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Projects

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The DFP is working with Myo Yan Naung Thein, founder of the Burmese Democratic Futures Working Group (BDFWG) to conduct research on the ruling military authority’s use of disinformation to heighten ethnic division and discredit the democratic resistance movement. As part of this work, the BDFWG has developed research reports which document the military’s brutal suppression of the Myanmar people. It has also developed a database which records the multi-generational work of non-violent advocates to create a democracy in Myanmar. Finally, in consultation with Peace Appeal, the National Unity Government, and the National Unity Consultative Council, is also in the process of developing protocols for the emerging resistance militias (Professional Defense Forces) on how to comply with human rights standards in their a) social media postings and b) military actions. These protocols will be distributed through social media in the form of short videos that represent that also demonstrate how Myanmar’s ethnic and religious communities are unified in support of such rights. 

The DFP is working with Pastor Evan Mawarire, #ThisFlag/Zimbabwe, to create a curriculum to support young pastors in Southern Africa who want to link the social mission of The Bible to the needs of their pastoral community. Once developed, the DFP will work to create the infrastructure necessary to support the first cohort, followed by a research project to assess its success and long-term impact.

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The DFP is working with Srdja Popovic to research the Oslo Freedom Fellows (OFF) a program that brings together 10 emergent international democratic advocates for an intensive year of training in nonviolent strategies. This research aims to determine whether there are common skills and conceptual frameworks that expand the success rate democratic advocates, building on prior research that suggests human resources are the single greatest determinant of a nonviolent democratic movement’s success. Results will also be used to strengthen the OFF program. 

Phillipines Rural Democracy Project

The DFP is working with Jemhra Garcia to support an ethnographic research project focused on how select rural fishing villages in the Philippines conceive of democratic political processes based upon the terminology of their local dialects and traditions.  This research is connected to a campaign to strengthen democratic participation by these communities in the face of an expanding authoritarian government.  

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The DFP is working with Jhanisse Vaca-Daza, one of the founders of Rios de Pie which advocates for the protection of the Bolivian rainforest. This project has two components. First, Professor Chris Carter is working with Vaca-Daza to create a research plan to understand how Rios de Pie melded nonviolent strategies to regional conceptions of democracy in order to create one of the first nationwide environmental rights movements in Bolivia, cultivating solidarity across regional and identarian divides. Second, in support of Rios de Pie efforts to highlight the destruction caused by intentionally set forest fires destroying the Bolivian rainforest to create more farmland, the DFP is providing data on the hectares of rain forest being destroyed.  

South Sudan and Sudanese Artists Role in Influencing Democratic Processes

The DFP is working with Manessah Mathiang, The Hagiga Project, to document how music has been used by non-violent advocates to support democratic movements in Sudan/South Sudan. This work will involve an extensive ethnographic project focused on the musicians, poets, writers, and artists who have been active in movements, such as Antaban, which have expanded democratic rights for the Sudanese. 

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Together with Bassam Alahmad, the DFP is conducting research on Kurdish conceptions of democratic practices to support reconciliation projects in northern Syria. Within Syria, research is also being conducted on whether the rhetorical frame of “environmental standards” might provide leverage to introduce human rights discourse into the rebuilding of the country as well as an additional project to explore how religious and community traditions might offer legal protection to women suffering domestic violence. 

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