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Sri Lanka to Standing Rock: The Viability of Unarmed Civilian Protection

  • Raynor Memorial Libraries, Beaumier Suite 1355 West Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee, WI, 53233 United States (map)

Mel Duncan co-founded Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) with David Hartsough. NP is an international non-governmental organization that puts nonviolent strategies into practice for the prevention and mitigation of violence in conflict zones. NP uses unarmed civilian protection (UCP) based on Mohandas Gandhi's concept of a Shanti Sena or "peace army." The model involves the use of trained, unarmed civilian peacekeepers working with local groups to create space for nonviolent conflict resolution.

Duncan's remarks will cover the theory behind unarmed civilian protection and share stories of success from Nonviolent Peaceforce's many successful projects. Since 2002, NP has conducted civilian peacekeeping operations in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Guatemala, Sudan, and at Standing Rock. 

In 2007, NP was granted Special Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. In 2016, NP was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Duncan's awards and honors include the 2006 Distinguished Citizen Award from Macalester College and the 2007 International Pfeffer Peace Award from the Fellowship of Reconciliation. In 2008 he was named one of "50 Visionaries who are Changing Your World" by Utne Reader.

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