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Leading Nonviolent Movements for Social Progress, Short Course

  • Application Deadline
  • 1 month
Offers a unique opportunity for those engaged in nonviolent social movements to learn the strategic and tactical frameworks needed to effectively lead a successful campaign.


Throughout history, social and political movements have had a significant impact on the world– shaking and shaping our society. In recent years, new social movements have stunned the world with their ability to spawn conversations, shape politics, and serve as a conduit for change. Many believed such accomplishments and results were impossible.

Leading an effective nonviolent struggle demands new ways of thinking and strong collaboration among many diverse groups. The Leading Nonviolent Movements for Social Progress executive program explores the conceptual frameworks for effective leadership through learning modules focused on building collaboration, strengthening the strategic capacity of leadership teams, tactical flexibility and innovation, and negotiation.

Presented in 10 online modules, the program will focus on:
  • Developing the frameworks and skills essential to a successful nonviolent struggle
  • Examining the tactics and strategies needed to build numbers in a non-violent struggle
  • Providing a systematic opportunity for nonviolent social movement mid-level leaders to learn from the experiences of peers and through the coaching of Harvard/CANVAS* faculty

This course is a unique opportunity for those involved in social movements around the world to interact with their peers engaged in similar efforts. The cohort includes leaders and activists from social movements, communities building alternative institutions, and those working at both local and national levels to affect social change. Highly interactive, this program will challenge you to think strategically and help develop the skills necessary to lead a successful campaign.
*CANVAS, the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies, is an educational organization that trains activists from around the world in the strategies and tactics on nonviolent struggle.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • More details: October 19 - November 20
  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 1 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode

Programme Structure

Leading Nonviolent Movements for Social Progress is a 5-week online program organized into 10 modules, each with a specific learning and/or project outcome. The curriculum will encompass lectures, reading, films, discussion, and workbook applications focusing on the following themes:

  • Building unity through articulating a strong vision of tomorrow and negotiation within a spectrum of potential allies
  • Choosing appropriate strategic targets: Impacting allies and adversaries
  • Strategies, tactics, and the mobilization of numbers and constituencies
  • The disciplined imagination of planning: Planning forward and planning backward
  • Managing the end game: Understanding the processes of consolidating victory, maintaining unity, and planning for effective transitions


This program is designed for those engaged in nonviolent social movements around the world who wish to deepen their understanding on the subject and collaborate with others who pursue like purposes and efforts. Recommended participants include:

  • Activists from non-democratic countries fighting for democracy
  • Activists from democratic countries leading social change projects (e.g. climate change activists and organizations, social justice, human rights, rights of workers, immigrants, etc.)
  • Social Entrepreneurs, directors and managers of NGOs with focus on human rights, democracy promotion, conflict resolution, etc.
  • Future or actual employers of governmental or international organizations who are dealing with conflict areas (e.g. UN agencies, diplomats, organizations promoting democracy and freedom such as Freedom House, NDI, IRI, IREX, Google Ideas,, Avaaz)

The course is particularly recommended for those where non-violent training is discouraged or forbidden, but which can safely engage in an online setting, and for those working through the dilemmas of leadership in currently active campaigns.

Because the participants’ own experiences are critical to the learning process, a class that is professionally and geographically diverse with be chosen.


  • Faculty Chair: Douglas Johnson
  • Program Director: James Brockman

English Language Requirements

This programme requires students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Academic Requirements

Admission to this program is competitive and based on professional achievement and organizational responsibility. The program is highly curated to provide a balance of organizational sizes, structures, and issues as well as a variety of experiences. There are no formal educational requirements, but fluency in written and spoken English is a necessity for the program.

Early submission of applications is encouraged. Qualified candidates are admitted on a rolling, space-available basis. Because of the interactive nature of this program, the number of participants is limited and the course will fill to capacity. Applications received after the deadline will be considered only if space remains in the class.

  1. Create an account
  2. Complete your application
  3. Submit your application
Visa Requirements

As a program participant, you are responsible for securing the appropriate visas (B1 Visa) and travel documents you need to travel to the country in which your program is located.

Once admitted to a program, the Program Director can provide you with a letter as documentation for your visa application.

Please note that you should request a B-1 visa and not an F-l student visa for attendance to a program. Program participants are not considered full-time enrolled students at Harvard University, and they are therefore not eligible for Harvard’s F-l student visa sponsorship.

Because the time required to obtain a visa can be lengthy, we encourage applicants from outside the United States to apply at least 12 weeks before the start date of each program.

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    1800 USD/module
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 1800 USD per module and a duration of 1 months.
  • National Applies to you

    1800 USD/module
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 1800 USD per module and a duration of 1 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


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