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         Resources       Concepts:Themes


                 Universities      Individuals      NGOs    


                      Conferences      Government      Discussion


University of the South Pacific      www.usp.ac.fj/                  
Peace Studies


                      Summer Short Course


                                       University of New England, Armidale



Nonviolent Social Change in the Contemporary World 

The University of New England’s Centre for Peace Studies is pleased to announce a Summer Short Course in "Nonviolent Social Change in the Contemporary World".


This Short Course is aimed at anyone who is interested (and passionate) about creating a better world through nonviolent means. It is aimed at non-government organisations, aid workers, peace and social change activists, environmentalists, armed forces personnel (especially peace-keepers), police, artists/poets/musicians, feminists, students, health workers, and anyone who works in violent or conflict situations.

Nonviolence is the most powerful and successful philosophy of social change today. In the last century, it led to major change:

gaining women's and civil rights in the West

ending colonial rule in India, removing ruthless dictatorships in South America and the Philippines

bringing down totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe

reducing the threat of nuclear war,

and helping to preserve the natural environment.


Now, with climate change requiring further drastic action, such as the end of the wasteful extravagance of the military-industrial complex - the world’s single largest polluter, even greater significance is placed on nonviolence.

The course will give participants valuable theoretical insights into nonviolent action, through lectures and discussions. More than that, however, it will be practice-based, with exercises, role-plays and group activities that reflect the collaborative and down-to-earth nature of nonviolence praxis. We hope to balance the deadly serious nature of some areas of nonviolence with humour and games, and will offer opportunities for ‘open space’ discussions and creative activities.

Peace activism, environmental conflict resolution, and dealing with violence in the workplace will be covered, including working in conflict or post-conflict situations or in remote Indigenous communities. The use of the arts in nonviolence will be discussed, and art-making sessions offered. At the main dinner, performances by participants will be encouraged.

Everyday examples of nonviolence will also feature, including the importance of community development and parenting for peace and sustainability. We hope to entertain as well as educate, so there will be daily films about nonviolent struggles in the 20th century (Poland, South Africa, India, Denmark, Chile, Yugoslavia), as well as protest music and a display of activist art.

The course will provide valuable networking and information exchange opportunities, and you will get to experience life on a rural campus. The course will also provide a taste of what is available in the Peace Studies courses at UNE. You will meet lecturers and postgraduates, and experience their passion for the subject and their emphasis on solutions, on practice and on collaborative learning.

Course Outline

The modern development of ‘active resistance’, which partly arose in environmental blockades near Armidale will be examined. We discuss ‘affinity groups’, and engage in bonding and trust exercises to experience how nonviolent groups begin the process of social change through strong group bonds. We examine how nonviolence works, looking at issues such as Consent Theory, coercion, openness versus secrecy. There will be a discussion on ‘consensus decision-making’, and associated practical exercises.

We discuss negotiation and conflict resolution strategies, and the importance of clear communication, engaging in further exercises to enhance communication and listening skills. We then discuss preparations for nonviolent direct action, and engage in some role-plays, to experience what is going on in the minds of people on different sides of the fence: police, protesters, bystanders, officials, marshals.

One session will be devoted to the use of the arts in nonviolent social change, and participants will have the opportunity to undertake arts activities such as creation of street-theatre, painting, poetry and song-writing with social change themes. We will also debate the psycho-social impact of violence in television and film.

We conclude with discussions on the role of nonviolence in parenting and everyday life. Nonviolence is not just about chaining yourself to bulldozers: How can we apply nonviolent principles to our everyday lives?

e begin with a Welcome to Country, led by a local Anaiwan Elder Uncle Steve Widders, who will give an Indigenous perspective on nonviolence. We move on to a general introduction to nonviolence. What is it? How has it been used through history? What is its relevance in the modern world? How effective is it? Does it work against ruthless or repressive regimes? 

For more information go to this site's page on Universities           






Support for this Peacewiki has been provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

The views expressed in this Peacewiki do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian learning and Teaching Council.


The aim of this wiki is to develop a network of peace studies' educators by creating a sustainable community of practice among peace educators who will investigate issues of concern, needs and priorities of peace studies and its delivery within the higher education sector. Accordingly, this wiki is designed as a teaching and learning resource for academics and students particularly in the region of Australasia. While open to all readers, contributions will be restricted initially to NGOs and those teaching peace and conflict studies in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific generally. 


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