Iyad Burnat



Leading Palestinian Activist to Receive Award for Leadership in Nonviolent Action

Boston/Medford, Massachusetts, June 8, 2015 – From the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine and anti-war mobilizing in Russia, to Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement for political and electoral rights, numerous civil resistance campaigns and movements have recently captured the global public’s attention. However, other impressive efforts by ordinary people nonviolently struggling for rights and freedom around the world have received less international recognition. Many people do not know that there is a vibrant nonviolent movement in Palestine, and on Wednesday, June 10th, one of its leaders will be honored for organizing people and courageously engaging in civil resistance in the village of Bil’in for over a decade, and educating people around the world about nonviolent struggle.

Iyad Burnat will receive the 2015 James Lawson Award. The award is named after and presented in person by the Rev. Dr. James Lawson, a leader in US Civil Rights movement who led the Nashville Lunch Counter sit-ins of 1960 and whom the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called, “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”

Steadfastly leading nonviolent resistance since 2004, Iyad Burnat is head of the Bil’in Popular Committee against the Israeli Wall and Settlements, whichcampaigns against Israel’s plan to replace the village of Bil’in with Israeli settlements. As dominant narratives of Israel and Palestine have focused on the threat of violence on both sides, Burnat has exercised outstanding leadership in nonviolent resistance, achieved victories for his community, and remained steadfast in his commitment to nonviolent means. While he, his family, and friends have been subject to life-threatening violence for their actions, Burnat insists: “We are not against the Jews. We are against the occupation.”

Hardy Merriman, President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, which gives the James Lawson Award, stated that “Iyad Burnat’s courage, moral stand, and political wisdom in organizing effective nonviolent campaigns are an example to all those who seek to wage and resolve conflicts without violence. Burnat embodies the vision behind the James Lawson Award, and we are honored to have him present and learn from his experiences.”

The James Lawson Awards ceremony will begin at 1:00 p.m. EST on June 10. It will be live-streamed at: bit.ly/1RYekTD

The award ceremony will be held before participants in the 10th annual Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict, a collaboration of The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (a Washington, DC-based educational foundation) and The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University. Since 2006, the Fletcher Summer Institute has gathered a diverse group of activists, journalists, scholars, and other professionals for the only advanced, executive program in the study of nonviolent conflict, giving change-makers the opportunity to share their experiences and learn from leading scholars and practitioners of nonviolent conflict.