People Power - the Phenomenon that Shakes and Shapes the World in the 21st Century



Srdja Popovic , Serbian Political Activist, Founder of Nonviolent Resistance Group Otpor!

Date and Time

November 12, 2015 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



Open to Stanford faculty, students, staff, and visiting scholars.

RSVP required by 5PM November 11.


William J. Perry Conference Room
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

Please note that the room has been changed from E008 to CISAC Central Conference Room on the 2nd floor of Encina Hall. 



Why were Arab Spring revolutionaries able to topple deep-seated autocrats while the American Occupy movement failed to achieve its stated goals?

Examples of successful nonviolent struggle like in India, Serbia 2000 or Georgia in 2003, show that it takes far more than bringing a demonstrating crowd to the streets to achieve a social change. There are certain principles of success, like unity, planning, nonviolent discipline, the influence of new media and choosing proper strategies and tactics that must be considered.

The use of nonviolence is not only morally more favourable, but also proofs to be more succesfull if we look at some empirical facts.

  1. Major nonviolent campaigns have achieved success 53 percent of the time, compared with 26 percent for violent resistance campaigns
  2. Nonviolent campaigns are not only twice more likely to success but that range increases in last decades after cold war.
  3. Nonviolent campaigns are 10 times more likely to end in durable democracy.

As contrast, violence not only breeds more violence and causes long-term instability like in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kyrgistan, but it also provides an excuse for each subsequent violent action, which puts every nonviolent protest movement in danger.



Srdja Popovic was one of the founders of the Serbian nonviolent resistance group Otpor! Otpor!’s campaign against Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was successful in October 2000 when thousands of protestors took over the Serbian Parliament. After the revolution, Popovic served a term as a member of the Serbian National Assembly. In 2003, Popovic and others started the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS). CANVAS has worked with activists from 46 different countries, including Zimbabwe, Burma, Iran, and Venezuela, spreading knowledge of the nonviolent strategies and tactics used by Otpor! In November 2011, Foreign Policy Magazine listed Srdja Popovic as one of the "Top 100 Global Thinkers" of 2011 for inspiring the Arab Spring protesters.  In 2012 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2014 he was listed as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum in Davos. "Srdja is also the author of the recent book Blueprint for Revolution, a fun and humorous look at nonviolent activism worldwide."