Global Nonviolent Action Database Inaugurated


Inaugurated September, 2011, at Swarthmore College, under the direction of scholar and professor George Lakey, the Global Nonviolent Action Database is a valuable resource providing free access to information about hundreds of cases of nonviolent action for learning and citizen action. 

Each campaign is shown in two ways: a searchable database using fields and coded assessments of degree of success, and a 2-4 page narrative detailing the play-by-play interaction of the campaign with its opponents. The database supports searches by country, by issue, by action method used, and even by year. The topics of the campaigns are grouped in six clusters: human rights; democracy; economic justice; environment; peace; and national/ethnic identity.

The goal of the Database is to make available comparative information that will support researchers and writers to develop strategic knowledge and theory. Strategists, activist organizers, scholars, and teachers will find many uses for the database, as well as citizens wanting to expand their horizons. Journalists and bloggers will find easy access for contextualizing stories of contemporary protests they are reporting. Up until now many observers write about breaking news with a tone of surprise; coverage of the Egyptian events of early 2011 included wonderment and an assumption of protester spontaneity that showed ignorance of the developing craft of nonviolent struggle. Even a short time with the database reveals a multiplicity of connections among cases, through a shared “wave,” shared methods, shared influences, and shared time periods. Activist organizers and strategists can use the database to expand the repertoire of options for nonviolent campaigns. By exploring the use of 198+ methods of action, campaigners may become more creative and proactive than they otherwise might be. They may also calculate more carefully in relation to resources and goals, and craft a more winnable campaign than they otherwise would do.

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Peace and Collaborative Development Network (PCDN) - Building Bridges, Networks and Expertise Across Sectors


Created by Dr. Craig Zelizer in 2006, PCDN provides a valuable resource for Saybrook students and faculty interested in issues of international development, conflict resolution, gender mainstreaming, human rights, social entrepreneurship and related areas.

Bookcovercompressed_reasonably_smallExtensive Resource Guides offer information about scholarships, project funding, professional training, networking, IT resources, event listings and more.

The Guide to Research include:

PCDN seeks to create horizontal networking and information sharing for individuals and groups around the world. Members can chat with each other, create blogs, add to discussion topics, and share current research, experiences and challenges from the field.

The Network currently has over 22,000 members and is receiving 300,000+ hits a month. Membership is free, and emails are sent out with links to articles, recent blog posts, events, and more. (Note - members are able to control their email settings to request a daily digest rather than notification of all site actions.)

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Why Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” is just as relevant today as ever


Frantz Fanon, Iconic psychiatrist and author of books such as “Wretched of the Earth”, wrote that “literature increasingly involves itself in its only real task, which is to get society to reflect and mediate”.

Pedagogy_of_the_oppressedPaulo Freire’s landmark book, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” is a prime example of literature that makes one reflect, cogitate and ponder all at once.

In addition, Freire’s “Pedagogy” is also the archetypal case in point of a book, which is just as relevant today as it was decades ago.

Freire was a Brazilian educator, who grew up during the poverty of the Great Depression in the 1930s and published one of his seminal works “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, in English in 1970. Freire’s book, rooted in his experience of liberation in Brazil is equally apt in the context of the Arab Spring, and particularly after the death of Gaddafi last week.

One of Freire’s central tenets was that “education is freedom” that leads toward true liberation and that the “banking” concept of education- where students are empty vessels to be filled, acts as an instrument of oppression. He called on the cultivation of a critical consciousness (conscientizacao), enabling those to reflect upon their own reality and thereby transform it.

“How can the oppressed, as divided, unauthentic beings, participate in developing the pedagogy of their liberation” Freire asks?

It is this concept of the oppressed initiating and participating in their own liberation, as was the case in the Arab Spring, which was central to Freire’s writing.

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Saybrook doctoral student Donna Nassor presents at APA symposium on Israeli-Palestinian conflict


Portions of Donna's paper were presented at APA Division 48 Invited Symposium: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Potential Psychological Contributions to Resolution, Reconciliation, and Peace Building (August 2011, Washington DC). The full paper online can be found at Facilitate Global.

Models of Restorative Justice for Peace-Building and Transformative Societal Change In Palestine-Israel 

I come in peace with the intention of enhancing relationships, engaging in dialogue, creating alliances, building bridges and actively being a more effective agent of social change.  None of that can be done by avoiding the truth.  We can only move toward peace with justice if we collectively are willing to do what needs to be done.  I am a third generation Lebanese/Syrian American, raised as an Orthodox Christian.  Until I was 16, I thought that all Arabs were either Syrian or Lebanese and that all were Orthodox Christians.  I have a strong background in the world of business.  At the age of 36, I graduated from law school and practiced law for many years, mostly representing adults and juveniles accused of crimes as a public defender and as private counsel.  I became a lawyer because I thought I would acquire the tools to be a more effective agent of social change.  I was wrong.  Thankfully, I am now retired from the practice of law. I eventually had to admit I was almost powerless over the very broken criminal (justice) system in which I found myself working.

After helping to move mass quantities of human beings through the criminal system, in a small rural county in Pennsylvania, utilizing the punitive model, I discovered the concept of “restorative justice” (RJ)--    an effective and holistic alternative to the punitive system being used by people around world.

My experiences told me clearly that punishment was not effective in adjusting the behavior of the same people who kept coming through the justice system.  The indigenous practices of community, healing, and reconciliation had the potential to be transformative.  RJ recognizes that harm to an individual also has other layers and dimensions.  Not only is the individual affected by the harm, the community, the families of the victim and offender and the offender are also affected.

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Videos of Peace Movements Worldwide event now online!


On October 30th, AHIMSA and The Metta Center for Nonviolence Education presented a free public forum, entitled: Taking stock of peace: Inspiration from Peace Movements Worldwide.

This special event launched the recent publication of Peace Movements Worldwide, a three-volume anthology with chapters covering insights and action from every continent with accounts of courageous and creative actions, ranging from the personal to the global.

Saybrook professor Marc Pilisuk co-edited the volume and speakers included members of the Saybrook community: Donald Rothberg, Melissa Anderson-Hinn, Angel Ryono, Gianina Pellegrini, and moderator Bob Flax.

The event was recorded by Wolfgang Saumweber and made available free online, in 5 parts.




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Resources for training in nonviolence and civil resistance


With the many Occupy movements currently underway worldwide, there is an increased need for preparation and training in nonviolent protest. Many resources have been offered on the Peace and Justice Studies Association listserv, including the following.

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Debating human rights in the IT industry


By Jillian York, 10/31/2011, in

@mx_500(This article is cross posted from Al Jazeera English)

Last week in San Francisco, a unique gathering occurred. Dubbed "Rightscon" (Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference), the conference attracted Silicon Valley executives, activists, academics and NGOs, all gathered in one room to debate the role of human rights within the tech industry, as well as the role of the tech industry in serving human rights interests. 

Incidents from the past year - from the denial of service to WikiLeaks by Amazon, PayPal and others to the complicity of international companies in Egypt’s telecommunications shutdown - have put the subject of human rights at the forefront of discussion within the technology industry. While companies debate their responsibilities to serve activists, whose particular circumstances may be seen as "edge cases", NGOs often frame their advocacy within the same rubric.

Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, who is currently under threat of military prosecution, argued that the framing is wrong, stating that both parties should think more about ordinary users. Referring specifically to the controversysurrounding identity on social networks, Facebook and Google+, he said:

"When ordinary users can’t choose a pseudonym, their identity is negated. Women know the importance of negotiating identity, they do it all the time. So do gays, religious minorities, whatever. We choose how to reveal who I am, on what terms and in what basis. When you restrict me from doing this, you violate my human rights… It is about who I am, my identity, how I express myself and how I communicate with the world."

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This section of the PHS Forum is dedicated to sharing resources that students, faculty, and the larger Saybrook Community might find helpful. Look here for links to web services, journals, resource databases, conference materials, and other valuable ways of networking with like-minded colleagues.


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Professor Emeritus John Adams continues his work


JJohn Adams in Indiaohn Adams, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Organizational Systems at Saybrook University is spending his retirement from active teaching doing service work in two places.
John is Administrative Director for the Prevention International: No Cervical Cancer (PINCC) India program. Cervical Cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in less resourced countries (27% of global deaths are in India), and it is a completely preventable disease.
John, and his wife Rhoda Nussbaum, M.D., have to date screened over 3000 women using easily taught procedures, trained over 15 Indian gynecologists to do this work locally, and certified two village oriented clinics to continue the work. They are currently focused on scaling up the project to form a "Center of Excellence for Cancer Prevention in Women" that will train local health care workers and establish universal cervical cancer screening in Mysore, India.

On the home front, John is part of a small network of educators teaching the Sierra Mother Lode population about building and preserving individual, family, and community resilience. Once a "critical mass" of families and individuals have decided about their own preparations, the focus will shift to generating a number of cooperative / collaborative community level projects for enhanced and secure local living in the Sierra foothills.

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Professor Eugene Taylor named fellow to two APA divisions


Eugene TaylorEugene Taylor, Professor in the College of Psychology and Humanistic Studies at Saybrook University, has been elected a Fellow in Division 24, the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, and Division 32, the Society for Humanistic Psychology in the American Psychological Association.

Professor Taylor is already a Fellow in Division 1, The Society for General Psychology, and Division 26, The Society of the History of Psychology.

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