Updates-A Story of Realistic Hope

Explore Our Webinar Series: "We Are All Part of One Another"

Barbara Deming wrote the words that serve as the title of our webinar series, “We Are All Part of One Another.” Her prophetic words ring true today more than ever. 

The global pandemic has once again revealed how broken our system is. May it also remind us all of our shared humanity.

In this series, you will find stories of the amazing work being done by people all over the world, including our wonderful partners.  We trust you will find a reason for grounded realistic hope. Even in the midst of so many daunting challenges, people all over are building a powerful, diverse, global nonviolent movement. We are glad to be able to play a key role as a backbone organization of this global movement and to share this knowledge with you.

We will continue to host inspirational conversations of hope in this new world we have emerged into and announce them on this page.


Coming up: Wednesday, May 5th at 10:30am ET

NVI Book and Database Launch on Nonviolent Tactics

Register for this exciting discussion here.

 

Resisting Occupation: Connecting Palestine and Western Sahara 

 

This was one of the first times that we could hear Palestinian and Sahrawi voices share their experience of nonviolent resistance to occupation in Palestine and Western Sahara on the same panel.

 

Jonathan Kuttab's Booklet Launch: Beyond the Two-State Solution with co-founder of Nonviolence International and human rights attorney Jonathan Kuttab, Black-Palestinian poet Azmera Hammouri-Davis, human rights lawyer Robert Herbst, and feminist Jewish educator Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb. Hosted by Co-Director of Nonviolence International David Hart.

We are starting to roll out the short book, Beyond The Two-State Solution, by Jonathan Kuttab, and already we are thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response we are getting. These days many of us are looking for hope in hard times. Jonathan gives us just that. Share the inspiration for a new and better world by watching this webinar.

Democracy Defense II: Global Activists' Advice for US Transition with Myanmarese youth advocate and activist Shunleiyi Thinzar, Gambian journalist and advocate Muhammed Bah, Serbian professor, and nonviolent organizer Ivan Marovic, and Chilean academic and political scientist Patricio Zamorano. Hosted by an incoming board member of NVI and director of FREE Syria Rafif Jouejati. 

International activists share critical lessons and advice for organizing after election wins ousting authoritarian leaders in divided societies. A vital topic in the current situation in the United States.

Democracy Defense: Advice from Activists Around the World with, Philippine professor and activist Joaquin Gonzalez, Serbian professor and nonviolent organizer Ivan Marovic, Gambian organizer and activist Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, Brazilian organizer and activist Joana Varon, and American professor, and author Stephen Zunes. Hosted by author and activist Maria J. Stephan.

Is U.S. democracy staring at its own grave? Might we need to protect election results against a militarized, white supremacist effort to stop a full vote count? Are Americans up against something unlike anything they’ve experienced in our lifetime? We’ve organized a panel of global anti-coup experts to advise Americans on their strategy for the months or years ahead.

Nonviolent Activism in the Islamic World in a Time of Islamophobia with Thai professor and activist Chaiwat Satha-Anand, Sudanese social justice activist, researcher, and feminist Hala Al-Karib, Kashmiri writer-activist Mushtaq Ul-Haq Ahmad Sikandar, and Lebanese-American scholar and former Director of NVI's Islam and Peace program, Karim Crow. Hosted by Nonviolence International board member and American University professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer.

In a time of substantial Islamaphobia across the world, Nonviolence International hosts experts in the field of Islam and nonviolent activism. They discuss the rich diversity of nonviolent resistance and activism in Thailand, Kashmir, Sudan, Palestine, and other Muslim states and communities. 

People Power and Democracy in Sudan with Anthony A. Haggar from the Haggar Group, Sudanese civil society activist Asma Ismail Ahmed, Sudanese-American journalist and human rights activist Jalelah Sophia Ahmed, and progressive leader US Representative Pramila Jayapal. Hosted by Executive Director of Nonviolence International Michael Beer.

Watch a discussion about the country's nonviolent revolution and the current situation facing the Sudanese people and their government. Sudanese professionals, civil society activists, and journalists will share their hopes and plans for Sudan's future and articulate ways in which the international community, and specifically the USA, can help.

Co-Resistance and Solidarity with Palestinians with Elias D'eis and Said Durzi Zarar of the Holy Land Trust as well as Scout Bratt and Clare Jordan of the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. Hosted by new NVI board member Mohammed Abu-Nimer.

Observe our impressive partners, Holy Land Trust and Center for Jewish Nonviolence, lead the way to a model of grassroots co-resistance and solidarity that has the power to transform our beautiful and broken world. 

Nonviolent Resistance to Nuclear Weapons and War with Patrick O’Neill and Martha Hennessy of the Plowshares Movement, Alyn Ware of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, Mani Shankar Aiyar of the Indian National Congress Party, and Divina Maloum of Children for Peace. Hosted by Paul Magno.

Listen to our discussion of important nonviolent campaigns that seek to eliminate the risk of nuclear conflict, hear the stories of inspiring actions that activists have undergone, and learn more about the role global citizens can take.  

Creative Nonviolent Action for Palestine During COVID-19 with Alex McDonald of the US Boats to Gaza, Raed Shakshak of We Are Not Numbers, and Roshan Dadoo of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, South Africa. Hosted by NVI founders Mubarak Awad and Jonathan Kuttab.

Witness some of our partners and friends address the situation in Palestine in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. We will also discuss important campaigns that promote nonviolence in the Levant, with a specific focus on the Gaza Strip, during the pandemic.
Women Fighting for Our Planet (Climate Change Activism) with Phyllis Omido from Kenya, Kehkashan Basu of the United Arab Emirates, Tamara Lorincz from Canada, Juhee Lee from Korea, Raeesah Noor-Mahomed from South Africa, and hosted by Dr. Maia Hallward Learn about the global ecological movement to discuss important campaigns that help promote effective action on the climate crisis.

Nonviolent Responses to Militarism and COVID-19 with Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, Jan Jaap van Oosterzee of PAX, & Carina Solmirano of Control Arms

 Discover campaigns that will make a difference promoting a more nonviolent world during the pandemic and provide a counternarrative to the increasing militarism around the world.

Nonviolence in this Beautiful and Broken World with Nadine Bloch of Beautiful Trouble, Chelsea Byers of the Campaign to Abolish Statutes of Limitations, & Phil Wilmot of Solidarity Uganda

Find out about some of the new creative tactics of resistance activists have been using during this time of crisis.
Nonviolence in Palestine with Sami Awad of Holy Land Trust Listen to Sami Awad discuss the role nonviolence has in the struggle of the Palestinian people, as well as hear updates about the situation on the ground during this time of the pandemic. 
Nonviolence in a Time of Crisis with Mubarak Awad Hear Mubarak Awad, the founder of Nonviolence International, share his warmth and wisdom and tell how he got his start in nonviolence resistance. 


We don’t know what the future will hold, but we believe that nonviolence is a force more powerful. And, we know nonviolence is both an effective tool to create real and lasting social change as well as a way of life for many of us.


We urge you to reach out to us and to your friends, family, and community. We must not allow the medically necessary social distancing to limit our equally necessary need to connect with other people. At this moment, we must rise up as one and declare that a new and better world is possible.

The forces of the status quo, from governments to corporations to far too many leaders, have once again been proven to be cruel and heartless. How many canaries in the coal mine do we need before we wake up and create a path - a bold and beautiful path - out of this darkness?

May you stay safe and healthy and may your life be a blessing to others.

The Many Faces of Nonviolence - Micro Action Movement

Written by David Hart

Nonviolence International Welcomes Micro Action Movement

We are thrilled to welcome our latest fiscally sponsored partner - Micro Action Movement. 

I am particularly excited about this collaboration because many people I speak to these days are overwhelmed by the state of the world. The problems we face can seem so massive (because they are) and more and more people are coming to see they are deeply interconnected and we will not be able to solve anyone of them without making progress on all of them. 

Understandably this reality can freeze people in fear rather than inspire them to take effective action. This wonderful project breaks through that challenging barrier by showing us all small and meaningful steps we can each take that together can have a massive impact. And, they brilliantly encourage people to find ways to creatively collaborate across borders we have allowed for far too long to divide us. 

Nonviolence International is providing fiscal sponsorship for this project in the US and around the world, but it is already underway in Sweden. Back in the before times when we worked in the office and had guests, Stellan Vinthagen wrote saying he was coming to town and asked to meet with Michael Beer. Michael was heading on a trip, but kindly asked if I'd like to host Stellan. I was pleased to do so having read his brilliant academic writings that take activism seriously. Then when he arrived he was so kind and gave time not just to me, but to the exceptional young leaders interning with us. We covered many topics including his emerging focus on Everyday Resistance. We didn't know where this conversation might lead, but closed with the hope that we might find ways to collaborate in the future. See more on his work and a short video below.

Now as we get to work together, I've had the pleasure of starting to get to know the true driving force behind this project Rebecca Vinthagen, Stellan's sister. She is a trained political and gender scientist and has extensive experience as a workshop and process leader. She lectures and educates in issues around norm criticism, organizational development, leadership and norm-critical design. She is also trained in Nonviolent communication and working with her is a joy. 

Together with a strong team they are bringing their app beyond its successful launch in Sweden. Please consider celebrating them joining the NVI family by making a generous donation now. Or how about becoming one of their first monthly sustaining donors? Or tell a friend that you were pleased to learn about them, or download the app and get started taking creative action now. Whatever you do, we hope that directly after you read these words you will take some small action... maybe even a micro action. Join the nonviolent creative fun-loving movement and help build a better world. 

Donate to Micro Action Movement here. 

For more info please visit https://microactionmovement.com/

Get the free app by clicking on the images below. 
          

Stellan Vinthagen is a scholar and activist. A professor of Sociology, and the Inaugural Endowed Chair in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is Editor of the Journal of Resistance Studies, and Co-Leader of the Resistance Studies Group at University of Gothenburg, in his native Sweden. With a deep dedication to conflict transformation and civil disobedience, he has authored and edited numerous books, putting out his latest A Theory of Nonviolent Action – How Civil Resistance Works. Follow Stellan on Twitter - https://twitter.com/svinthagen​

Here is great conversation he had with Kelly Quinn for our Spotlight on Nonviolence series. 

People Power in Burma/Myanmar Close to Reversing Coup D'etat

Nonviolence International is participating in a global effort providing training and educational materials in support of the Burmese struggle for democracy. Michael Beer, NVI's Director has recently provided training to Chin minorities in strategic nonviolent struggle.  NVI has also helped facilitate the translation of many useful guides and materials on nonviolence.  NVI Canada Board member, Yeshua Moser-Puouangsuwan recently released an article in which he investigated the origin and transfer of Italian shotgun shells to Myanmar that were used to attack an ambulance. NVI has also signed on to a letter in solidarity with trade unions in Burma.

All supporters of democracy are encourage to use nonviolent boycotts towards the Myanmar military. In the US, efforts to pass targeted sanction legislation can be encouraged. Recent defections by Myanmar diplomats in New York, London, Geneva, and Washington DC have lifted up hopes for the Burmese people. Please contact diplomats in your country and invite them to stand by the people of Myanmar.


Update: Watch NVI’s Director Michael Beer in an interview with student activist Me Me Khant.

The two discuss ideas on nonviolence and nonviolent action as it relates to the current struggle in Myanmar/Burma.

 

cdm_burma.jpg


Background:

For 3 decades, Michael Beer, Mubarak Awad and NVI staff have met people from all over Myanmar who have suffered unspeakable crimes of torture, imprisonment, rape, and displacement by the Burma/Myanmar military. Ethnic minorities such as the Rohingya, Karen, Kachin, Shan, and Chin have been particularly brutalized.

People around the world are sickened by the sexist coup d’etat. Despite having enormous power, they were not satisfied with sharing power with a woman, Aung San Suu Kyi, whose political party won 83% of the seats in November.

Understandably, the people of Myanmar are resisting the military coup d’etat on an enormous scale. Government doctors are going on strike. Myanmar citizens have been responding every night by engaging in a mass nonviolent tactic of caceleroza which involves the banging of pots and pans. Many governments, including Southeast Asian nations, are protesting. Ethnic minorities are united in opposition. World-wide, citizens are planning to re-launch global boycotts. This coup will not succeed if enough pressure can be brought upon the coup plotters. Join NVI in supporting the people in Burma to challenge patriarchal and military rule.

Nonviolent resistance brought about an end to absolute military rule in Myanmar in 2008. Much progress has been made in the last generation in terms of freedom of speech and assembly, free elections, a huge improvement in the rights of women, labor unions, some ethnic minorities and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. This progress will not easily be reversed because the people of Myanmar will bravely defend these gains. Nonviolence International supports calls from Myanmar civil society in calling on all governments to impose targeted sanctions on the Myanmar military.


Read: NVI Director Michael Beer quoted in this recent article in The Progressive.

Listen: "The Backlash Against the Military Coup from Brave Citizens in Myanmar"- Michael Beer featured on Background Briefing with Ian Masters


Nonviolence International invites everyone to take these important actions:

Here is a link to a letter we co-signed. It asks apparel brands sourcing from Myanmar to ensure protection of worker's rights

Tell luxury jeweler Harry Winston (owned by Swatch) to stop selling jewelry with Burmese #GenocideGems.

Demand Facebook remove all Myanmar military accounts from its platform.


For more information, see also:

https://burmacampaign.org.uk/ (British and global)
Good place for information. https://www.altsean.org/ (ASEAN focussed)

Michael Beer, Director of Nonviolence International, trained hundreds of people and guerrillas from Myanmar in nonviolent action and strategy in the 1990's. Co-trainers at various times included Gene Sharp, Bob Helvey, Eric Garcetti, and George Lakey. He is the author of Violent and Nonviolent Struggle in Burma: Is a Unified Strategy Workable, in Nonviolent Social Movements: A Geographical Perspective, Edited by Stephen Zunes, Lester R. Kurtz and Sarah Beth Asher, Blackwell Publishing, 1999. He has trained people in many countries and is the founder of NVI's Tactics Database and (in partnership with Rutgers University) our NV Training Archives, and author of forthcoming book on Civil Resistance Tactics of the 21st Century. 

Michael taught nonviolent resistance to Burmese beginning in 1990 with George Lakey and then with Col Bob Helvey and Gene Sharp in 1992. He helped train more than 1000 guerrillas and civilians in NV struggle over 10 years. He organized some of the first Burmese solidarity efforts in the US beginning in 1990. Currently re-engaging with Burmese activists and provided trainings this week to Burmese inside on nonviolent resistance. 

 

Please click here to read the history of Nonviolent Struggle In Burma/Myanmar.

Speaking Truth to Power Book Cover

Spotlight on Nonviolence - Katherine's Introduction

Hello Everyone! My name is Katherine Whiteside and I will be joining Kelly on the Spotlight Series Project as an Intern at Nonviolence International this spring semester. In this video, I explain why I decided to Intern at Nonviolence International and a little bit about my background. I am so excited to converse with and learn from Nonviolent leaders through the Spotlight series.



A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support.


 

We are All Part of One Another

By David Hart

The great Barbara Deming wrote the words in the title of this post,  “We are All Part of One Another.” Her prophetic words ring true today more than ever. Please see videos of our webinar series named after this line. (For more on Barbara Deming, please see links at the bottom of this page.) 

The global pandemic has once again revealed how broken our system is.

May it also remind us of our shared humanity. 

During this challenging time, all of us at Nonviolence International (NVI) are reflecting on our wonderful community. We don’t know what the future will hold, but we do believe that nonviolence is a force more powerful. And, we know nonviolence is both an effective tool to create real and lasting social change as well as a way of life for many of us.

We urge you to reach out to us and to your friends, family, and community. We must not allow the medically necessary social distancing to limit our equally necessary need to connect with other people. In this moment, we must rise up as one and declare that a new and better world is possible.

We have been working hard to create resources about nonviolence that can serve as a source of inspiration. Explore our website for our recent posts and projects. To get you started: 

Check out the recent posts in our Many Faces of Nonviolence series. You will find profiles of the amazing work being done by people all over the world, including some of our partners. Even in the midst of so many daunting challenges, people all over are building a powerful, diverse, global nonviolent movement. We are glad to be able to play a key role as a backbone organization of this global movement and to share these stories with you.

We also have partnered with our awesome NVI New York City office to produce a still growing series of videos celebrating 30 years of Nonviolence International. In this series you will find brilliant, passionate, creative leaders working to change the world. They tell some deeply moving stories and challenge us to do even more in the years to come. Deep gratitude to Team NYC and to all of those who took time to be interviewed for this series.   

May you stay safe and healthy.


For more about the great Barbara Deming, please see: 

https://mettacenter.org/podcast/barbara-deming-wisdom-identity-nonviolence/

https://www.warresisters.org/win/win-summerfall-2013/saving-remnant-radical-lives-barbara-deming-and-david-mcreynolds

http://peacecampherstory.blogspot.com/2015/01/wvc-august-6-1983.html

https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/schlesinger-library/collection/barbara-deming


 

Citizen Mobilization Amidst Government Inaction on COVID: the Case of Belarus


The past year has unearthed different government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. These responses range from competent management of the pandemic through strict measures like lockdowns all the way to a complete lack of disease-prevention intervention. Belarus’ authoritarian regime not only failed to protect its citizens, but also entirely denied the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study, conducted through interviews of civil activists and journalists in Belarus, reveals the many ways in which Belarus’ authorities concealed information and denied care to individuals who needed it the most. The study also outlines the ways in which citizens of Belarus utilized a volunteer movement rooted in mutual aid to mobilize against a hostile government amidst a global pandemic.

The citizen mobilization around COVID-19 in Belarus had a significant effect on the presidential election and the subsequent movement to protect society and resist the coup d'etas.

NVI Ukraine has issued this report as coordinator for Eastern European Network of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). We hope you will find the study in this PDF, written by NVI-Ukraine's director Andre Kamenshikov, helpful and edifying:

Spotlight on Nonviolence - Stellan Vinthagen

In this Spotlight on Nonviolence, Kelly Quinn digs into a new perspective with Dr. Stellan Vinthagen on nonviolent action, conflict transformation, and how civil disobedience is evolving as the way humans wage war has evolved drastically.



Dr. Stellan Vinthagen is a scholar and activist. A professor of Sociology, and the Inaugural Endowed Chair in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is Editor of the Journal of Resistance Studies, and Co-Leader of the Resistance Studies Group at University of Gothenburg, in his native Sweden. With a deep dedication to conflict transformation and civil disobedience, he has authored and edited numerous books, putting out his latest A Theory of Nonviolent Action – How Civil Resistance Works. Follow Stellan on Twitter - https://twitter.com/svinthagen 


A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support. 


 

Celebrating Abdul Aziz Said, co-founder of Nonviolence International

Abdul Aziz Said Memorial

We are sad to report the news that Professor Abdul Aziz Said died on January 22, 2021. He was well loved and respected for his decades of service and leadership. 

In recognition of his lifelong contributions to peace and nonviolence, we would like to post your tributes and stories about Professor Abdul Aziz Said here on the Nonviolence International website.

Let us celebrate the great person he was and work to continue his proud legacy. Abdul Aziz Said co-founded Nonviolence International. He was a world-renowned educator, a Syrian-born writer and professor of international relations for 60 years at American University, where he was the founding director of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution department at the School of International Service.

In the coming days, we will posting tributes from those who knew and loved him best. Please check back on this page for updates. For now, please watch this touching tribute from his dear friend and our founder, Mubarak Awad. See also a short powerful video from Professor Abdul Aziz Said himself celebrating our 30th anniversary. 

We know he touched many lives and welcome your reflections on a life well lived. Please send them to us here.  




To see a list of his publications and more, please visit: https://www.american.edu/sis/faculty/asaid.cfm


In recognition of the many lifelong contributions to peace by Professor Abdul Aziz Said, Nonviolence International has started a new program under which interns will receive stipends for their service. This financial aid is provided to perpetuate the legacy of Abdul Aziz Said, who co-founded Nonviolence International in 1989 and devoted his life to inspiring students to promote peace and global understanding. In particular, this scholarship will ensure that international students and those of modest financial means will have an equal opportunity to gain professional experience. 

https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/donate_scholarship_fund

You can also make contributions to support all the work of NVI at: https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/donate


Professor Abdul Aziz Saՙid taught for many decades since 1956 at The American University in the School of International Service, where he helped ensure a Middle Eastern presence at AU with a focus on Arab issues, and (since 1995) on Peace & Conflict Resolution studies. In his later years Professor Saՙid increasingly focused on Islamic peace studies, while his engaged presence and informed dedication as an educator and advisor inspired many. I worked with him for several years in the late 1990’s when Saՙid was the first holder of the M. Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace, and founded AU’s Center for Global Peace. Saՙid maintained a life-long concern with Sufi ideas, bringing to bear his cross-cultural sensitivity as a Syrian Orthodox Christian. His lasting legacy was facilitating the promotion of Peace Studies within the American academy.

Professor Karim Douglas Crow 


Quick recollection of Prof Said: I remember when he insisted on being the one to bestow an honorary degree on then Israeli PM Rabin at the Kennedy Center in March 1977. It was also the same day of the Hanafi's attacks at three locations in DC, which caused Rabin to leave right after the ceremony. Prof Said was very gracious and the significance of his words and presence were not lost on Rabin and the audience. I took classes on the Middle East and US relations with the USSR/E. Europe, graduated in 1978, did a Masters in Jerusalem, then entered the US Foreign Service in 1987. I came back to AU once or twice and visited with the Professor, who remembered me and sat me down in his office for a chat. Only fond memories of him. He inspired me for years to come. I retired this past year after 38 years at the State Department. As an aside, here is a link to an article I wrote about my time at Camp David 1978, as an intern soon after graduation: http://www.afsa.org/being-there-camp-david-1978.

Respectfully, Frank J. Finver (Class of 1978)


It seems fitting that Abdul Aziz Said should have passed at a time when our nation cries out for an elusive unity.

Professor Said affected thousands as an educator. For six decades, year after year, thousands of students passed through American University’s School of International Service under his watch. He was equally well known as an advocate of peace, particularly but by no means solely in the Middle East. He was the founding director of AU’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution program. He was an advisor to both the Bush and Carter Administration and a frequent formal and informal envoy to the region.

But his influence also extended in a third arc: as a spiritual guide. Professor Said emerged from a Syrian Orthodox Christian family and the Sufi traditions in his native land; his “students” were typically touched in origin by one or more of the three Abrahamic faiths--Jewish, Christian, Muslim—though some had also followed Buddhist or other Eastern traditions and among them were even “Nones”. Perhaps central to his teaching was the concept of tawhid, that the Universe is One and its corollary, that we are all connected.

I first met Abdul Aziz at his office at American University on a winter solstice in the early 80s. He told me the following story. The student asked the teacher, where shall I go to find God. The teacher pointed to what appeared to be little more than a dot on a distant horizon. So the student set out and after months of travel saw the dot gradually growing into a vast, steep mountain. He thought he would never be able to climb the escarpment. But then he grew closer and saw that there was a path curving across the slope . Encouraged, he travelled further. When he arrived near the base of the mountain, he saw that there were in fact many paths going up the mountain and many people rising along the paths. The student went further and began to climb the mountain but as he came within sight of the top, he suddenly realized--together with the others who had climbed so far-- that there was in fact no mountain.

And so it is that I learned that in the search for our deepest identity, we find the unity that connects us all.

May the Peace and Unity of his Being remain and inspire us in the difficult months ahead.

Bill Espinosa


Last weekend my advisor in graduate school, Dr. Abul Aziz Said, died after a long life and a rich lifetime of service. It's impossible to list all the contributions this great human being made over the course of his lifetime, but I can say he was one of those whose support and friendship I will never forget. In 1988 I had been accepted to two masters programs in international affairs--one at Syracuse University and one at American University. I knew no one at either school, but Abdul Aziz was the director of the AU program in peace and conflict resolution and I wanted to go there, so I made an appointment, drove to Washington, DC and went to plead my case.

I told him my situation and that I preferred the AU program but I wasn't getting a large enough student loan package to manage it, and I wondered if he had any idea what I could do to change the financial aide offer. He heard me out and we had tea. He asked me about my family, how I had grown up, and why I went to study in India, making it obvious that he had read my application essay in detail. Then he asked what I wanted to do with a masters degree, and I said I wasn't sure, but whatever happened I wanted to be useful and contribute to something larger than myself. He nodded and got on the phone. The next thing I know, the dean of the School for International Service was in the room. Abdul Aziz tells him, "I'd like you to meet my graduate teaching assistant for the fall." And the rest is history.

He was a great soul and a great educator. Thank you, Abdul Aziz. I will miss you.

Laura Barnitz


I am deeply sad to learn of my professor’s passing. He was a mentor, collaborator, and friend. I am discovering more and more layers of the influence he had on my life and on who I am. I learned so much from him. And I learned in a space of love. Professor Said loved everyone, without exception. His love was a powerful, enriching love. He built people up, celebrated them, and welcomed them being their true selves. I was his teaching assistant, and saw how he empowered the leadership of everyone around him. Yes, there was much that was magical about him. He had the magic of not quickly accepting things that are unacceptable. He created magic by creating change. Thousands of his students have a model for how to move through the world as an empowered agent of change, and a loving leader of humans.

Barry Saiff

Today We Celebrate!

By David Hart

Nuclear weapons have always been immoral. Today they are officially illegal worldwide. 

Through decades of committed nonviolent creative action and consistent focused civil society leadership we have achieved a milestone that we were told again and again was impossible. 

We at Nonviolence International know that when people act together in service of our shared values, we can make what once seemed impossible become inevitable. 

Today, we celebrate the work of our friends and allies in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the official entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

There is much work yet to be done because the nuclear powers have consistently ignored the power of global united activism. We must continue our work to get all nations especially those that currently possess or are actively pursuing nuclear weapons to eliminate their stockpiles.

Today, for the first time in history doing anything else is clearly illegal. That is because a powerful committed movement came together to make sure our voices are heard. 

When I was a young activist, I was told - by people I loved and respected - that it was reasonable to oppose specific nuclear weapons systems or even advocate for a freeze on the production, testing, and deployment of all nukes. But, to suggest that we should abolish all nuclear weapons or challenge the Cold War itself was naive and foolish. 

History has proven again and again that those who claim to be realists are often wrong on major issues. The realistis disimmised efforts to end apartheid in South Africa as symbolic and sure to fail, they told us the Cold War would always be here and so we should learn to live with it, and they told us we could never hope to declare all nuclear weapons illegal. But, today, even as we steady ourselves for the work ahead, we take time to pause and celebrate the vision and leadership of all those who made this day possible. Congratulations to ICAN and everyone who took action to bring this new and powerful reality into being. For a list of over 170 events celebrating with us, please see: https://www.icanw.org/events

NVI worked at several levels on this essential treaty and related efforts. Recently, we hosted a petition to apologize to the people of Japan for the nuclear bombings. We have just received powerful notes from the Mayor of Hiroshima’s office and the organization representing survivors of the bombings. Please don’t miss them below. This effort was brought to us by our fiscally sponsored partner The Isaiah Project. These committed, brave, nonviolent activists make real their commitment to peace through NV direct action. To read more about their important contribution to the larger movement, please visit: https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/many_faces_-_isaiah_project

NVI has been active founding and supporting the Humanitarian Disarmament movement. Several of our partners focus in this vital framework that puts people at the front of major global issues. Recently our affiliate in Canada produced this powerful report that highlights the importance of the TPNW. https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/humanitarian_disarmament

Our work is never done. But, today we celebrate! We celebrate the power of the people. We celebrate the power of persistence. We celebrate the vision of a world without the threat of nuclear weapons and those who have taken nonviolent action to make that vision real. 


From The Mayor's Office in Hiroshima, January 2021

Thank you for sending the updated Apology Petition on the 75th Anniversary of the First Atomic Bombings to our division’s email.

We are truly encouraged to know that many people in the US are committed to peace and stand with our city and hibakusha.

The City of Hiroshima will continue to dedicate ourselves for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of lasting world peace.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation for your continued support in this regard. 

Wishing you good health and happiness in the New Year. 

Sincerely,

KOMATSU Sachiko

Chief Peace Promotion Division

Citizens Affairs Bureau, the City of Hiroshima


From Nihon Hidankyo-Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, January 2021

We received your petition.  We appreciate your continuing efforts for realizing a world without nuclear weapons.

Hibakusha are now working to urge the Japanese government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Thank you very much.

Best regards, 

Sueichi Kido, Secretary General of Hidankyo

Nihon Hidankyo

(Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations)


 



Jonathan Kuttab in Conversation with Peter Beinart

As many of you know, we are actively promoting our co-founder Jonathan Kuttab’s timely and important short book, Beyond The Two-State Solution.

When we started, Jonathan told us he would welcome conversations with people who agree with his proposals and those who don't. His first choice was to be in conversation with Peter Beinart. 

We are thrilled that the discussion has just taken place on the Foundation for Middle East Peace's impressive podcast. See more below.

If you want to help, please fill out this simple Google Form.


Occupied Thoughts: Beyond the Two State Solution with Jonathan Kuttab & Peter Beinart

In this episode of “Occupied Thoughts,” host Peter Beinart is joined by Palestinian human rights lawyer Jonathan Kuttab, who recently published the book “Beyond the Two State Solution” (available at no cost via the Nonviolence International website). Kuttab argues that a Palestinian state with no sovereignty or substance cannot deliver freedom or independence and it is time to look beyond the “false mirage of the Two State Solution.” He lays out in detail how a single, shared Palestinian and Jewish state would be structured – from roles in the military to language learning in schools – and how it answers the urgent needs for justice, equality, and security.

Peter Beinart is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He is also a Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York, a Contributing opinion writer at the New York Times, and Editor-at-Large at Jewish Currents, and a CNN Political Commentator. He tweets at @PeterBeinart.

Jonathan Kuttab is co-founder of Nonviolence International and a co-founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq. A well-known international human rights attorney, he has practiced in the US, Palestine, and Israel. He serves on the Board of Bethlehem Bible College and is President of the Board of Holy Land Trust. He is co-founder and board member of the Just Peace Advocates. He was the head of the Legal Committee negotiating the Cairo Agreement of 1994 between Israel and the PLO.

Here is the link to the Foundation for Middle East Peace's impressive podcast.


See also our short promotional video on our YouTube channel.


If you want your copy, the book is available through

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