Ibrahim El-Hibri Building
1420 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Our dear friend Scott Kennedy died Saturday, November 19, 2011, of an apparent heart attack, while he was sleeping beside his wife Kris. We love Scott. He is one of us. He collaborated with many of you in active nonviolent struggle for freedom and justice. And he shared deep friendships with so many.
Scott Kennedy and Nonviolence International had a special and close relationship for many decades. Scott Kennedy was an early supporter of Mubarak Awad’s activities to promote nonviolence in Palestine. Scott served on a number of boards of organizations that Dr. Awad founded including the National Youth Advocate Program and the California Youth Advocate Program.
For now we share this message from Mubarak Awad,
Scott Kennedy’s death is a loss to me, the Nonviolence International family, the people of Santa Cruz, and people’s suffering under wrong-headed US foreign policies. I first met him in the 1980′s when we co-wrote the 1983 book, Nonviolent Struggle in the Middle East. This book helped lay the groundwork for the modern Palestinian resistance movement. Scott has been so supportive of me in my career including my work with disadvantaged children in the United States. I was so proud that he won recognition for outstanding life achievements by receiving the El Hibri Peace Education Prize in 2009.
His Resource Center for Nonviolence is an vibrant organization and helped inspire me to start Nonviolence International. I think what I loved about him the most was his cheerfulness, his can-do attitude and his willingness to sacrifice for people he did not even know. There is much work to be done to achieve a nonviolent world and Scott has helped lead the way. I miss him as much as losing a dear brother.
September 28, 2011 — The El-Hibri Charitable Foundation announced today that internationally acclaimed author and educator Gene Sharp has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize. The Prize, which carries a monetary award of $15,000, is given annually by the foundation to honor an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to the field of peace education. Sharp’s selection was conducted by Nonviolence International, which included a team of peace education experts led by Dr. Mubarak Awad.
“Gene Sharp has dedicated his life to researching and teaching the strategic uses of nonviolent struggle against the forces of war, oppression and dictatorship,” noted Robert Buchanan, president of the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation. “His intellectual contributions to the field of nonviolent change cannot be overstated. The El-Hibri Charitable Foundation is pleased to recognize Dr. Gene Sharp for his thoughtful scholarship, his practical approach to nonviolence, and his extensive influence around the world.”
With a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University, Sharp held research appointments at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs for more than thirty years. Among Sharp’s 14 books, his /The Politics of Nonviolent Action /in 1973 is recognized as the definitive study of nonviolent struggle. In 1983 Sharp founded the Albert Einstein Institution in Boston where he currently serves as senior scholar. His best-known publication /From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation /in 1993 has been published in 34 languages. In 2009 Dr. Sharp was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The 2011 El-Hibri Peace Education Prize will be awarded to Gene Sharp at a ceremony to be held on October 1st at the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.
The El-Hibri Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation. The foundation seeks to build a better world by encouraging peace education, interfaith dialogue, social justice and humanitarian aid. The El-Hibri Peace Education Prize was initiated in 2007. Past laureates include Colman McCarthy, columnist, author and founder of the Center for Teaching Peace; Mary E. King, international educator, author and policy advisor; Scott Kennedy, peace activist and co-founder of the Resource Center for Nonviolence; and Abdul Aziz Said, founder of the Center for Global Peace at American University.
On Friday, June 17, determined protesters took to the roads outside of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC to protest the country’s ban on female drivers. Through the combined efforts of Nonviolence International and The Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, along with friends from Code Pink and a great group of independent supporters, the protesters made Saudi officials and passers-by take notice of this group’s determination to stand alongside Saudi women. The rally showed solidarity for Saudi women in their fight for the right to drive their own cars, and was one of many rallies taking place around the world.
Dr. Mubarak Awad, President of Nonviolence International and an important leader in the first Intefada, has set up the first Nonviolent Activist Relief Funds in order to help nonviolent activists working for social change. Dr. Awad has personally been tortured and jailed by Jordanian and Israeli authorities and knows how important funds like this are for the families of activists and for support upon their release from prison.
The purpose of this relief fund is to provide humanitarian relief to the families and dependents of activists who are imprisoned or otherwise incapable of providing specific support for their families. The fund will be administered on the ground by a group of local volunteers. All distribution decisions will be at the discretion of this local group. To Donate, click here
Nonviolence International president Dr. Mubarak Awad is featured in the new bookBlessed Are the Peacemakers by Daniel L. Buttry, the global consultant for Peace and Justice for International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches. Buttry writes of Awad’s work in nonviolent organization and tells of his role in the first Palestinian Intifada. The book surveys the work of many well known nonviolent activists, such as Gandhi and Desmond Tutu, along with some interesting additions, such as graffiti artist Banksy and rock superstar Bono. This collection of inspirational stories about peacemakers and their work will prove to be a must-read for those interested in nonviolent action.
Dr. Awad, President of Nonviolence International, spoke on Marty Moss-Coane’s show today on NPR with Gene Sharp, and Sherif Mansour. Dr. Awad spoke out strongly for nonviolence throughout the Middle East and the World.
You may find the show here.
Jonathan Kuttab, NI co-founder and long time board member spoke today on WBAI, Pacific Radio on people power in Libya in the Middle East. You can hear him speak here at about the 15 minute mark.
There is good news coming from the uprising for human rights and against the corruption in Egypt. Millions of people are voluntarily participating in the streets, which shows the Egyptians are still interested in democracy and freedom and they want to change both their social and political situations. The primary success stories of uprisings are those in which people learn to declare little victories and then continue pressuring the regime through boycotts, strikes, takeovers, and street protests until their goal and their message is heard and being implemented. Egyptians must not back down.
Diverse Leadership and Unity
The Egyptian objective at this time is a very large one. The main intention is that Mubarak, as the president of Egypt, must leave his office. In order to achieve this, the uprising must continue deploying diverse leaders, both on the national and international scale, who can communicate with Mubarak directly. For example, an American leader such as Jimmy Carter could be drawn in to speak with Mubarak and to give him the option of leaving without violence. They could request the same from an African leader like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has experience in reconciliation, or a more neutral leader from Latin America who does not have any preexisting interests. Some Arab leaders can also play this role. The leaders of the uprising must show the Egyptian people, the Arab world and the international community that they are interested in democratic change through nonviolence.
It is in the interests of the Egyptians to hold democratic elections for community leaders as well as national ones. In these elections, independent people unaffiliated with political parties should be allowed to run. Egyptians as young as 25 run should be able to run for any office in the country, including the presidency. And all parties should have the right to participate in this political process of Egypt. This includes the current ruling party as well as the Communists, Muslim Brotherhood and others. Competitive campaigns will cause Candidates to meet and listen to the issues that are most important to the people. We are aware that one of the main issues in the Egyptian minds is to get rid of the emergency law that gives the President complete authority. .
Egyptians cannot afford to have a democratic election or an uprising and then have it become an Islamic state “like Iran.” This is also not a situation in which Egyptians just want a change of faces. Many of the fruits of this revolution will be seen in 15 or 20 years.. Unfortunately, this quick fix mentality is what Mubarak did by appointing a vice president that was head of security and appointing a new cabinet. To prevent a coup d’etat or a group hijacking the revolution or government, the people must continue to organize long after leaving the streets. Social and civil society organizations should organize and flourish throughout Egypt. Egyptians must be prepared to change their culture and devote funds annually to their own nongovernmental groups. Without a stronger civil society and business class, the State will undoubtedly oppress society.
Potential Consequences of Violence
Hundreds of Government supporters will use violence creating difficulty for the military to intervene, thus giving the image that security and stability for the interest of the people becomes the priority. The demonstrators should prevent and control the crowds from using the gatherings against any minority or any specific ethnic group.
Egyptian people must demand that no violence is used by anyone in Egypt and instead use legitimacy and integrity to make their point. They must create a model in which Egyptians don’t kill or hurt Egyptians and illustrate this model to the army, police, and all Egyptian citizens. They must set an example that says, “We are proud to be Egyptian and we don’t kill each other.” And they have to be very, very aware of those who are given permission by Mubarak’s regime to commit violence or to burn or kill for the sake of making the uprising a violent one and give more power to the army to shoot or to the police to use firearms. These people have to be stopped by the uprising people and condemned publicly to show they are completely against violence.
Egyptians should trust each other. Those who are in the streets in Alexandria have the same aim and ambition as those who are in Cairo or the Suez or any other city. In the uprising, trust will be essential. Discipline and protecting others property and livelihood becomes important in creating a clear and pure uprising in which nobody is hurt while helping others. In any and every society, there are the exceptions of people who take advantage of these circumstances and like to create chaos. Demonstrators need to know that many will sacrifice themselves and possibly have limited food and lack of funds. These hardships can threaten unity and cause people to turn against each other. To finish the uprising, the people become the law and must prove that they are better than the previous law, which they helped to overthrow. The people, therefore, must act to stop those taking advantage of the situation and of fellow Egyptians. Only by opposing violence and using truth and honesty as a guide will the uprising success and rights will prevail.
One minute, I was standing in the picket line, chanting against Blue River Waste Management and their ecologically unfriendly practices; the next, the police are breaking up our protest. I read in the paper the next morning to see the headline on the front page: “Government Decries Activist Group.” My heart sank. The movement I had worked so hard to build in Smithville, had suffered a terrible blow.
The Smithville Campaign is the first in PeoplePower: The Game of Civil Resistance (York Zimmerman 2010), a game designed to educate players on how nonviolent movements work and grow. When I first got the opportunity to play PeoplePower, I have to admit that I was leery. Most of the time I’ve spent playing video games has been spent on games where you can shoot your way to victory (with the occasional sports game thrown in for good measure). Strategy games have never really been my thing because I usually don’t like to think and plan in video games.
However, I thought that PeoplePower, despite the fact that it really made me think and plan, was actually a lot of fun. Although the game has lots and lots of options and available courses of action, the game is surprisingly simple to understand. The tutorial is in depth enough that I understood how to play, but didn’t feel like I was being babied. The game is incredibly detailed, too, which is definitely a good thing for a strategy game. With tactics to weigh, connections to be maintained, and neighborhoods to win over, there is always something to do.
More important than the game’s fun level is its educational level. I learned how difficult it could be creating a maintaining a good image and how much trouble an obstinate regime can give to movements. I think the fact that there is no “easy” way through PeoplePower means that players are forced to learn as much as they can about nonviolent movements in order to complete the scenario.
All in all, I think that PeoplePower made for an extremely interesting, educational, and challenging play. It could be sold to schools or to students and then used as curricula, with students playing in class for a few days before being allowed to take the game home to learn for themselves. Activists could also use this game as a tool to train recruits. Once introduced to PeoplePower, other students like me may be surprised to find how entertaining and addicting the game can be.
Click here for a special promotion to help Nonviolence International when you purchase PeoplePower.
The El-Hibri Peace Education Prize, an annual award to recognize outstanding peace educators, was awarded to Colman McCarthy on September 25, 2010 in Washington, DC. Mr. McCarthy has taught thousands of young people peace and nonviolence while writing numerous books and newspaper columns over the last several decades. NI President Mubarak Awad chaired the Prize selection committee, on which NI Executive Director Michael Beer also served.
NI helped found the award in 2007, along with Fuad El-Hibri, who has increased the cash amount of the prize this year to $15,000. Past winners include Dr. Addul Aziz Said, Dr. Mary King, and Scott Kennedy. For more information about the prize, including how to apply for next year, visit the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize website.
Sami Awad Stars in New Documentary about Palestine
Sami Awad, Nonviolence International Program Director for Palestine and the Executive Director of Holy Land Trust, is one of three protagonists for nonviolence in the new film, “Little Town of Bethlehem” (trailer below). A particular highlight of the film is a discussion with Sami Awad about his experience visiting Nazi death camps in Poland. The film also features Ahmad Al’Azzeh, a nonviolence trainer at NI’s partner organization Holy Land Trust, and Yonatan Shapira, an Israeli activist working with the group Combatants for Peace.
To promote the film, Sami will be speaking at press events and film sreenings throughout the US this month. For a list of currently scheduled screenings, click here.
A New Accompaniment Project in Honduras
An alarming number of human rights activists have been assassinated in Honduras since the coup d’etat in 2009. A group of dedicated international human rights defenders, including Nonviolence International’s Director of the Program on the Americas, Andres Conteris, is initiating a new accompaniment project in Honduras in an effort to counteract this trend. The accompaniers will seek to protect social movement leaders, human rights workers and others working for systemic change in Honduras, which is plagued by repression and political persecution under the de facto government. The project will especially support the National Front of Popular Resistance in its historic, nonviolent, struggle to transform Honduran society.
In addition to direct accompaniment, the project will support the documentation of events and human rights abuses, provide consistent and accurate information to the international community, and communicate with international partners regarding emergency response needs on the ground in Honduras.
The current team includes Caitlin Power Hancey, who has done accompaniment work in Guatemala; Jenny Atlee, who is based in DC and has done accompaniment work for many years in Central America; and Andres Conteris, who is serving as an active adviser for the effort.
For more information, including how to make contributions in support of this initiative, contact Jenny Atlee at jennya[at]friendshipamericas.org.
Mubarak Awad Gives Keynote Speech at Conference in India
Mubarak Awad, President of Nonviolence International, was the Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker at the International Conference on Global Warming, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Secular Spirituality in Kerala, India. On September 9th, Mubarak Awad, along with Jose Ramos Jorta, President of East Timor, spoke about the need for global cooperation and local initiative to combat global climate change.
He shared an Arab view of global warming, noting that, with a corrupt political leadership, economic hardship and civil strife, few are paying attention to the heating of the earth. “Oil production soon will be in decline,” he said. “Vast changes in citizen consciousness and action are needed. A commitment to nonviolence should engender people to take risks without harming others.”
Mubarak will continue to speak this fall in various venues about nonviolence and Palestine. Those who would like to have him come and speak should quickly contact NI at info[at]nonviolenceinternational.net.
An interview with Nonviolence International’s President and Founder, Mubarak Awad
WASHINGTON- Members of the U.S. peace community will be meeting with Turkish embassy officials to deliver a wreath, cards and other expressions of condolences for the deaths of the Turkish citizens on the nonviolent Gaza Flotilla. Israel’s brutal and illegal attack, that occurred in international waters on a Turkish-flagged vessel, also took the life of Furkan Dogan, an American citizen of Turkish decent.
The group, consisting of interfaith peace activists, will also thank the Turkish people and their government for the strong stand they have taken in support of the Flotilla and in opposition to Israel’s blockade against the Gazan people. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rightly characterized the Israeli operation as “a blow to world peace and against international law” and vowed not to “sit by in silence.”
The group appreciates Turkey’s position of condemning the Israeli attacks on peace activists in international waters, demanding an end to the siege on Gaza and reaffirming its commitment to aid the Palestinian people.
“We thank the Turkish government for its vigorous condemnation of the Israeli attack and wish that our government would take the same position,” said CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin, one of the event organizers. “We will be pushing our President and Congress to follow Turkey’s lead in calling for accountability and pressuring Israel to lift the crippling siege of Gaza.”
“We also mourn one of our own American citizens, 19-year old Furkan Dogan, who was killed with weapons donated by our government to Israel’s military and used indiscriminately on Palestinian, Turkish and American unarmed citizens,” said Mubarak Awad, President of Nonviolence International.
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