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Civil resistance, peacebuilding come together in program at Manchester

Maria StephanNORTH MANCHESTER, Ind., – An internationally recognized expert on movements and civil resistance will speak at Manchester University.

Maria J. Stephan directs the Program on Nonviolent Action at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., and is co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict.

She will speak about “Where Civil Resistance Meets Peacebuilding” at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 1 in the upper level of the Jo Young Switzer Center. It is free and open to the public.

In conflicts around the world, grassroots activists use nonviolent direct action such as boycotts, protests, sit-ins and constructive intervention to seek justice and positive social change. Peacebuilders use approaches such as discourse, mediation and negotiation to pursue a peace process or agreement.

Activists sometimes see conflict mediators as elitists who risk “selling out” a just cause in their search for stability and win-win resolutions. Peacebuilders for their part may label activists as rabble-rousing revolutionaries, unwilling to compromise for the greater good.

Stephan says you need both action and mediation – activists and peacebuilders – to reach a just and sustainable peace. Stephan will explore the nexus of nonviolent action and peacebuilding, offering practical guidelines for contemporary organizing and building movements.

Articles by Stephan have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy magazine, Foreign Affairs magazine and NPR. She has worked with the European/NATO policy office of the U.S. Department of Defense and at NATO headquarters in Brussels. 

She holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. Stephan is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She simultaneously taught courses on human rights and civil resistance at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and American University’s School of International Service.  

Peace Studies Dove Symbol“Where Civil Resistance Meets Peacebuilding: Synergizing Dialogue and Direct Action to Build Just Peace” is brought to campus by the Peace Studies Institute at Manchester. It is sponsored by the Dr. Everett L. Refior Lectureship, established by 1943 Manchester graduate Betty Pottenger Phelps Refior to support efforts to abolish war, protect human rights and freedoms, and solve problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone. 

The Peace Studies Institute, established in 1948, was the first undergraduate peace studies program in the world. MU is currently building the Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center that will become a regional focal point for discussions about diversity and inclusion, civic engagement and civil discourse.

Stephan’s presentation is part of the MU Values, Ideas and the Arts series, which offers academic enrichment for students. 

About Manchester University
Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., offers more than 60 areas of academic study to nearly 1,600 students in undergraduate programs, a Master of Athletic Training, a Master of Pharmacogenomics and a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy. Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school grounded in the values and traditions of the Church of the Brethren at www.manchester.edu.

April 2018