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Nonviolence International in Ukraine

Why are we focusing on our Ukraine partners? Although there are several conflicts that have made the headlines recently, Ukraine has not been one of them. Our partner Nonviolence International (NI) office in Ukraine has done excellent work regarding nonviolent peacebuilding that can be reproduced as platforms for peacebuilding in other conflicts. Nonviolence International’s goal is to provide nonviolent solutions to violent and oppressive situations. Nonviolence International also has multiple global affiliates in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia [1]. Contribution to peacebuilding is our main goal throughout all of our offices. Peacebuilding is a developed practice that stresses the importance of ending violence by peacefully reducing the root causes of conflict and further involves multiple activities to achieve sustainable peace within social structures [2]. The NI Ukraine office is particularly impactful because they are located directly within the area that their peacebuilding is affecting.

The Beginnings of the NI Ukraine Office

The director of the Ukraine office is Andre Kamenshikov. He has had 26 years of experience in civil peacebuilding efforts in post-Soviet conflicts [3]. The Ukraine office has been successfully working to improve civil society peacebuilding efforts in Ukraine. Kamenshikov has been working primarily with the local civil society sector on enhancing its capacities to contribute to peace and the democratic development of the country [4].

Andre Kamenshikov visiting Nonviolence International New York [2].

Andre Kamenshikov visiting Nonviolence International New York [2].

He has written a book and an overview, two out of many publications, that are focused on collaboration between civil societies to progress peacebuilding [5]:

  1. International experience of civilian peacebuilding in the post-Soviet space(Kharkiv, Ukraine: 2016)

  2. “Strategic framework for the development of civil peacebuilding activities in Ukraine” (Kyiv, Ukraine: 2017)

Kamenshikov’s key work with civil society is crucial to peacebuilding because civil society is trusted more than government institutions and the church in the Ukraine [6]. Due to this fact, many civil society groups are currently trying to find their own resolutions for the conflict. NI Ukraine calls on civil society to “re-assess their true role and potential impact, and to design strategies that will maximize the return” [7]. NI directly mediates civil society groups through 1) surveying, persuading, and coordinating them to work together instead of competing for funds and media attention and 2) developing a strategic plan that supports peacebuilding with some level of support from relevant government institutions and international organizations [8]. Aside from fostering collaboration between civil society groups, the Ukraine office also promotes peacebuilding.


NI Ukraine’s key methods for achieving peacebuilding, outside of the civil society goals, encompass civil activities to start bringing down barriers and to bridge the fault lines of Ukrainian society such as [9]:

  • Education

  • and Dialogue

It is crucial to note that these goals fall directly in line with the United Nation’s idea of a culture of peace. Dr. David Adams, the coordinator of the Culture of Peace Network and retired director of the Unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace from UNESCO, defines culture of peace as

“an integral approach to preventing violence and violent conflicts, and an alternative to the culture of war and violence based on education for peace, the promotion of sustainable economic and social development, respect for human rights, equality between women and men, democratic participation, tolerance, the free flow of information and disarmament” [10 and 11].

The implementation of the culture of peace is essential not only in non-conflict zones, but during the peacebuilding work occurring within conflict zones. If peacebuilding work does not maintain, guide, and lay the basis for a culture of peace, then the probability of reaching a sustainable nonviolent society is lowered exponentially. For example, 57% of countries after having resolved civil wars still experienced conflict in the years following [12].

Ukrainians rally for peace.

NI Ukraine not only promotes the culture of peace through the peacebuilding methods that they use, but they are also directly in accordance with UN Resolution 53/243 adopted in 1999 by the General Assembly [13]. The Declaration on a Culture of Peace calls for civil society to “be guided in their activity by its provisions to promote and strengthen a culture of peace in the new millennium” [14]. Their peacebuilding methods are fostering a culture of peace in a nonviolent way. NI Ukraine is increasing the “respect for life” by “promot[ing] and practic[ing] non-violence through education, dialogue and cooperation” as well as by adhering to key principles of “freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, [and] cultural diversity” to bridge fault lines in Ukrainian society [15]. NI Ukraine is working and supporting the Ukrainian Peace-building School as they train local activists and analyze the effects of local civil projects [16].

Current Projects

NI Ukraine’s work in diffusing the violent conflict has been successful because they focus on effectively transforming the conflict by supporting local peacebuilding actions as opposed to encroaching on a society, when they do not reflect the needs of the local community. In August 2018, the NI Ukraine office will be running the Ukrainian Peace Tour. The Peace Tour will align members of the tour with local activists, peacebuilding NGOs, and internally displaced people [17]. During Skype meetings, Kamenshikov has stressed the absolute importance of including communication with locals and communities during the Peace Tour. His reoccurring emphases on locals, community building, and communication show how the NI Ukraine office is correctly implementing the culture of peace program within the local society. They are being mediators for nonviolent peacebuilding by steering the local work towards the culture of peace. Andre Kamenshikov is also planning to further open international dialogue through a speaking tour in October 2018 in the United States and Canada [18].

Right now you can support the Ukraine office by participating in and learning more about the Ukraine Projects for this summer and fall.


[1] “Ukraine,” Nonviolence International, accessed June 21, 2018,

[2] “Selected Definitions of Peacebuilding,” Alliance for Peacebuilding, August 12, 2013,

[3] “North America Speaking Tour,” Nonviolence NY, last modified June 2018,

[4] “North America Speaking Tour.”

[5] “North America Speaking Tour.”

[6] “Ukraine.”

[7] “Ukraine.”

[8] “Ukraine.”

[9] “Ukraine.”

[10] “David Adams,” last modified February 4, 2018,

[11] David Adams, “Definition of Culture of Peace,” last modified December 2005,

[12] Barbara F. Walter, “Conflict Relapse and the Sustainability of Post-Conflict Peace,” World Development Report 2011, September 13, 2010,

[13] “Resolution adopted by the General Assembly: 53/243 A. Declaration on a Culture of Peace,” September 13, 1999,

[14] “Resolution adopted by the General Assembly: 53/243 A. Declaration on a Culture of Peace.”

[15] “Resolution adopted by the General Assembly: 53/243 A. Declaration on a Culture of Peace.”

[16] “Ukraine.”

[17] “Ukraine Peace Tour,” Nonviolence NY, last modified June 2018,

[18] “North America Speaking Tour.”

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