Nonviolent Resistance to the War in Ukraine

Nonviolence International-Ukraine has worked for the last 10 years actively to promote peacebuilding in Ukraine and to support nonviolent resistance to the war.  You can see below an introduction to some of this work.


With your support in 2023 we were able to:
- Hold meetings with numerous Russian diaspora groups in Lithuania, Armenia, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, encouraging them to paly a more active role in anti-war messaging into Russia and demonstrating practical techniques that may be applied to make these activities more effective;
- Organize and support regular seminars of two Russian diaspora activist groups (one in Georgia and one in Kazakhstan) aimed to train communication capabilities in order to increase the effect of their communication into Russia
- Continue monitoring the true state of public opinion inside Russia and develop specific recommendations to different groups of stakeholders, based on the obtained findings

On June 28, 2023, NVI hosted a fascinating and unique webinar with diaspora Russian war evaders and war-resisters. Here is also a lovely summary of the webinar written by David Cortright.

In March-April 2023 NVI-Ukraine Director Andre Kamenshikov undertook a fascinating and important trip to many countries to assess the willingness and capability of the “new” Russian diaspora (those who left Russia because of Putin’s war against Ukraine) to effectively communicate anti-war messages back to their home country. The brief report from this mission can be found here.

Take Action: Contact your elected representative and insist on a policy of asylum for conscientious objectors from Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia.  This action is still needed to this day. Please make your voice heard  and help bring the war to an end.

Feb 14, 2023 - Renowned historian Lawrence Wittner has written a beautiful Homeage to Russian War Resisters.

He writes, "courageous war resisters should remind us that, despite the violence of the Putin regime, a better Russia is possible."

Public Opinion on the War and Anti-War Messaging in Russia

Documenting/Monitoring Russian Public Opinion. NVI-Ukraine is helping ordinary Russian citizens with anti-war messaging from NVI's internal public opinion and messaging reports. Although Russia is a dictatorship - public opinion does matter a lot. In fact, the Russian government is not able to currently sell to its own population the concept of an all-out war against Ukraine, thus it uses euphemisms such as a "special military operation" etc. Due to this - the government cannot announce a full mobilization, it does not have the legal instruments to send people to the battle zone against their will and so on. The reports are researched and produced by a volunteer team through out Russia.

Police Officers Arresting Protesters in St.Petersburg (Source: Aljazeera)

We are also proud to share this visionary report written by NVI Ukraine Director Andre Kamenshikov. This work is a result of effective collaboration between NVI and the Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR).  

NVI Director, Michael Beer, spoke about the power of Nonviolent Direct Action and discussed the war in Ukraine. He introduces the mechanisms of nonviolent action and suggests nonviolent approaches for ending the war in Ukraine.


Coordinating GPPAC. NVI-Ukraine serves as the coordinator of the Eastern European Network for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). GPPAC is the longstanding network of peace groups in the region. GPPAC has long worked to ameliorate internal ethnic, religious and community conflicts in Ukraine and the region. 

On February 22nd, 2022, NVI-Ukraine and GPPAC call for an immediate cessation of all military actions which threaten the lives and livelihoods of citizens of all countries involved. In particular, we urge:

  • All parties to uphold obligations under international humanitarian law regarding conduct during wartime.
  • The international community to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine.
  • Third parties, especially EU countries, to provide safe haven for those people who do not wish to take part in wars of aggression.

We call on Belarus, Russia and Ukraine (and all countries in the world) to honor the conscientious objection of their own citizens and of those in the opposing military forces. We call on Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to cooperate with 3rd countries and swiftly transfer them abroad if the resisters so request. If countries would like to be more generous to these courageous war resisters, then they should offer asylum to their immediate families as well.  If the soldiers do not fight, then wars cannot be fought. 

Nonviolent Resistance in Ukraine. Nonviolence International assisted nonviolent civil resistance in areas occupied by Russian forces in 2022.   While the focus of international media has been primarily on the military resistance of Ukraine to Russian aggression, ordinary unarmed citizens in areas occupied by Russia have been courageously demonstrating their resolve to remain with Ukraine by nonviolent means. In August and September, Nonviolence International co-organized meetings of Ukrainian civil activists who spent months in areas occupied by Russia and were organizing different actions of civil resistance. One outcome of the meeting was to support the establishment of underground clandestine schooling in occupied Ukraine. Here is a report written by Felip Daza Sierra of NOVACT, that documents Ukrainian nonviolent resistance in the first half of 2022. NVI Director, Michael Beer' book, Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century, is cited often in the text and Andre Kamenshikov, NVI Ukraine Director is thanked in the acknowledgements.  Nonviolent Resistance in Ukraine is currently marginal and not now a focus of NVI's work.


As the war drags on, Russia's key military objectives remain unfulfilled. Our hope is that if anti-war attitudes and resistance will continue to grow, while the motivation of those who support the government remains insufficient, this will put the country's leadership in a situation where it will have no other option as to seek peace and discontinue its imperialist policies.

Facilitating Understanding. NVI-Ukraine continues to work closely with a variety of international efforts to facilitate visits, meetings, delegations, humanitarian efforts, and project explorations. We would like to draw attention the work of Nonviolent Peaceforce, Patrir, and PAX. We also speak out to the media on nonviolent alternatives in Ukraine, Russia, and the region. See below for media interviews.

Demonstrators for Peace (Source - Dmitry Serebryakov/AP Photo)

Preventing Nuclear War! Nonviolence International-Ukraine is deeply concerned about the possibility of Russia exploding nuclear weapons or destroying the nuclear power plants in Ukraine.  NVI drafted a letter in April, NVI called on people around the world to appeal to Chairman Xi and Prime Minister Modi to call Putin to dissuade him from exploding nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Take Action: Please contact the governments of China and India to dissuade President Putin from exploding nuclear weapons in Ukraine.


Nonviolence International is proud that Andre Kamenshikov, NVI Ukraine director, was part of this impressive gathering.

Civil Resistance in Ukraine and the Region

How does civil resistance work and what can it achieve? This panel shares how civilians are using strategic civil resistance to diminish the power and impact of the Russian military.

In Ukraine, civilians replace road signs to confuse Russian military vehicles, they block roads with cement blocks and iron pins, and they have set up a complex humanitarian aid system with neighboring countries. Within Russia, protests and resignations by universities, media outlets, and professionals denounce the military invasion. Join us to learn more about the strategy of civil resistance in Ukraine and the region.

Panelists include leading experts in civil resistance, some joining us from the frontlines in Kyiv.

Below you will find a collection of our current resources on Ukraine including press releases, media appearances, statements we support, and shared perspectives. We hope that these not only inform you about Ukraine and nonviolence efforts surrounding it but also that it inspires you to walk with us in nonviolence and support peace activists bravely taking on this stand.

Media Releases

February 25, 2022: English-Speaking Expert Available to Speak to Media from Ukraine. 

February 18, 2022: A Chance for Peace: OSCE Must Strengthen the Ukraine Peace Monitoring Mission. The US Must Reverse Its Withdrawal of OSCE Peace Observers.

Media Appearances

Michael Beer speaks with Metta Spencer about reaching out to Russians to end the war. https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-459-reach-out-to-russians/

Michael Beer speaks on February 23, 2022: WBAI News with Paul DeRienzo: Biden Sanctions Russia, Peacekeeping Troops Arrive, Ukraine Defiant ( Michael speaks at 13:40-18:38)

Andre Kamenshikov, NVI Ukraine Director, speaks on March 2, 2022 Democracy Now!: Nonviolence Int'l in Kyiv: Resistance Mounts to Russian Invasion as 2,000 Civilian Deaths Reported

Andre Kamenshikov speaks with NVI intern Paige Wright on March 7, 2022: Interview with Andre Kamenshikov: Violence in Ukraine and a Call for Peace

Andre Kamenshikov speaks on WORT radio on March 9, 2022: Kamenshikov on Russia's 8 Year War in Ukraine

Shared Perspectives

Below is a collection NVI's press releases and statements from other organizations we support. 

The Humanitarian Disarmament website launched a new Ukraine War and Disarmament Resources page to increase public understanding of the humanitarian disarmament issues raised by the war in Ukraine and to serve as an information center for advocates, journalists, and others.

Former NVI Intern now teaching English in Prague shares her perspective as war refugees are welcomed.

Our friends at the Metta Center for Nonviolence have created this impressive list of relevant resources. 

Don't miss this collection from the Transnational Institute. 

Statement from over 100 peace groups.

Daniel Hunter says Ukraine's Secret Weapon may prove to be Nonviolent Direct Action.

Peace Direct' Statement on Ukraine and Russia

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons' Condemnation of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

Stephen Zunes calls on us to Support International Law Everywhere

John Feffer asks that we Support Diplomacy and the OSCE

Joanne Sheehan notes that war is a crime against humanity on the Metta Center's podcast. 

Move On Petition


There is enormous civilian resistance to this war around the world. In Russia, hundreds of thousands of people have protested with signs and chanting in the streets and more than 7000 have been arrested. In Ukraine we see enormous civil resistance with tactics including various kinds of blockades, mutual aid, changing streets signs, boycotting Russian products, direct appeals to soldiers, singing. Please visit our database of 350 tactics that can inspire people around the world to do something at this time.

Safety Isn't Demolishing a School

In May 2023 I and forty other diaspora Jews joined the Center for Jewish Nonviolence (CJNV) in Palestine to engage in coresistance with Palestinians and learn from them about the daily reality of apartheid. During our time in Occupied East Jerusalem and Masafer Yatta in Area C the policies of ethnic cleansing that are hard to grasp from afar became real to me. So did the power of Palestinian resistance and steadfastness on their land.

A group of us spent several days in Sfai, a village in the southern part of the West Bank in a region called Masafer Yatta. In the 1970’s Israel declared much of Masafer Yatta as Firing Zone 918, which designates that land for military training and prohibits civilian presence. In May 2022, the Israeli high court ruled to expel the residents of Masafer Yatta living in the twelve villages located in the firing zone, including Sfai. Since then attacks from the Israeli Occupation Forces and settlers have intensified and many demolitions have been carried out.

During the few days we spent in Sfai we helped build a playground, connected with our hosts, and heard stories about resisting forced expulsion. On our first morning in Sfai, Hamdan, an activist in Masafer Yatta, brought us to the site of a demolished school. He told us about the day the school was demolished back in November 2022, how the Occupation forces blocked the doors to the school while the students were inside and started firing stun grenades at the teachers, parents, and other adults gathered. When the young students heard the stun grenades they moved to escape through the windows of the school, a place they once felt safe. And just a few weeks later, the Occupation forces came back and destroyed the tent that the school moved to after the violent demolition.

Occupation forces don’t show up with bulldozers to the Israeli settlement just a mile away, also in Firing Zone 918, even though the firing zone declaration—among other laws—prohibits their presence too. They don’t launch stun grenades at the settlers or trap their children inside of a building about to be demolished. Instead the Occupation forces work in concert with settlers, turning their heads when they attack Palestinians and even arresting Palestinians assaulted by settlers for existing on their land.

 Rubble of the demolished school in Sfai

We spent the rest of our time in Sfai working on the playground: installing see-saws, planting trees, and building a fence to make it harder for settlers to damage the equipment. At the end of our last evening in Sfai, many residents joined us on the playground. Kids were running around and playing on the equipment, asking us to play games and push them on the swings. We chatted with older siblings and parents as the sky filled with the sunset. Just before the sun disappeared completely we started our walk back to our host’s home. On the way back I saw the demolished school in the near distance and felt a wave of grief. I thought about my friends, family, teachers, and rabbis, how we all bought into a vision of safety and liberation that produces this reality. Safety isn’t demolishing schools or homes, or attacking Palestinians on their own land. Liberation cannot come from forced expulsion.

The stories we heard from CJNV’s Palestinian partners made it clear: time and options are running out. Please follow and support the work of Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta as they resist the ongoing Nakba and face forced expulsion from their homes:

Please also support our partners and movements working for justice in Palestine:

  • Join the Center for Jewish Nonviolence on the ground for the Olive Harvest later this year. Note the application deadline, July 14th, 2023.
  • Support our fiscally sponsored partners working for justice in Palestine: Hebron International Resource Network, We Are Not Numbers, Holy Land Trust, and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence.
  • Get involved in a movement or organization working for justice in Palestine–reach out to us if we can help guide or connect you.

At NVI our eyes have been on Jenin. As images and first hand accounts of the attacks by the Israeli Occupation Forces from Palestinians in Jenin have come out, our hearts have been filled with grief. If you have not already, please join Americans for Justice in Palestine Action in demanding Biden, Harris, and Blinken to publicly condemn Israeli assault on Jenin, here and here

In solidarity,


P.S. Check out the articles Center for Jewish Non-Violence delegation highlights the importance of direct action in Palestine solidarity and They teach their children to hate by CJNV delegates about our experience on the ground in May!

Tess Greenwood is the Office and Intern Manager at Nonviolence International. She is a member of IfNotNow, the movement of American Jews organizing their community to end U.S. support for Israel's apartheid system and demand equality, justice, and a thriving future for all Palestinians and Israelis. She first joined the Center for Jewish Nonviolence on the ground in Palestine in June 2022 and has since participated in the Olive Harvest and the spring 2023 delegation with a focus on supporting delegates to bring their experiences back to their communities at home. 

(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)

Join the Palestinian Olive Harvest with CJNV


Many of us are hurting now. Those with caring hearts, who are willing to face the reality of the world as it is, are struggling. And, still we know that both our ancestors and future generations are calling on us to persist.

I write these words in a time of growing global violence. I also write as a Jew horrified by the expanding inhumane treatment of Palestinians. A few months back I heard the word “pogrom” used to describe current events, not the distant horrors that my ancestors fled. My initial reaction was to resist the use of this term. And, then I read more about what happened. Sadly, the word fits.

All over the world, people expressed outrage. Could our commitment to Never Again fit this painful reality? I wrote this piece trying to reach out to members of my community about how the occupation is warping Judaism.

In recent weeks, the word has been accurately used again to describe what is really happening to precious people. In times like these many find themselves frozen in fear. Our goal at NVI is to move people to take action. Face our fears and find realistic reasons for grounded hope.

I find hope in the work of our wonderful fiscally sponsored partners. Today, I raise up for your consideration the glorious light of love shining from the solidarity and coresistance model actively employed by the Center for Jewish Nonviolence.

These people understand the beauty at the heart of our faith. And, they act on the need to express our values through daily work. I invite you to look closely at their powerful example. I imagine many who take the time to do so will find a deep well of inspiration. For those looking to take action or learn more about Palestine / Israel please visit this page full of resources.

You can help in a variety of ways. NVI and all our partners value your kind financial support.

CJNV could use your help spreading the word about their upcoming Olive Harvest delegation. Please see below, consider applying yourself, and / or share with others in your community. They have made it easy for us by providing clear concise language and social media share graphics.

We’ve heard that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. True and important, but might we modify it to say, we have a clear and ongoing obligation to both curse the darkness and to light candles of hope. Check out the information below and join me in celebrating the innovative, much-needed work of the Center for Jewish Nonviolence.

Our partners at CJNV are bringing Jewish activists from around the world to join in the olive harvest for week-long shifts this October in this timely and impactful act of coresistance.

Learn more and apply by July 14th at https://cjnv.org/olive-harvest/

(Please note: the images below are from Instagram - so no need to swipe and hotlink mentioned in bio is above) 


(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)

Diaspora Russian War Resisters and Evaders Speak Out

Please watch this recording of our webinar:

Diaspora Russian War Resisters and Evaders Speak Out  


Time Stamps:

5:15 - Andre Kameshikov, Ukraine
17:19 - Konstantin Samoilov, Uzbekistan
26:00 - Nikita Rakhimov, Kazakhstan
32:00 - Evgeni Lyamin, Georgia
40:10 - Alexei Prokhorenko, Poland

47:45 - Questions and Answers

They movingly shared their stories of exile and opposition to this Russian invasion. They talked about the plight of hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling against Russophobia and visa and financial challenges.

Please listen to these brave Russian voices who have not been heard amidst the din of war. Then, please help spread the word.

NVI Ukraine Director, Andre is now focusing on supporting the anti-war movement in Russia. In March-May, he traveled to many countries to which thousands of Russian war evaders and conscientious objectors have fled. He interviewed some of them and surveyed the plight of diaspora war evaders and has written a short report of his findings. You can find this and other report here.

NVI is hosted a webinar on June 26, 2023 to provide a space for Russians who have fled the war to speak out. Speakers will include NVI-Ukraine Director Andre Kamenshikov and Konstantin Samoilov, now based in Uzbekistan, who will speak about the situation of diaspora war resisters and evaders today. Hundreds of thousands of Russians fled the war to neighboring countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Armenia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany.  The resistance and plight have not been heard. NVI will also present its plans for organizing communication groups of diaspora to share alternative information with their families and friends in Russia. 

Konstantin Samoilov is a Russian energy corporation executive turned an anti-war political activist in exile in Uzbekistan now, the host of INSIDE RUSSIA daily show on YouTube and the creator of Tashkent International Breakfast Club where Russians and Ukrainians meet, make amends and heal. Konstantin’s goals are to shed light on current Russian regime’s actions, to stop Russian aggression in Ukraine, to promote future transformation of Russia, to help Ukraine and to create on-line and off-line international communities where repentance, healing and forgiveness takes place.

Andre Kamenshikov, Director, NVI-Ukraine

Andre Kamenshikov is the director of NVI Ukraine and the regional coordinator of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in Eastern Europe. He has worked as a civil peacebuilding activist in conflict zones throughout the ex-USSR for over 30 years, including as the founder of Nonviolence International–CIS, a civil society organization operating in post-Soviet states for 22 years until its closure due to political backlash in Russia. Kyiv-based for the past eight years, Andre works with the local civil society sector to build capacity to contribute to peace and democratic development in Ukraine. He is the author of a number of publications about the role of civil society in post-Soviet conflicts, including “International Experience of Civilian Peacebuilding in the Post-Soviet Space” and “Strategic Framework for the Development of Civil Peacebuilding Activities in Ukraine."

Nikita Rakhimov is a psychologist-psychotherapist living in Kazakhstan. He now works with Russians who have fled and emigrated in connection with the mobilization for war. Nikita has set up a messaging platform to provide psychological support for other Russian emigres avoiding conscription.

Evgeni Lyamin is a 25 year old civil activist from Moscow, engaging in civil activities focusing on humanitarian and anti-war issues in Tbilisi, Georgia. He is the founder of Emigration for Action, a humanitarian aid organization which fundraises to purchase medical supplies and essential goods for refugees of the war. He is the former Media Literacy & Critical Thinking Training Program Coordinator at "Was It in the News?" and former organizer & editor at Space Policy. Evgeni left Russia right after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Alexei Prokhorenko, independent journalist from Russia, now living in Warsaw, Poland. Alexei left Moscow in late September 2022, after partial mobilization was announced in Russia

Hosted by Barbara Wien

Since 1981, Barbara Wien has worked to end human rights abuses, violence, war, and ecological destruction. She has protected civilians from the death squads in conflict zones and worked to establish 280 programs in the study of peace and conflict resolution on campuses around the world. Barbara is a public scholar and peace practitioner with extensive knowledge of gender violence, peacebuilding, nonviolent social movements, and the political economy of war. She has edited and written 27 books and articles, led eight non-profits, and taught at six universities. Recognized for her leadership and “moral courage” five times by foundations and academic societies, Barbara won the 2022 Mohanji Foundation Award for "Visionary Leadership", and named "Peace Educator of the Year" in 2018 by the Peace & Justice Studies Association (PJSA), a network of 500 campuses in Canada and the U.S. Her students voted her “Professor with the Greatest Impact” in 2018 and 2019, and graduate students voted her “My Favorite Professor” in 2015 and 2017. She was featured in Amy Goodman’s book Exceptions to the Rulers (2003), and the Progressive magazine for opposing the military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as a U.S. government official. Her interviews include Canadian Broadcasting, the BBC, Progressive Radio International (PRI), The Washington Post, NBC Nightly News, Defense One, National Public Radio, Australian Broadcasting, Nuclear Times, and further broadcasts in India, Uganda, Zambia, Palestine-Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Winner of the 2022 Mohanji Foundation International Award for Visionary Leadership

"Public Policy and My Journey to Activism," Chapter 9 in Environmental Ethics, 3rd Edition, edited by Michael Boylan, 2022

Police Officers Arresting Protesters in St.Petersburg (Source: Aljazeera)

Demonstrators for Peace (Source - Dmitry Serebryakov/AP Photo)

An invitation to my fellow Jewish Americans mourning the current state of democracy in Israel

With thanks to The Fellowship of Reconciliation

and our former fiscally sponsored partner, Waging Nonviolence,

here is my latest article they just published. 

Please help spread the word and get this in front of people who don't yet agree with me.

Earlier this month, I attended the large Jewish-led demonstration in Washington, D.C. (un)welcoming Israeli Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich to the U.S. We gathered in the cold rain to say that his remarks celebrating a brutal pogrom — and suggesting the state should take over from the settlers and “wipe out” a Palestinian town — are morally unacceptable and antithetical to the values at the core of our faith. We agree that, in this moment, the future of Israeli democracy is being decided.

I found it quite moving to be among so many Jews united in our outrage and concern. It strikes me that there is much agreement among those gathered, and I get the impression that there are important potential disagreements we should discuss openly. First, let’s focus on the points of agreement between us. Since the protest was organized around letting Smotrich know he doesn’t represent us or Judaism, we can assume there is consensus in opposing his rhetoric and policies.

My ancestors fled Eastern Europe running from violent pogroms. I never imagined that my people — the people of the book and of the Exodus — would make the word “pogrom” relevant and force us to face its clear painful definition. But sadly that is where we are. Turning away from this reality does not make it any less real, but instead blocks our chances of co-creating positive change.

So we stood together in Washington, D.C. to call us forward to a better future. I assume we also agree that Smotrich and his ilk can’t define us out of Judaism. Those who have such a narrow, limited, unloving view of Judaism must not be allowed to decide if we, the vast majority of the world’s Jews, are indeed Jewish. I know who I am. They can never take my identity away from me. Nor yours from you.

I hope we also agree that we must actively oppose any attempts to use warped theological cover as an excuse for what comes down to Jewish supremacy. Every group should celebrate the unique beauty of their traditions, but whenever people suggest that “we” are somehow inherently better than “the other,” danger is close at hand. Anyone who pretends that a “Jewish soul” is superior to all others is warping our faith in a way that undermines our proud history. This belief is having a profound impact on key policy decisions and on people’s lives. Thus, we have a clear and ongoing obligation to call out this evil from within our community.

As Jews, our scripture makes clear that freedom is the universal right of all people. In this moment, I hope we can all agree that Palestinians are human beings deserving of the same basic rights as all other precious human beings. This should not be controversial, but sadly it clearly is.

As we mourn the current state of democracy in Israel, I hope we can also agree that the occupation is corrupting Judaism and leading us down a dangerous path. We were told the occupation was defensive in nature and only temporary. Anyone watching closely now knows that is not accurate. As those who long advocated for a two-state solution, we must admit that approach is no longer possible. Instead we are called to the difficult and essential task to find a way to live together.

Maybe those with me on the street that day are not yet in agreement about some of what I’ll raise below, but I hope — building on the major points of agreement above — we can engage in mutually respectful dialogue about these other vital issues. And, at the end of this piece, I offer an invitation to begin that conversation.

Some who gathered to greet Smotrich seem to be of the belief that all was well prior to the last election. They suggest that somehow we could restore a democracy by avoiding the worst excesses of this new extreme government. I’m not Israeli, but instead, like most on the street that day, I’m one of many American Jews who have cared about the region for years. When we came together to let Smotrich know he was not welcome, we brought with us a range of beliefs and approaches to street protest. Remember the old joke about a gathering of Jews always having one more opinion than people? It proved true that day.

I’ve organized many events and I understand the valid concern about message discipline. Still, it was troubling that those in the large group with many Israeli flags were harshly unwelcoming of Palestinian flags joining in. From my perspective, the image of those flags together better represents our deep concerns about Israeli democracy itself. With deliberate intent, Israelis have been told that the Palestinian flag is a symbol of hate. We’d be much better off if people could understand the flag and the familiar head scarf (keffiyeh) as symbols of a people whose basic human needs have not been met. Of course, that vast understatement does not adequately reflect the scope of Palestinian suffering that should concern us all.

It is self-evident to me that you can’t have a healthy democracy while actively implementing oppressive policies that demean the basic humanity of others. If you have another view, I’d like to understand it. I celebrate those standing up for democracy in Israel and ask them to extend their compassion to include Palestinians. It seems to me that any true understanding of democracy requires this simple and essential step.

The changes we need to make are systemic, and still we recognize that all systems are built on individual actions. What we each do over time creates the system we live in. Maybe if those of us who ended up on that same street, at the same time, can find a way to better understand each other, we can do our small part to help create that larger system-wide change we so desperately need. Having celebrated dialogue groups in the past, I now see both their power and their limitations. It seems they can give good-hearted caring people something meaningful to do while the oppressive structure remains firmly in place. Still, in these troubled times, I’m not willing to give up on communication between people, even those with fundamental disagreements.

So I invite each of you reading this to check out the Global Town Hall that took place on Tuesday, March 28. We gathered to hear from two renowned nonviolent Palestinian scholars and activists, one just returned to the U.S. and the other joining us while on a trip to the region. These smart visionary leaders are worth listening to.

Of course, this is not the only opportunity to listen to Palestinians or engage with others coming to terms with what is happening in the world these days. If you couldn’t make this particular conversation, please find others. Consider getting in touch with me and seeing what kind of forum we might craft together. In particular, I ask readers to help get this piece in front of the new organization UnXeptable and the longtime Progressive Israel Network, which both played key roles in the protest.

To all those who were with us on the street that day and to those with us in spirit, let’s build on our shared concern for peace and democracy in the region and be ready to listen and learn together as we seek a path forward to a better future. We all agree that we stand at a crossroads. For many of us, this perilous moment is deeply frightening, but we must not hide from that fear. I still believe that if we work together it might also prove to be a moment of opportunity. The veil has been lifted. Let us be brave enough to see clearly the challenges we face and together find a way to overcome them.

NVI is interested in supporting efforts to provide direct relief to the residents of Huwara. 

If you can, please consider making a donation. 

If you give, please let us know it is for this purpose. 


(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)

NVI Stands in Solidarity with People of Sudan

Nonviolence International is deeply concerned about recent events in Sudan.

June 2023

Sudanese civil society is united both home and abroad in opposing the Rapid Support Forces (militia) and the Sudanese Army in their fight for power.  The country has been in a transition period since the dictator Al-Bashir was removed from power in 2019. The people of Sudan want democracy and an end to corruption. They are now suffering enormous humanitarian hardships because of the fighting.  They are crying out for help.  The violent solutions to Sudan's condition are not working. Nonviolence is the only way to a vibrant inclusive Sudan.

NVI Director, Michael Beer, spoke at a Sudanese led rally on June 3rd in Washington, DC at the US Capitol.  He suggested to the crowd to

1) Ask the US and other governments to provide more humanitarian aid, visas for refugees, and to pressure the neighboring countries to support civil society and democracy in Sudan.

2) Support the white flag campaign which was started by Sudanese people in Khartoum.  Let’s encourage everyone to display white flags on their social media platforms and homes and cars calling for a ceasefire and a return to democracy. Please see more here


Please donate to NVI to support nonviolent solidarity work for Sudan.

Social media accounts to follow and support:


Sudan Foreign Translators for Change

Sudan Uprising

Sudan Change Now

Hashtags to learn more about the Sudanese resistance:

 #SudanCeasefire #EndthewarinSudan

November 24th, 2021 - Our good friend, community organizer, and nonviolence activist, Mubarak Elamin was featured on Metta Center's podcast talking about Sudan. Check out this transcript which also includes an impressive conversation with our new partner Solidarity 2020 and Beyond. 

Michael Beer, our longtime Director, spoke at a rally on Saturday, October 30th in Washington, DC. 

He also gave a powerful interview on WBAI radio. His remarks begin at the 10:38 mark.-(WBAI Radio Link) 

As with all issues, NVI is committed to bringing our values forward. That includes raising up local leaders. We know those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. In this case, we were deeply moved by the nonviolent discipline of the brave leaders in Sudan. Please see updates and action steps from our Sudanese colleagues below. 

From July 2020

Nonviolence International is thrilled to share this video featuring our impressive friends and colleagues educating us about the people power nonviolent revolution in Sudan and the current challenges they face today.

The brave nonviolent revolution in Sudan inspires us and deserves our active support. Instead the US government is blaming them for the past actions of the very brutal regime they fought to remove from power. Our moral obligation is clear and in this instance lines up well with our strategic interests. We should 1) immediately remove the sanctions, and 2) lead an international effort to provide much needed humanitarian support so that the transitional government can succeed. 

Our speakers include Khartoum-based experts: Asma Ismail Ahmed - a well known civil society activist, Anthony Haggar - a prominent businessman and influential leader, as well as Jalelah Sophia Ahmed - a leader in the Sudanese diaspora in Washington DC. US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal joins us to speak about what US and global citizens can do to help.

Our host is Michael Beer, NVI Director, who provided much needed support for the Sudanese people during the uprising.

Time Stamps: 

Anthony Haggar - 6:25

US Rep. Pramila Jayapal - 16:13

Asma Ismail Ahmed - 29:53

Jalelah Sophia Ahmed - 38:36

Q&A and Group Discussion - 45:12

Below is a clip from the same webinar featuring US Representative Pramila Jayapal speaking about the people power nonviolent revolution in Sudan. She represents Washington's 7th congressional district and is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Rep. Jayapal joined us for a webinar led by our Sudanese colleagues. 

She has just released an important new book. Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change.  https://thenewpress.com/books/use-power-you-have

You can follow her on Twitter @RepJayapal.

For more on this important topic, please see:




From October 2020

NVI is proud to announce Michael Beer and Mubarak Elamin's (of the Sudan Policy Group) recent and important piece on Common Dreams. In their op-ed, they call on the US to revoke its decision to extort $335 million from the Sudanese People. Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world with not enough food or medicine for their citizens. Thus, punishing the people of Sudan for overthrowing their dictator in a nonviolent revolution is nonsensical. 

Here is a short snippet from the article:

"US policies are adding to a nightmare for the Sudanese people who have just suffered from the worst flooding in a century. While the US wasted a year to free Sudan from this terrorist designation, Sudan was unable to trade worldwide and obtain support from multilateral institutions to rebuild its economy and deal with covid19. The US is extorting the Sudanese people for the terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda on US citizens. However the Sudanese people and the present government are in no way responsible for those criminal acts. It was the government of the Sudanese dictator Al-Bashir that protected Al Qaeda during the early to mid-1990s, prior to the attacks against U.S. interests in Kenya and Tanzania. In 2019, the Sudanese people revolted in a nonviolent struggle and successfully ousted the dictator and his ruling party. The new government has succeeded in signing peace agreements ending three civil wars.

The victims of bombings deserve reparations. If reparations are to be paid, let the US and Saudi Arabia lead the way. The US and Saudi are not solely responsible for Al Qaeda but their policies greatly boosted its growth. Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden who used the Saudi supported Salafi theology to create a violent group opposing non-Sunnis and, ironically, later to the Saudi monarchy. Its success was attributed to the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia and by the US support for Israel."

Here is the full article.

From September 2020

As some of you may know, Nonviolence International has been collaborating closely with brave nonviolent activists working in Sudan. We just received this amazing photo of a mural that was recently completed. We are told this is at the crossroads of major roads that connect Khartoum North with Omdurman in Sudan. 

The mural displays the names of friends and allies who have supported the nonviolent movements in Sudan during their time of crisis. You will see the names of:

Sudan Mural

Michael Beer - Director of Nonviolence International.

Stephen Zunes - Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco with a concentration in strategic nonviolence. Long time supporter and colleague of NVI.

Michael Nagler - President of the Metta Center for Nonviolence Education, and Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Long time support of NVI.

Stephanie Van Hook - Executive Director of the Metta Center.

Steve Williamson - Human rights activist and educator.

Walter Turner - Host of Radio, KPFK, about Africa and the African Diaspora.

Pramila Jayapal - Washington State representative in Congress and Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus.

Michael Beer and NVI provided support for the people of Sudan by

  • Offering webinars on nonviolent resistance seen by 350,000 people.
  • Spoke at major Sudan protests in Washington, DC.
  • Provided expert testimony for a Congressional briefing on Sudan,
  • Provided daily coaching for some of the mediators from May through July.
  • Raising humanitarian funds for the nonviolent resistance.

We have co-founded a new Sudanese network called Madania. This is a network of Sudanese educators who want to promote civic education in Sudan.  After being under a dictator for 30 years, many people don’t know how to participate in their own governance. Madania will be mapping the extent of civic education (human rights, nonviolence, voter, political party, etc) efforts in Sudan, begin creating networks of Sudanese civic educators, and provide a vehicle on the internet for mass education on citizen empowerment. Please support us monthly as we continue our Sudanese solidarity work.

We thank the Sudanese for creating and sharing this beautiful mural and for the deep and lasting impact their brave, creative, and constructive witness has had on all of us.

In these challenging times, the Sudanese people inspire us to keep focused on the much needed transformation in our own society. 

Summary: In 2019, Sudanese activists succeeded in ending the autocratic rule of Omar al-Bashir and instituting democratic reforms. However, on 25 October 2021, the Sudanese military led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan took control of the government in an attempted military coup. At least five senior government figures were initially detained. Civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok refused to declare support for the coup and on 25 October called for popular resistance; he was shifted to house arrest on 26 October. Widespread internet outages were also reported. Later the same day, the Sovereignty Council was dissolved, a state of emergency was put in place, and a majority of the Hamdok Cabinet and a large number of pro-government supporters had been arrested.

Major civilian groups including the Sudanese Professionals Association and Forces of Freedom and Change called for civil disobedience and refusal to cooperate with the coup organisers. Mass protests took place on 25 and 26 October against the coup, with lethal responses by the military. At least 10 civilians were killed and over 140 injured during the first day of protests. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Information and the Prime Minister's Office refused to recognize the transfer of power, stating that the coup was a crime and that Hamdok remained Prime Minister.

Sudan action steps in 2019:


Please contact your governments to demand a strong response in opposition to the putsch. Special attention should be paid to countries that have not condemned the coup including Egypt, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

US Residents:

We are asking all Sudanese-Americans and Friends of Sudan in the United States to call the leaders below and ask them to hold an emergency hearing on the crisis in Sudan.

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