The James Lawson Award for Achievement in the Practice of Nonviolent Conflict (or, for journalists and scholars, the “Reporting” or “Study” of Nonviolent Conflict), is presented annually by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict at The Fletcher School at Tufts University during the Fletcher Summer Institute. It is awarded to practitioners, scholars and journalists whose work serves as a model for how nonviolent change can be developed, understood and explained.
This year, four distinguished people received the James Lawson Award, in the presence of us all:
+ Evgenia Chirikova, a Russian activist who co-founded Defend Khimki Forest, which has fought a long and so far successful campaign in the last ten years to prevent the destruction of an ancient-growth forest near Moscow.
+ Mkhuseli (“Khusta”) Jack, the South African leader of a consumer boycott campaign and a relentless organizer during the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in the 1980s.
+ Oscar Olivera, one of the key leaders of the campaign in Cochabamba, Bolivia in the 1990’s that prevented the privatization of water resources and helped spark broad popular participation in Bolivia’s democratic transition in the ensuing years.
+ Jenni Williams, the co-founder of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, who braved 52 arrests and jailings due to ongoing protests for genuine political rights for all of the people of her country.
“Today the map of nonviolent resistance is truly global, and Evgenia, Khusta, Oscar and Jenni represent the diversity of struggles, the refusal to quit, and the personal courage of nonviolent organizers and activists all over the world,” said Hardy Merriman, the vice president of the Center.