Workshop: Non-violence and Conflict Transformation

A day-long workshop by the Centre for Global Security Challenges on Non-Violence and Conflict Transformation on Saturday 15 April at the University of Leeds.

Can the use of nonviolent actions promote peaceful conflict transformation and resolution? Can they promote positive long-term political change in post-war settings?

There is a growing consensus in the literature and practice of peacebuilding that unarmed civilian protection interventions such as monitoring the implementation of ceasefires and peace agreements are among the non-violent tools that local civilians might use to transform conflict environments, shape the security of their local context, and the stability and quality of peace (Julian and Schweitzer 2015, Venturi 2014).

A growing body of works in conflict studies also shows that nonviolent mass civil resistance methods such as strikes, sit-ins, and marches are effective in promoting peace and forging new democracies, deposing dictators improving long-term democratic governance relative to violent revolutions or top-down liberalizations (Bayer et al. 2016; Chenoweth and Stephan 2011; Bethke and Pinckney 2019).

The literature on UCP and civil resistance have so far developed in isolation from each other, and questions remain about how to combine the power of nonviolent actions to peacefully wage conflict with the power of nonviolent peacebuilding to resolve it.

This one-day workshop features 9 key scholars of unarmed civilian protection and civil resistance working on the link between non-violent methods, peacebuilding, and stability. The workshop will serve as the first venue to initiate a dialogue between two literature that studies the link between nonviolent actions broadly understood and conflict transformation and resolution. The full programme of events is listed below:


10:00-10:30 Coffee and Welcome

10:30-12:00 First Panel

  1. Dr Sebastian van Baalen, ‘The Dark Side of Civilian Protest in Civil War: Insights from Côte d’Ivoire’ (Uppsala University)
  2. Professor Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, ‘Protecting Former Perpetrators? Expanding the Concept of Unarmed Civilian Protection through an Exploration of Ex-combatants’ Reintegration and Violence in Colombia’ (Aberystwyth University)
  3. Dr Margherita Belgioioso and Dr Luke Abbs, ‘Breaking the Conflict Trap with Citizens’ Non-violent Mobilisation’ (University of Leeds and University of Winchester)

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:00-14:30 Second Panel

  1. Professor Rachel Julian, ‘The Peacebuilding/Nonviolence Space: What Role for Unarmed Civilian Protection?’ (Leeds Beckett University)
  2. Lisa Cumming, ‘Ponderings from Practice: Listening to Practitioners Working on Peacebuilding and Nonviolence’ (Leeds Beckett University)
  3. Dr Véronique Dudouet, ‘From Protest to Dialogue: A New Research Agenda for Civil Resistance and Conflict Resolution’ (Berghof Foundation)

14:30-15:00 Coffee Break

15:00-16:00 Third Panel

  1. Dr Chas Morrison, ‘Prioritising “the Local” in Civilian Protection and Preventing Violence in East Africa’ (Coventry University)
  2. Dr Christoph Dworschak, ‘Bringing out the Big Guns: Military Development and Nonviolent Mobilisation’ (University of York)
  3. Dr Luke Abbs, Dr Andrei Gomez-Suarez and Professor Mark Owen, ‘Understanding Community-level and Spontaneous Unarmed Civilian Protection’ (University of Winchester)

How to register

To register for this workshop or for any questions, please email Dr Margherita Belgioioso at

In the case that you cannot locate the room, please find Dr Belgioioso on the steps to the Parkinson Building at 09:50.