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Josef Korbel School of International StudiesSié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy

External Support, UN Photo / Amanda Voisard


External Support for Nonviolent Campaigns – Data Collection and Analysis

External Support for Nonviolent Campaigns is a three year research project that seeks to address whether external assistance helps or hinders nonviolent resistance campaigns. Very little research has systematically investigated the impacts of external support on the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance. Existing research reaches somewhat contradictory conclusions, with some finding that external support for nonviolent campaigns is harmful, that external support is sometimes helpful, or that external support has little observable effect. The proposed project assembles a research team to launch a systematic effort to look at how different forms of aid—or combined forms of aid—affect the outcomes and longer-term impacts of civil resistance campaigns. Researchers at the University of Denver and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) are collecting and analyzing data on numerous nonviolent campaigns to assess these impacts. This data collection effort is the first of its kind to systematically explore the impacts of various dimensions of international assistance on the success rates of nonviolent campaigns.

The ultimate outcome of this collection will be an analysis of the impacts of these different types of aid (or combinations of aid) on the short- and longer-term outcomes of nonviolent campaigns. The project identifies all reported incidents of support, encouragement, or direct participation in civil resistance campaigns by a wide variety of international third parties. The data set will feature incident-level observations of external assistance of civil resistance campaigns occurring around the world from 2000-2014, as defined in the NAVCO 2.1 dataset. External assistance is defined as aid emerging beyond the sovereign boundaries of the country in which the campaign is operating. The data will be available for public release in August of 2017.

If you have questions about this project, contact co-PI Erica Chenoweth.

Project Sponsors

The research described in this project was sponsored by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). ICNC is an independent, non-profit educational foundation that develops and encourages the study and use of civilian-based, nonmilitary strategies aimed at establishing and defending human rights, democratic self-rule and justice worldwide. The views expressed herein are the Principal Investigators’ alone.

Research Team

Co-Principal Investigators:

  • Dr. Erica Chenoweth , Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard University
  • Dr. Maria J. Stephan, Senior Policy Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace and non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Project Staff:

  • Dr. Cassy Dorff, Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico.