Category Archives: Events

Baltimore Educational Equity Summit

This past Saturday I attended and presented at the Baltimore Educational Equity Summit, which was organized by Teach for America.  The session of which I was a part was titled, “Using Social Media as a Vehicle for Change,” and looked at various strategies and tools organizations and movements have used to leverage the power of social media and digital tools to advance their causes and missions.

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Presentation at Point Conference in Sarajevo

This past weekend I gave a presentation (via Skype) on the use of ICT for nonviolent action at the Point Conference in Sarajevo.  I was invited to participate by my friend, Darko Brkan, who had attended ICNC’s 2010 Fletcher Summer Institute.  You can learn more about Darko by checking out this On the Ground Interview I conducted with him a couple years ago.

My presentation looked at four main ways nonviolent movements have been leveraging ICT in their struggles – communication, mobilization, organizing/coordinating, and documentation.  Continue reading to watch and listen to a slidecast of the presentation…

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11th Annual Democracy Matters Summit

This past weekend I was in Albany, NY attending my sixth Democracy Matters summit.  This year the summit brought together over 90 students from across the country to learn more about the role of money in politics, grassroots organizing, and to strategize about ways to engage other students and community member in the campaign to get big money out of politic and put people back in.  Continue reading to learn more…

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Peace Education Master Class

From December 2-4, I was one of 8 participants in a peace education master class facilitated by two of most prominent peace educators in the world – Betty Reardon and Tony Jenkins.  The class was held at the La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center located in the coastal mountains of Santa Barbara, CA.  I had first met Tony Jenkins at the National Peace Academy’s Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive back in July of this year.  As my blog posting from that intensive describes, it was a inspirational and transformative experience where I got to learn from and work with a number of peacebuilders.  I had met Betty Reardon briefly at the Gandhi-King Conference back in October, but this was the first time that I had an opportunity to actually take a class with her.  So needless to say this opportunity was a dream come true and it did not disappoint.   If you want a quick, tweeted, overview of some what we covered and discussed throughout the class, check out my Bundle of key tweets and resources.  Continue reading to learn more…

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2011 Gandhi-King Conference

From Thursday, October 20 to Sunday, October 23 I attended the Gandhi-King Conference in Memphis, TN. This was my third time attending and presenting at the conference and, like always, it remains one of the highlights of my year. This year the conference was organized in partnership with the Peace and Justice Studies Association, which brought in even more outstanding presenters and scholars. I was part of two sessions this year. The first was a panel organized by Michael Nagler, president and founder of the Metta Center for Nonviolence. The topic was, “Nonviolence: Principled and Strategic,” which looked at the ongoing conversation that seeks to clarify the distinctions and commonalities between the two orientations to the practice of nonviolence. The second session was a participatory workshop I designed and facilitated called, “Teach the Struggle: Nonviolence in the Classroom,” which engaged participants in a variety of activities and exercises they can use with their own students to explore various concepts related to nonviolent action and civil resistance. The amazing thing about that workshop is that about ten minutes into it, Dolores Huerta walked in to join us!!! More on that later. Continue reading to learn more…

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Why I Got Arrested

On Saturday, August 20th at 11:30am I, along with 65 other people, were arrested for “failure to obey a lawful order.”  I was hand cuffed with my hands behind my back, stuffed into the back of a police wagon with 16 other men, where we remained for over an hour and a half in 90+ degree heat, many of us in suits and ties, sweating profusely as the wagon temperature steadily rose. We were driven to the Washington, DC processing center in Anacostia where we were eventually taken out of the wagons and lined up against the wall, still in handcuffs.  To combat the heat and prevent dehydration we were provided fluids by tilting our heads back as water was poured into our mouths.  The handcuffs were finally taken off after we were escorted into the building where our possessions were bagged – shoe laces, belts, wedding ring, watch – and our bodies thoroughly frisked.  We were finger printed and our information was recorded – address, age, race, eye color.  We were crammed, 13 to 14 people at a time, into 6×8 holding cells equipped with one metal bench welded to the wall and a small metal toilet/sink combo, where we held for several hours.  I, along with 6 other arrestees who lived in the area, was released at around 7:00pm that same day, while the others who were from out of town, spent the next two nights in jail.  This is the story of my first arrest.  It was hot, crammed,  enlightening and amazing all at the same time!

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6th International Vietnamese Youth Conference (DaiHoi6)

From August 4th – 7th I attended the 6th International Vietnamese Youth Conference (DaiHoi6) organized by the Len Duong International Vietnamese Youth Network. The conference was held in the Philippines and brought together approximately 100 Vietnamese youth from around the world (Australia, United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Norway). The theme of this year’s conference was, “Access Now! Digital Activism for Social Change” (download full program).

While there, I also facilitated two workshops both focused on nonviolent struggle. The first was titled, “Why Nonviolent Struggle?” and it explored the strategic elements of nonviolent action that movements have used throughout history. The second was called “Case Studies from the Arab Spring,” and looked at nonviolent struggle within the context of the recent uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Other workshops offered at the conference focused on topics such as internet circumvention, leadership skills, digital activism inside Vietnam, and social media for social change. Continue reading to learn more about the workshops I facilitated and some of my take-aways from the workshops I attended.

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National Peace Academy’s Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive

From July 17th – 24th, I attended, along with approximately 45 other participants from around the world, the National Peace Academy’s Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive, held on the Champlain College campus in Burlington, VT.  The goal of the intensive was to “nurture your holistic development as a peacebuilder by engaging in deep reflection and critical inquiry into your own worldviews, values, principles, and assumptions…In supporting the development of peace systems we [NPA] will engage you in a reflective and integrative planning process that will culminate in the development of your own unique, ‘Peacebuilding Plan Proposal.'”

This was a truly transformative experience and one of the best workshops/community gatherings in which I have ever participated.  The diversity of people that were in attendance, the quality of presentations, the power of the reflective processes, and the community that was built around our visions for peace was something that furthered my commitment to the beloved community of peacebuilders and peacelearners across the globe.  Continue reading to learn about my experience over the five days.

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How to Ignite, or Quash, a Revolution in 140 Characters or Less

On July 13th, I attended an event at the New America Foundation: How to Ignite, or Quash, a Revolution in 140 Characters or Less, which looked at the promise and limitations of technology in spreading democracy. July 13th also happened to be my birthday, and one of the most special messages I received that day came in the form of a tweet from Ghada Shahbender (@ghadasha), an Egyptian human rights activist and one of this year’s winners of the James Lawson Award.

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4th International Conflict Resolution Education Conference

I just attended the 4th International Conflict Resolution Education Conference, which was held from June 8 – 11 in Cleveland, OH (download full conference program).  Educators from the United States and all over the world – Korea, Ghana, Kenya, Trinidad & Tobago – gathered at Cuyahoga Community College to participate and present a number of key workshops.  I was joined by my colleagues, Hardy Merriman and Maciej Bartkowski from ICNC.  I facilitated a session titled, “Liberation Tech? The Influence of the Internet and Digital Activism in Nonviolent Struggle.”  Continue reading to learn more…

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