Mel Duncan, co-founder and director of advocacy and outreach for Nonviolent Peaceforce, will spark your moral imagination by describing how well-trained and disciplined nonviolent peacekeepers effectively help make peace without introducing more guns. As today’s headlines herald war, Mel will illustrate alternatives ways to transform violent conflict.Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP), an international non-government organization, provides direct protection to civilians caught in violent conflict and works with local organizations to reduce further outbreaks of violence.

Now entering its second decade, NP currently has programs in South Sudan, the Mindanao region of the Philippines, South Caucasus and in Myanmar. NP’s unarmed civilian peacekeepers are from many nations, and live and work among conflict affected communities, facilitating violence reduction by engaging constructively with all sides to the conflict and utilizing those relationships to change behaviors. While coming from all major faiths, NP’s peacekeepers practically demonstrate courageous and compassionate love, recognizing the sacredness of human life in some of the most violent places on our planet.


Sunday Forum with Mel Duncan from Nonviolent Peaceforce

Plymouth Congregational Church (Jackman Room)
1900 NICOLLET AVE. at FRANKLIN, Minneapolis 

October 5th, 9-10 a.m.

Read More

Honorary Award recipient, Mel Duncan, fourth from right, connects with Nonviolent Peaceforce partners in Mindanao in the Philippines.We are very proud to announce that co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce, Mel Duncan, will be receiving the 2014 Honorary Award from the Hawkinson Foundation. Mel is accepting the award on behalf of Nonviolent Peaceforce's unarmed civilian peacekeepers, staff, volunteers and supporters. Please join the Hawkinson Foundation in celebrating Mel and the other honorees.

Read more: Mel Duncan to Accept 2014 Hawkinson Foundation Honorary Award‏

A Joint UNITAR-Nonviolent Peaceforce Online Course

H.E. Ms. Isabelle F. Picco Vice-President of the General Assembly (GA) welcomes the UCP e-learning course with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and  Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee looking on.The e-learning course on Strengthening Civilian Capacities to Protect Civilians was introduced today at the United Nations High Level Forum on Culture of Peace in New York.  The six module course developed jointly by the UN Institute for Training and Research and Nonviolent Peaceforce, will be available online in early 2015.

Read more: Introduced: NP Course at UN

logo 0Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) is deeply saddened by the murder of our friend and former colleague, David Cawthorne Haines.  Although he was not working for NP at the time of his abduction, David served NP in South Sudan in 2012 and was known and beloved by many of us.  He protected people under threat with courageous determination whilst always demonstrating a sense of humility and where required humour. We send our love and condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and ex-colleagues and want them all to know that he saved many peoples’ lives through his good work.

We are outraged by his brutal murder.  We are struggling to separate the actions from the persons committing them.   We appeal to our shared humanity with those who have killed our friend to turn away from these horrible acts and to let other captives free.  NP in memory of David rededicates ourselves to protecting civilians and creating nonviolent approaches to resolving  conflicts.

NP, an international nongovernmental organization with offices in Belgium and the US, provides direct, unarmed physical presence protection to civilians caught in violent conflict and works with local civil society to reduce further violence on a nonpartisan basis. 

We are deeply saddened. In respect to his family and loved ones, NP has no further comment.

NP Team LeadersDue to the recent and ongoing civil war, 2014 has been a challenging time to be working in South Sudan - an underdeveloped new country that was already not an easy place in which to work. Despite the war’s political origins, the conflict has included ethnically motivated violence and targeting of civilians. It has led to massive displacement, a cholera outbreak, and an impending famine throughout the country. Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) began working in southern Sudan before the region achieved its independence, a mere three years ago. From the start we have engaged with communities to increase their security and ability to protect themselves from violence. It has been heartbreaking to watch the hard-won progress made by the people of South Sudan destroyed by violence and hatred. It is a strange, yet I believe natural, phenomenon that this would at the same time make me more passionate about my work with NP. The more I witness the devastating impact that violent conflict has on the lives of civilians, the more I believe in the importance of what NP is trying to achieve: using unarmed civilian peacekeeping to reduce violence and protect civilians in situations of violent conflict.

Read more: Bringing the Team Leaders in from the Field

This working paper in English language includes five contributions on the subject of Civilian Peacekeeping. The articles have been written independently of each other and for different audiences. These audiences had in common that they were mainstream policymakers and scientists, not people from the peace and nonviolence movements. All the authors have for some time or still are involved with the NGO Nonviolent Peaceforce, and therefore chose the majority of their examples from the experiences of the work of NP.

Contributions by:

Introduction: Civilian Peacekeeping. A Barely Tapped Resource - Christine Schweitzer

The World Needs 'Another Peacekeeping' - Rolf Carriare

Best Practices for Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping - Tim Wallis

Peacekeeping with Nonviolence: Protection Strategies for Sustainable Peace - Rachel Julians

Humanitarian Protection as an Additional Function of Humanitarian, Development and Peace Projects -- or Rather a Task Requiring Experts?  - Christine Schweitzer

The Responsibility to Protect: Towards an Expanded Role for Global Civil Society -  Christine Schweitzer

PDF: download the PDF here

Christine Schweitzer,The Nonviolent Peaceforce Feasibility Study was undertaken in 2001 by an international team of researchers whose efforts were coordinated by Christine Schweitzer, who later served as Programme Director for NP.

The study was conducted with support from the United States Institute of Peace.

This study provides a thorough record of the practices of peace teams in the field, as well as of the selection, training and support of personnel. The document is available below for download by chapters, free of charge.


Note: The document is over 300 pages. Download by chapter in pdf:

  Chapter 1 - Putting NP In The Picture
  Chapter 2 - Activities
  Chapter 3 - Field Relationships
  Chapter 4 - Personnel
  Chapter 5 - Training

By Mel Duncan

Sept. 3, 2014

The dramatic increase in forced displacement in 2013 and the fact that the average amount of time people worldwide are living in displacement is now a staggering 17 years, all suggest that something is going terribly wrong in how we are responding and dealing with this issue... 

Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (UNHCR, 2014)


Mel 0It is only with deep humility that any of us can write about protection of civilians. In absolute terms, the unmet need for direct physical protection of civilians against conflict related violence has never been greater than it is today. The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) reported in June that the number of people living as refugees from war or persecution exceeded 50 million in 2013, for the first time since World War II. [1]

Read more: Hitting Bottom

Global Peace IndexThe Global Peace Index is an index, developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace, which measures and analyses the state of peace around the world. Besides ranking countries according to their level of peace, the index identifies trends, calculates the economic impact of violence, and so it goes beyond a mere measurement of wars, and instead explores and unravels the texture of peace in the world.

The Index is composed of 22 indicators, ranging from a nation’s level of military expenditure to its level of political stability, absence or presence of conflict, and the number of homicides. The data applied comes from a wide range of sources, including the International Institute of Strategic Studies, The World Bank, various UN offices, Peace Institutes and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Read more: Global Peace Index 2014