From June 19-24, I attended, helped organize, and presented at the 2011 Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolence Conflict. This yearly institute is the only professional level course of its kind offered in the world that explores the strategic use of nonviolent civic action – strikes, boycotts, mass demonstrations, civil disobedience, etc. – as a method of fighting for and defending human rights, social justice, and democratic self-rule.
This year the institute brought together 45 participants from 26 countries and delved into topics such as forming a movement, the paradox of repression, citizen journalism and movement media, negotiations and transitions, and the role of third party actors in supporting civil resistance movements. My colleague, Nicola Barrach, and I co-presented a session on digital and social media in civil resistance, which looked at the uses and limitations of digital technology, social media, and the internet in waging nonviolent struggle.
In addition to presenting, I also helped coordinate various media elements of the institute by integrating the use of our FSI alumni network Facebook group page as a platform for continued discussion and resource sharing; organizing live, communal note-taking on Twitter with the #fsi11 hashtag; curating and sharing key tweets and resources mentioned during the different sessions using Bundlr; recording audio interviews with participants and presenters and sharing those recording on Twitter using Audioboo; and conducting longer video interviews with select participants and presenters for the ICNC website and our On the Ground Interview Series. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep, but I did have a great time, learning a lot from some amazing organizers, activists, and educators! Continue reading to learn more about the institute, the various sessions, and some of the key take-aways from each.