Past Events

Ayala Dias Ferreira, a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the Landless Rural Worker's Movement in Brazil, will speak on the History and Future of the Landless Rural Worker's Movement in Brazil.  The talk will be at 4:00 p.m. in the Dana Room, fourth floor of Dana Library, Rutgers University, Newark.

The IIP is a co-sponsor of Steps to a Nuclear Weapons-Free World, a one-day conference to be held on Sunday, April 14 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.  Nine experts will join the conference attendees to consider the many facets of this critical problem and how to reduce the nuclear threat to our planet.

The lecture will give a broad analysis of the underlying causes of the many problems ailing the region, aiming to give the audience a deeper understanding of how and why the Middle East and Islamic societies reached this condition of violence, refugees, fractured states, wars, terrorism and other stresses. Most people view the Middle East and the Arab region and throw their arms up in helplessness at trying to understand why it is in such a mess.  The talk will trace the key elements on that road while giving many data indicators of the deep, underlying problems that the region suffers now that we must repair one day. Date: Thursday, April 5. Time: 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Place: Monmouth Room (237), Paul Robeson Campus Center, Rutgers University, Newark.

Nancy Parra, a graduate student in Peace and Conflict Studies, and her colleague Amy Genevieve Kozak, participated in the Sumud Freedom Tour during winter break.  They will report back on their experiences and provide an update of the Palestinian struggle for liberation. Date: Monday, April 2. Time: 5:00 p.m. Location: Hill Hall 103.

In collaboration with Resist the Deportation Machine Network, the IIP is organizing a forum on DACA, Detentions and Deportations: How Do We Fight Back?  The forum will be composed of a panel of local immigrant rights activists discussing and debating the current stepped-up attacks on immigrants and how the movement can most effectively respond.  The increased sweeps by ICE, the impending end of DACA protection, and spreading fear among immigrant communities increases the urgency to forge an effective social movement response. The panel presentations will be followed with questions from the audience. Date: Wednesday, March 28. Time: 7:00 p.m. Location: Monmouth Room (237), Paul Robeson Campus Center, Rutgers University, Newark. For more information, please call 504.520.9521.

Stephen Zunes is Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he also chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies.  Professor Zunes is a prominent scholar of Middle East Politics and US Foreign Policy, as well as a leading expert on nonviolent resistance movements.  Among his numerous publications, he’s the editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell, 1999), the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy & the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003), and co-author of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism & Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press, 2010).  He serves as a senior policy analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies and as an associate editor of Peace Review.  In 2002, Professor Zunes was recognized by the Peace & Justice Studies Association as the Peace Scholar of the Year.

The talk will be at 2:30 p.m. in Hall Hall 103.

The Brazilian organization Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) along with other US organizations and social movements that form part of the U.S. Solidarity Committee with the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) held the II International Seminar: Food, Water and Energy Are Not Commodities!  and III International Encounter of MAB Allies from March 12th to 14th, 2017, at Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey.  The event was sponsored by the International Institute for Peace, the graduate program in Peace & Conflict Studies, and the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Rutgers University, Newark.

Similar seminars were organized in São Paulo, Brazil and Bilbao, Basque Country/Spain. The “International Seminar: Food, Water and Energy are Not Commodities!” is a convergence space for different movements and organizations of different countries debating the unity of the struggles and analyzing the exploitation of the natural resources and the workers.

The main goals of this event are:
•    to debate the role of capital within an international context, the acceleration of the exploitation of the workforce and natural resources;
•    to gather social movements, unions and grassroots organizations led by people affected by dams and other energy projects, and;
•    to move forward a unified struggle and agenda against the commodification of food, water, and energy.

This year, the II International Seminar was held in the United States and counted on the contribution of social and grassroots activists, trade-unionists and social researchers of North and Latin America, Europe, and Africa. The U.S. Solidarity Committee is grateful for the support and co-sponsorship of Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) and the Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED).

The debates in the II International Seminar focused on:
•    Global political-economic context and the U.S. influence
•    Analysis of US transnational corporations in the energy, oil, water and food sector, international treaties and policies in these sectors
•    Sharing experiences of the struggles of people affected by energy projects to protect their livelihoods as small farmers, indigenous people, urban communities and workers.

The event culminated with a Letter in Solidarity with the Communities of Newark and a Letter from the Second Internatinoal Seminar: Food, Water and Energy are Not Commodities(em Português).

The film Disturbing the Peace was shown on Wednesday, March 8 at 5:30 p.m. in the Dana Room, 4th Floor of Dana Library.  The film was followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, Marcina Hale and two activists from Combatants for Peace, a bi-national grassroots movement of Palestinians and Israelis committed to nonviolent resistance against the Occupation of Palestinian lands. Co-hosted by the IIP, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and the Global Urban Systems program.

The editors of Waging NonviolenceBryan Farrell and Eric Stoner, teamed with the IIP’s Professor Kurt Schock to teach a course on Civil Resistance and Social Justice: Theory, Practice, Technology & Media, for the innovative Honors Living-Learning Community at Rutgers University, Newark.  In addition to the instructors' expertise, students learned from a number of a fascinating group of guest speakers including Nyle Fort, Master's of Divinity candidate, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Black Lives Matter activist; Rob Robinson, member of the Leadership Committee of the Take Back the Land Movement; Priscilla Grim, digital media strategist, Occupy Wall Street; Kate Aronoff, Communications Coordinator for the New Economy Coalition, and co-founder of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network; Claude Copeland Jr., Iraq Veterans Against the War; Ramesh Sharma, National Convener, Ekta Parishad, India; Jaisal Noor, Host, Producer and Reporter, Real News Network; and Maria-Lopez Nunez, Ironbound Community Corporation.

Ramesh Sharma is the National Coordinator of Ekta Parishad.  Ramesh discussed his organization Ekta Parishad, which is one of the largest social movements in India.  It is a Gandhian social movement struggling for land rights with an active membership of 250,000 landless people.  Ramesh was responsible for organizing and leading a foot march of more than 50,000 landless people for over 300 km to demand land rights in 2012.  He was appointed to the National Land Rights Committee, which was formed by the Government of India to prepare a national land reform policy.  He has played a crucial role in drafting the National Land Reforms Policy.

Arin Ayanian, PhD Candidate, School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, presented findings from her dissertation research, which examines the social psychological processes underlying engagement in collective civil resistance in high-risk contexts. Through merging the various literatures on civil resistance, social movements, and collective action, she advances a social psychological model of high-risk collective civil resistance, and tests this model in various contexts, including Egypt, Russia, Hong Kong and Turkey. The model mainly argues for a galvanizing effect of likelihood of risk on collective civil Resistance through fueling anger, shaping efficacy beliefs and strengthening identification with the protest movement. The talk was co-sponsored by the Division of Global Affairs and the International Institute for Peace.

The IIP sponsored a bloc of films on Social Justice at the Queens World Film Festival.

Nonviolent Action and Social Change: A Cross-Country March of 50,000 Landless Peasants and Their Efforts to Promote Land Reform in India

For the past two decades Jill Carr-Harris has been a part of women’s movement building, training and empowerment, and gender policy research in India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. Jill was one of the prominent women leaders in a Gandhian landless struggle for land in India. She has worked at the United Nations Development Program on international solidarity projects, founded and led civil society organizations in India, such as the South-South Solidarity from 1988– 1998, and was a field manager for two Canadian Government (CIDA) bilateral projects, on agrarian reform as well as gender equality in the Philippines and Bangladesh respectively.  Jill is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto.

Maciej Bartkowski is Senior Director for Education & Research at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict where he works on academic programs for students, faculty, and professionals, curricular development, and global academic and educational outreach and research in the growing field of civil resistance studies.  He conducts research and writes on nonviolent movements and strategic nonviolent conflict. He has recently completed an edited book, Rediscovering Nonviolent History: Civil Resistance in Liberation Struggles (Lynne Rienner).

Stellan Vinthagen is Associate Professor of Sociology, University West and University of Gothenburg, Sweden.  He is a Council Member of War Resisters International, academic advisor to the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, and Co-Leader of the Resistance Studies Group.  His research is focused on resistance, movements, nonviolent action and social change.  He has written or edited seven books and numerous articles, including The Sociology of Nonviolent Action (Zed Books, 2015), “Nonviolent Resistance and Culture”, (with Sørensen) in Peace & Change, and Tackling Trident (edited with Kenrick and Mason). Vinthagen has been an educator, organizer and activist in several countries, and has participated in more than 30 nonviolent civil disobedience actions, for which he served one year in prison.  He is one of the founders of Ship to Gaza Sweden, a coalition member of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza. 

Nathan Schneider is an editor of the website Waging Nonviolence. His first two books, both published in 2013 by University of California Press, are Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse and God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet. He has written about religion, reason and violence for publications including The Nation, The New York Times, Harper's, Commonweal, Religion Dispatches, AlterNet and others.

Lester Kurtz is a professor of Sociology at George Mason University, where he teaches nonviolence, social movements, peace and conflict studies, the comparative sociology of religion, globalization, and social theory. Professor Kurtz is also involved in helping to create a new Ph.D. program in Public Sociology. He holds an M.A. in Religion from Yale and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He is the editor of the Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict (Elsevier), co-editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell) and The Web of Violence (University of Illinois Press). Dr. Kurtz is the author of several books and articles including Gods in the Global Village (Pine Forge/Sage), The Politics of Heresey (University of California Press), and The Nuclear Age (Prentice-Hall). He is currently working on a book called Gandhi’s Paradox, writing about Gods and Bombs: Religion and the Rhetoric of Violence, and co-editing a book on The Paradox of Repression. He has lectured in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America and has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Delhi University, Tunghai University, and the European Peace University. He served as chair of what is now the Peace and Justice Studies Association and the Peace, War, and Social Conflict Section of the American Sociological Association, which awarded him its Robin Williams Distinguished Career Award.

Mary Elizabeth King is professor of peace and conflict studies for the University for Peace, an affiliate of the UN, and scholar-in-residence with the American University’s School of International Service, Center for Peacebuilding and Development, Washington, DC. She is Distinguished Rothermere American Institute Fellow at the University of Oxford, Britain. She won a Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award for Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, about her experiences working for four years at the heart of the U.S. upheaval, at times alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. This was the defining experience of her life. Her other books include The New York Times on Emerging Democracies in Eastern Europe (2009); A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance (2007) Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr: The Power of Nonviolent Action (1999, 2002). Forthcoming is Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India: The 1924–25 Vykom Satyagraha, and the Mechanisms of Change.  In 2011, her alma mater Ohio Wesleyan University awarded her a doctor of laws (honorary) degree, she received a James M. Lawson Award for Nonviolent Achievement, and Aberystwyth University in Wales elected her a Fellow, its equivalent of the honorary degrees bestowed elsewhere. King received the 2009 El-Hibri Peace Education Prize, and in 2003 in Mumbai the Jamnalal Bajaj International Prize, named for Gandhi’s silent financial backer. Her doctorate in international politics is from Aberystwyth University.