President, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
Hardy Merriman is president of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Within ICNC he also leads the Civil Resistance Funders Initiative. Mr. Merriman has worked in the field of civil resistance for over two decades, presenting at workshops for activists and organizers from around the world; developing programs and grantmaking for practitioners and scholars; publishing commentary; and speaking widely about civil resistance movements with members of international organizations, academics, and journalists. His writings have been translated into numerous languages. Previously he served as ICNC’s president & CEO from January 2015 to June 2021, as well as vice president and director of content development from 2012-14, as a senior advisor from 2007-12, and as director of programs and research from 2005-7. He was simultaneously an adjunct lecturer at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University from 2016-8. Mr. Merriman was recently a principal investigator for the Fostering a Fourth Democratic Wave project from 2021-23, a joint effort with the Atlantic Council, and is primary author of the publication Fostering a Fourth Democratic Wave: A Playbook for Countering the Authoritarian Threat (2023).
With democracy in decline over 17 years and Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine putting democracy at the top of policy agenda in Europe and the US, the concurrent rise in autocracy is providing a new sense of urgency to democracies worldwide. During this session, the speakers will address what this era of democratic rest means for EU policy, democracy support and activism worldwide. With Helena König (EEAS), McDonald Lewanika, (Accountability Lab South Africa), Sam van der Staak (International IDEA) and Hardy Merriman (International Center on Nonviolent Conflict). Moderated by Shada Islam.
Autocratisation trends have galvanised democracies from across the globe and sparked civic awakening worldwide. Throughout 2022 major protests occurred in Iran, Georgia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China and Hong Kong, as citizens worldwide took to the streets to demand their rights. This session will showcase the story of four activists and how they are planning to achieve a more democratic future for their countries. With Zaza Abashidze (RealPolitika), Leila Alikarami (Lawyer and human rights advocate), Nathan Law (Hong Kong democratic activist) and Olga Rudenko (The Kyiv Independent). Moderated by Hardy Merriman (International Center on Nonviolent Conflict).