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American Today


Jawdat Said Keynoter at Nonviolence Symposium

By Mike Unger

Photo: Jawdat Said

Syrian scholar and nonviolence activist Jawdat Said (Photo: Jeff Watts)

Syrian scholar and nonviolent activist Jawdat Said delivered the keynote address March 29 at the Center for Peacebuilding and Development’s forum, “Reclaiming the Power of Nonviolence: Success, Obstacles, and Sustainability of Nonviolent Movements in the Arab Spring.”

“The world in which we live is in dire need of peace,” he said through an interpreter. “War is practiced by only the ignorant and evil ones.”

The two-day symposium featured panels on:

  • nonviolent strategies for success
  • addressing obstacles and challenges in sustaining nonviolent action
  • the role of nonviolent movements in transition
  • marginalized groups in nonviolent and political social movements
  • minorities in power and transition
  • emerging applications of nonviolent methods

Throughout his life Said has been jailed numerous times for his beliefs. He has written on law, religion, and social change, and currently writes a weekly column for Al Majallah magazine.

“His life rests upon eight pillars,” said School of International Service professor Abdul Aziz Said, founding director of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program (IPCR). “Decency, integrity, compassion, courage, confidence, vision, conviction, mercy.”

IPCR cosponsored the event with the Mohammed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace, Nonviolence International, and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

“Peace and compassion obliterates even the notion of animosity,” Jawdat Said said. “We need to understand that war is a polluting phenomenon.”