Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts, June 18, 2014- In the wake of the Arab Spring and as nonviolent movements in Ukraine, Thailand, Brazil, and around the world capture the global public’s attention, today starting, at 1:30pm EST on the Tufts University campus, two activists will be recognized for their courageous use of strategic nonviolent tactics to win human rights and justice, and two prominent scholars will be honored for their groundbreaking contributions to the field of civil resistance. The awards ceremony will be live-streamed here.
The James Lawson Awards are named after and presented in person by James Lawson, a leader in US Civil Rights movement who led the Nashville Lunch Counter sit-ins of 1960 and who Martin Luther King, Jr. called, “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”
The four Lawson awardees are:
Yorm Bopha, a 30-year old land rights activist in Cambodia who has led her community’s struggle against forced evictions by the Cambodian government. As a result of her nonviolent activism, she was arrested on trumped up charges in September 2012 and became an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience while imprisoned for 444 days. Her commitment to nonviolent struggle even in the face of government retribution never wavered.
Kumi Naidoo, a human rights activist from South Africa and the current International Executive Director of Greenpeace since 2009. He has remained committed to the use of nonviolent direct action, and has been involved in many campaigns including the anti-apartheid struggle, women’s rights, and environmental protection. Despite rising to highest ranks of Greenpeace, Kumi has continued to personally commit daring acts of direct nonviolent action for environmental protection.
Jacques Sémelin, a professor of Political Science at Sciences-Po Paris (Center for International Research and Studies) and Senior Researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research who has produced many seminal publications on the use of civil resistance against dictatorships and the political roots of mass violence. Jacques Sémelin is the world’s foremost scholar in applying the understanding of civilian-based nonviolent action to the necessity of resisting and overcoming the worst perpetrators of extreme violence.
Howard Clark, a radical pacifist and full-time nonviolent activist and researcher who chaired War Resisters International (WRI). His work and that of his WRI colleagues supported activists around the world to take nonviolent action to advance just and sustainable peace. He passed away in December 2013, and his partner and children will be present to accept his award.
The ceremony will be tweeted live, follow along at the hashtag, #FSI2014 and check back here at the FSI blog for photos from the James Lawson Awards. Click the image below to tune in to the live-stream of the awards at 1:30pm EST.