Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Receives Gift from Topol Family Foundation to Support Launch of Nonviolent Action Lab

May 26, 2020
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Cambridge, MA – The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School is pleased to announce a generous gift from the Topol Family Foundation to support the Center’s program on nonviolent social movements. Led by Erica Chenoweth, Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs, the program seeks to explore and elevate the strategy of nonviolent action at the international, state, sub-state, and local levels. Chenoweth is one of the world's leading experts on nonviolent social movements and civil resistance. Foreign Policy magazine ranked her among the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013.  
 
With the Topol Family Foundation’s contribution, Chenoweth will launch and lead the Nonviolent Action Lab. The Lab's priorities include updating the NAVCO data project (NAVCO), which is a leading global dataset on the characteristics and outcomes of nonviolent and violent resistance campaigns from 1900-2019; publishing and updating the Women in Resistance (WiRe) Data Project, which examines the extent of women’s participation in armed and unarmed resistance movements; launching the Resistance Atlas, a user-friendly Dashboard where people can explore cases of nonviolent resistance around the world; and launching the Defending Digital Dissent initiative, where the lab will provide up-to-date resources, information guides, and toolkits for people involved in activism, organizing, and dissent to protect their digital networks, accounts, and platforms. 
 
"Existing research shows that nonviolent resistance can be a highly effective pathway to defend democratic values and institutions, yet many people remain skeptical about its power," said Chenoweth. "Systematically studying and amplifying nonviolent action will make it easier for the public and practitioners to embrace it, particularly at a time when the world is facing numerous crises that call for urgent and effective nonviolent action."
 
“We are deeply grateful to Sidney Topol and the Topol Family Foundation for this generous gift to the Carr Center,” said Carr Center Faculty Director Mathias Risse, “Research on the effectiveness of nonviolent social movements is critical at this time." 
 
Sidney Topol is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and peace activist who serves on the Advisory Board of the Carr Center. The son of immigrants who grew up in Dorchester, Topol and his family foundation support educational and charitable projects devoted to nonviolence.