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"The tasks of democratic governments is to pay attention to change, and in a spirit of solidarity of free peoples, support legitimate aspirations of people everywhere to widen their democratic space." -A Diplomat's Handbook for Democracy Development Support
Local nonviolent activists and movements, along with the tactics and strategies they use, will always be the primary drivers of bottom-up change. However, external actors, both governmental and non-governmental, can play an important role in supporting those activists and movements and shaping the environment for civic activism. Effective 21st century diplomacy, notably, must emphasize development and civilian power as much as military might.
Still, there are challenges to state support for indigenous movements. These include constraints imposed by normal bilateral relations and conflicting geo-strategic interests. This module will address the following questions:
- What are the pros and cons of external support (notably governmental support) to nonviolent activists?
- What tools do diplomats and other external actors have at their disposal to enhance the effectiveness of nonviolent activists and movements?
- Where have those tools been used effectively or not effectively?
- What are key lessons for future engagement between diplomats/policy-makers and nonviolent activists?