This research network is the new platform for an engaged and impactful discussion on the potential of nonviolence in 21st Century Europe. We produce and discuss findings, engage activists and decision-makers, promote high-level dialogues and co-produce knowledge for training and education. We welcome and encourage contributions from all disciplines, from the social sciences to philosophy, from history to psychology and STEM. Our network provides a European platform for innovations in the field, and in-depth discussion of the history, present and future of nonviolence in Europe. We don’t want this discussion to be exclusively academic – our aim is to build on our contacts with the networks of nonviolent activists, civil society organisations, Members of the European Parliament, former and current MPs, the EU, the Council of Europe and OSCE-ODHIR institutions.
Nonviolence is a pillar of the history and the present of Europe and the European Union. It contributed to the construction of Europe against Nazi and fascist dictatorships. It played a key role in the many revolutions, from Portugal to Czechoslovakia, from Poland to the Baltic States. Amidst the violence of the Balkans war, nonviolence decisively contributed to the liberation of Serbia from the yoke of Milosevich. The ‘nonviolent revolutionary spirit’ moved eastwards, to Georgia, Ukraine and in these days Belarus. Besides, nonviolence has a story within the institutions, such as the Council of Europe resolution on the creation of a European award of Non-violence, the EP resolution of the 8 May 2008 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World, the report ‘Nonviolent Civic Action in Support of Human Rights and Democracy’ in 2009, and the OSCE Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly
Yet, the social scientific and policy-oriented debate on nonviolence has been limited. The European Union received a Nobel Peace Prize but has been somewhat hesitant to embrace nonviolence as vision in domestic, foreign and development cooperation policy so far. Even less has been done in Europe (compared to North-America and India) on the difference between pacifism and nonviolence, and between renouncing to violence and nonviolent political and social struggle.