Eastern European Digital Symposium On Civil Resistance



Symposium dates: October 5 & 6   

Applications will close on September 15


Welcome to the Eastern European Digital Symposium on Civil Resistance.

A two-day-long event will provide a general introduction to civil resistance, key data on its effectiveness, and a checklist to assess its progress. Top leaders, experts, and campaigners will join us to explore these pressing and relevant matters.

Target Audience 

Activists, organizers, NGO professionals, policy experts, and civil society leaders from wider Eastern Europe and Russia.


The Symposium will be held in English, with a simultaneous Russian translation. 


Recently, growing civil dissatisfaction, protests, and movements from Tbilisi to Moscow, Minsk, and Hong Kong have revealed one key pattern – the high demand for democracy, the rule of law, and good governance, free from corrupt practices and unaccountable processes. Countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia share many commonalities, including oligarchic and dynastic rule, territorial conflicts, human rights violations, and identity politics. These internal and external factors most times determine popular unrest, demand for reform, and good governance. Against such background, civil resistance groups and individual organizers need better planning capacity and a greater understanding of nonviolent strategies and tactics in waging their campaigns to achieve the desired outcome by nonviolent means. Eastern European Digital Symposium on Resistance will bring together top leaders, experts, and campaigners to explore these pressing matters.




10:00-10:30                     Keynote address



10:45-11:45                     Fighting for Democracy and Freedom-Lessons from  Russia and Georgia



11:45-13:15                     Espresso Chat – How Nonviolent Civil Resistance Succeeds: Lessons from Research and  Practice


10:00-10:45                     Espresso Chat – In Defense of Small Countries



10:50-11:50                     Advocating for Freedom and Democracy in Eastern Europe



12:00- 13:30                    International Right to Assist Civil Resistance. What is the Role of External Allies to Nonviolent Movements?



Peter Ackerman

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  • Dr. Peter Ackerman is the Founding Chair of ICNC, and one of the world’s leading authorities on nonviolent conflict. He holds a Ph.D. from The Fletcher School, Tufts University, and is also co-author of two seminal books on nonviolent resistance, A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict (Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press, 2001) and Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: The Dynamics of People Power in the Twentieth Century (Praeger, 1994).

    Dr. Ackerman was the Executive Producer of the PBS-TV documentary, “Bringing Down a Dictator“, on the fall of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. It received a 2003 Peabody Award and the 2002 ABC News VideoSource Award of the International Documentary Association. It aired in the U.S. in March 2002, and subsequently in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia/Montenegro, Spain, Sweden and Taiwan.

    He was also the Series Editor and Principal Content Advisor for the two-part Emmy-no minated PBS-TV series, “A Force More Powerful” which charts the history of civilian-based resistance in the 20th century, including Gandhi’s campaigns for Indian independence, Danish resistance to German occupation in World War II, the U.S. civil rights movement, the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the people’s movement against Gen. Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and the dismantling of South Africa’s apartheid system. It premiered in the U.S. in September 2000, and subsequently in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iran (via satellite), New Zealand, Norway, Palestinian Territories, Spain, Sweden, Venezuela, and more than 60 other countries. Both “Bringing Down a Dictator” and “A Force More Powerful” have been translated into Arabic, Burmese, Farsi, French, Indonesian, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish, and been distributed for broadcast or seen on DVD in as many countries.

    Dr. Ackerman has spoken often in public, on television and radio, including BBC, CNN, CBC (Canada), Fox News, and National Public Radio. He has published op-eds and articles, in such publications as the Christian Science Monitor, Harvard International Review, International Herald Tribune, Sojourners Magazine, and Le Monde. He has been cited in The Economist, The Nation, The New Republic, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and U.S. News and World Report.

    In addition, Dr. Ackerman serves as co-chair of the International Advisory Committee of the United States Institute of Peace. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Atlantic Council and is a member of the United States Paralympic Advisory Committee.

    Dr. Ackerman also served on the boards of CARE and the Council of Foreign Relations. He was for 15 years chairman of The Fletcher School Board of Overseers.

Hardy Merriman

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Laura Thornton

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  • Laura Thornton is director and senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund. Prior to joining ASD, Thornton was director of global programs at International IDEA, a Stockholm-based intergovernmental think and do tank with the mission to advance democracy. She managed multiple teams across Europe focused on constitution-building, parliamentary process, elections, gender and inclusion, political parties, and democracy assessment and analysis. In this role she managed the Institute’s Global State of Democracy products, including a COVID-19 monitor tracking the impact of pandemic responses on democracy and human rights.

    Thornton also worked at the National Democratic Institute for more than 20 years, serving in leadership positions across Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka) and in the country Georgia. She has written extensively about political party development, political finance and corruption, elections, and disinformation and has led multiple election observation missions across the globe. Thornton did her graduate work at Princeton University and Oxford University, and she earned her BA from Northwestern University.

Ivan Marovic

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  • Ivan Marovic was one of the leaders of Otpor, the student resistance movement that played an important role in the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia. After the successful democratic transition in Serbia, Marovic began consulting with various prodemocracy groups worldwide and became one of the leading practitioners in the field of strategic nonviolent conflict. He is the author of The Path of Most Resistance: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Nonviolent Campaigns (ICNC Press 2018), which is available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan.



  • Zurab Girchi Japaridze is a Georgian politician, activist, and co-founder of Girchi – More Freedom, a Georgian libertarian party. He is also a member of the Georgian Parliament.

    Previously he served as MP as part of the United National Movement party (UNM), which he left in 2015.

    Japaridze holds degrees from the Tbilisi State Medical University and Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA). Since 1998, he has worked on diverse Western-funded assistance programs for Georgia. From 2005, he has lectured students at GIPA and the Free University of Tbilisi and served as a columnist for Tabula, a liberal magazine.

    Japaridze actively joined Georgian politics since October 2012, when he was elected to the Parliament of Georgia on a UNM ticket in the election that saw the defeat of the hitherto ruling UNM party. In June 2013, the UNM (then an opposition party) named Japaridze as one of the four candidates for the party’s presidential primaries, subsequently won by Davit Bakradze, who, in turn, lost to the Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili. Japaridze served as the UNM’s executive secretary but left the party in May 2015.

    Japaridze’s Girchi – More Freedom Party is one of the grassroots and growing institutions in Georgia that advocates for a robust alliance with the United States, NATO, and the European Union.

Yevgenia Chirikova

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  • Yevgenia Chirikova is a Russian environmental activist, primarily known for opposing the building of a motorway through Khimki forest near Moscow. She has also played a prominent role in the 2011–2012 Russian protests following disputed parliamentary elections in Russia. Chirikova has also been credited with “stimulating nationwide interest in political reform”. She is currently based in Estonia.

    Chirikova has campaigned against the building of a road through Khimki forest. She also helped convince the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank to “shun the project”.

    Chirikova has been the subject of intimidation because of her campaigning. 

    In March 2011, she received the Woman of Courage Award handed over by then-US Vice President Joe Biden. On this occasion, she proposed imposing sanctions on Russian politicians including Minister of Transport Igor Levitin.

    In 2012, she was a winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, receiving a USD$150,000 prize. She has said that she will spend the money setting up a campaign group called Our Land to fight similar environmental campaigns to Khimki.

    In November 2012, Foreign Policy named Yevgeniya Chirikova one of its 2012 Top 100 Global Thinkers.

Восточноевропейский Цифровой Симпозиум о Гражданском Сопротивлении


Даты симпозиума: 5 и 6 октября

Завершение регистраций: 15 сентября

Добро пожаловать на Восточноевропейский Цифровой Симпозиум по Гражданскому Сопротивлению.

Двухдневное мероприятие предоставит общее введение в гражданское сопротивление, основные данные о его эффективности и контрольный список для оценки его прогресса. Ведущие лидеры, эксперты и участники кампании присоединятся к нам, чтобы изучить эти неотложные и актуальные вопросы.


Активисты, организаторы, специалисты НПО, эксперты в области политики и лидеры гражданского общества из Восточной Европы и России.


Симпозиум будет проводиться на английском языке с синхронным переводом на русский язык.


В последнее время растущая гражданская неудовлетворенность, протесты и движении от Тбилиси до Москвы, Минска и Гонконга выявили один ключевой образец – высокий спрос на демократию, верховенство закона и благое управление, свободное от коррупционной практики и необъяснимых процессов. Страны Восточной Европы и Центральной Азии имеют много общих черт, включая олигархическое и династическое правление, территориальные конфликты, нарушения прав человека и политику идентичности. Эти внутренние и внешние факторы в большинстве случаев определяют народные волнения, спрос на реформы и благое управление. В этих условиях группы гражданского сопротивления и отдельные организаторы нуждаются в более эффективном планировании и более глубоком понимании ненасильственных стратегий и тактики при проведении своих кампаний по достижению желаемых результатов ненасильственными средствами. Восточноевропейский Цифровой Симпозиум по Сопротивлению соберет ведущих лидеров, экспертов и участников кампании для изучения этих неотложных вопросов.



10:00-10:30                     Программная речь



10:45-11:45                     Борьба за демократию и свободу – уроки России и Грузии



11:45-13:15                     Чат Espresso – Как ненасильственное гражданское сопротивление успешно: уроки исследований и практики



10:00-10:45                     Чат Espresso в защиту малых стран

10:50-11:50                     Защита свободы и демократии в Восточной Европе

12:00- 13:30                    Международное право на помощь гражданскому сопротивлению. Какова роль внешних союзников в ненасильственных движениях?