International Center on Nonviolent Conflict

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The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict is an independent, nonprofit educational foundation, founded by Jack DuVall and Peter Ackerman[1] in 2002. It promotes the study and utilization of nonmilitary strategies by civilian-based movements to establish and defend human rights, social justice and democracy.


Based in Washington, DC, ICNC works with educational institutions and nongovernmental organizations in the United States and around the world to educate the global public and to influence policies and media coverage of the growing phenomenon of strategic nonviolent action.


The ICNC was founded by Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall in 2002. Jack DuVall serves as ICNC’s president and Founding Director, while Peter Ackerman serves as ICNC's Founding Chair.[2] A writer, former military intelligence officer, and former public television executive, Jack DuVall was the executive producer of a television series, "A Force More Powerful", on the television station PBS and is co-author of the companion book of the same name (Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press 2001), both of which explore major 20th century nonviolent action campaigns. Peter Ackerman, a venture capitalist who was a highly-paid associate of Michael Milken at Drexel Burham Lambert in the 1980s specializing in leveraged buyouts[3] received his PhD. from Tufts University’s Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy, and has written a series of scholarly books on strategic nonviolent action, has served on the board of Freedom House (including as chair between 2005-2009[4][5]) and is a member of Council on Foreign Relations.[1] In raising public awareness of the history and ideas of nonviolent conflict in both democratic and autocratic societies, ICNC has disseminated books, articles, broadcast media, video programming, computer games and other learning materials. Staff members and associated scholars have led seminars in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East for journalists, activists, educators and NGO leaders on the history and dynamics of strategic nonviolent action.

ICNC involvement in seminars and workshops involving activists in human rights, pro-democracy and social justice campaigns overseas have led to charges from some governments of foreign intervention, though ICNC policy prohibits its presenters from giving specific advice regarding any particular struggle. Such workshops, according to ICNC policy, come only in response to specific requests from activist groups themselves and are not initiated by ICNC. ICNC also maintains a strictly apolitical posture, in that it works with groups challenging autocratic governments regardless of a given regime's ideological orientation or relations with the United States.

However, ICNC allegedly maintains connections with the "US-based 'democracy promoting' establishment groups of USAID and Reagan's National Endowment for Democracy as well as links to the CIA."[6]

ICNC has cooperated with other independent non-profit groups concerned with strategic nonviolent action, including the Albert Einstein Institution, Nonviolence International, and the Serbian-based Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS). ICNC is funded exclusively through a private family endowment and maintains a strict policy of not accepting funding from nor collaborating with any government or government-funded entities.

Hardy Merriman who is president of the ICNC[7] worked for the Albert Einstein Institution from 2002-2005.[8] Peter Ackerman funded the Albert Einstein Institution from its founding in 1983 until 2002[9]

Alleged ICNC intervention in Venezuelan politics[edit]

ICNC has been criticized for involvement in US-backed regime change operations.[10] For example, American-Venezuelan lawyer Eva Golinger alleged that during 2005 and 2006, the ICNC trained Venezuelan youths to try to reverse the government of Hugo Chávez, through "[impeding] the electoral process and [creating] a scenario of fraud,"[11] claiming that the ICNC did this together with USAID and NED as part of a systemic plan of implementing United States foreign policy aims in democratic countries.[12] ICNC denies it ever engaged in such trainings,[13] which are a violation of its charter. Jack Duvall has claimed that the only time ICNC was ever involved in Venezuela was in 2006 when it supported the travel of two nonviolent activists to the World Social Forum in Caracas, at which they met with Chavez supporters to discuss methods of resisting any possible coup attempt.[14]

Response to Criticisms[edit]

In response to criticisms made by Michael Barker, Stephen Zunes, who acts as the chair of the ICNC's advisory board wrote that the...

"...ICNC does not 'work closely' with the Albert Einstein Institution, does not 'provide its theoretical underpinnings' and has never had a single operational meeting with anyone representing them. The primary connection between the two independent non-profit institutes has been ICNC's support for foreign-language translations of their literature, which have been used by nonviolent activists struggling for freedom and justice in dozens of countries." [15]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Peter Ackerman - Founding Chair". International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  2. ^ "Peter Ackerman - Founding Chair". International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  3. ^ Bianco, Anthony (1992-06-08). "The Drexel Debacle's Teflon Guy". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  4. ^ "Dr. Peter Ackerman Becomes New Chairman of Freedom House". Freedom House. 2005-09-08. Archived from the original on 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  5. ^ "Freedom House Welcomes William H. Taft IV as New Chairman". Freedom House. 2009-01-08. Archived from the original on 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  6. ^ Marty Branagan (2013). Global Warming, Militarism and Nonviolence: The Art of Active Resistance, pp. 167-68.
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  9. ^ Shishkin, Philip (2008-09-13). "American Revolutionary Quiet Boston Scholar Inspires Rebels Around the World". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  10. ^ Stephen Gowans (2010). "The Revolution Will Not Be Assisted By The ICNC (The Counter-Revolution Is Another Matter)."
  11. ^ Golinger, Eva (2010-02-07). "Colored Revolutions: A New Form of Regime Change, Made in USA". Archived from the original on 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  12. ^ Golinger, Eva (2010-02-07). "Colored Revolutions: A New Form of Regime Change, Made in USA". Archived from the original on 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
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  15. ^ Stephen Zunes, Inaccurate and unfair attacks on the ICNC, Green Left Weekly, August 31, 2007.