International Activism: Lessons from the Field

Rooted deep in human nature and responsible for the twists and turns of history, activism is certainly not a new concept. However, within the past decade we have seen innovative forms of grassroots activism and high-level advocacy topple oppressive regimes, reinforce whose lives matter, push through policies of equality and dignity, and end wars. Nonviolent campaigns have become increasingly common and have proven to have a higher success rate than violent initiatives. From protesting to boycotting, and from social media campaigns to civil disobedience, courageous individuals continue to defy the status quo through a wide array of methods and strategies. In order to respond to our world’s current complex challenges, it is imperative that we understand how to engage in–and lead–effective and inclusive activist efforts. It is critical that we understand how to inculcate a culture of activism that flows from the stakeholders themselves, and learn how to provide effective support. Therefore, this panel will seek the guidance and insights of experienced activists, who will share their best practices and lessons learned in order to help participants become strong activists in their own right. 

Given these considerations, this panel will explore the following:

  • What are the lessons learned from activists who have experience in leading grassroots initiatives? What are the challenges they face? What is their advice for burgeoning activists? 
  • How do you organize effectively? What skills and qualities does it take to lead a productive campaign?
  • How do you get the necessary support for your cause, whether human or material?
  • How can you make your campaigns inclusive? How can activism be successful in amplifying marginalized voices and communities?
  • What are the differences between activism led by members of affected communities themselves as opposed to stakeholders who may not be affected by the movement directly but can be a bridge to axes of power?

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