Peaceful protest movements

Challenges of nonviolent resistance

Demonstration, Medellin, Colombia 2015 Demonstration, Medellin, Colombia 2015 Image: Shutterstock

Online panel discussion with activists and experts on nonviolent action.


Read our article about the event and outcomes here.

As witnessed across Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa region, Asia, Africa and Europe during the last decade, there is a global resurgence of nonviolent movements taking to the streets to protest against autocratic or unaccountable governments, often aspiring for regime change, state reform or the reallocation of political power. However, protest movements often fail to meet their ambitious aspirations and to keep a nonviolent discipline when faced with brutal state repression and international inaction. The reasons why some peaceful movements are able to maintain their campaigns nonviolent while others are not, are manifold, and a phenomenon that has only been partly understood and analysed. Similarly, what the international community can do to support peaceful protest movements is still a conundrum. Often, they stood by while protesters pleaded for support and peaceful protests turned violent as a last resort.

This event seeks to find answers to how peacebuilding actors can assist peaceful movements in maintaining a nonviolent discipline while mobilising against structural, cultural and physical violence. Together we will discuss and explore what types of external interventions enhance or hinder the objectives and the security of the peaceful movements, when and how should the peacebuilding community engage with peaceful protest movements and, in doing so, more effectively support nonviolence.

This event took place on 03 March. For further information to the event, contact events@berghof-foundation.org.

Thank you to all who could join us and to the discussants for their involvement in this event.

This event is part of the Berghof Foundation's broader engagement with protest movements. You find out more about our work with these groups here.


Peaceful protest movements

Challenges of nonviolent resistance

Thursday, 3 March 2022
15:00 CET (ics, ical)
Online event via Zoom

The event will be in English with translation into Spanish and Russian.



Welcome remarks by Andrew Gilmour, Executive Director, Berghof Foundation.

Our guests are:

  • Francisco Maltés, president of Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), and leader of the strike committee during negotiations with the government in 2021 in Colombia
  • Olga Kavalkova, co-chairwoman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party, leading pro-democracy activist in Belarus and recipient of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
  • Mai Azzam, researcher and activist, Khartoum, Sudan and Bayreuth, Germany
  • Nico Plooijer, senior policy adviser civic space from the Dutch peace organisation PAX with longstanding work experience in Sudan and South Sudan

  • A Latin American nonviolent action trainer from the U.S. Institute of Peace

Moderated by: Dr. Véronique Dudouet, Senior Advisor at Berghof Foundation


We are very much looking forward to involving you in the discussion. Please send us your questions via email hidden; JavaScript is required prior to the event or join the conversation live on Twitter.

50 Years Berghof Foundation

The Berghof Foundation marked its 50th anniversary in 2021. The special event series we were holding throughout the year to reflect on past and current peacebuilding successes and challenges, is continuing in the year 2022. The events will identify and look at trends in order to develop tactics that will ensure our efforts towards sustainable peace together with our partners remain effective in the years to come. Find out more on our website and sign up for our newsletters or follow us on Twitter to stay up to date about our anniversary programme.

Media contact

Florian Lüdtke
Media and Communications Manager
+49 (0) 177 7052758
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