Application Information

In the 1960s, the Reverend James Lawson organized and led one of the most effective campaigns of nonviolent civil resistance in the 20th century: the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins for the US Civil Rights Movement. In the years that followed he was involved in strategic planning of numerous other major campaigns and actions and was called “the mind of the movement” and “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The US Civil Rights movement, the US Labor movement in the 1930s, the women’s suffrage movement, the anti-nuclear movement, and other movements in North America and abroad in the decades since did not just engage in activism. They organized people, mobilized them by the millions, and galvanized participation from a broad cross section of society. Collectively, these movements provide a model for how nonviolent change can be organized to win rights, justice and change in very adverse conditions.

Who Should Apply: North American organizers and activists who are working to organize within the United States or Canada across issues.

Over four days in October, participants will be reacquainted with the basics of organizing and the particulars of waging a successful campaign. As a result of the James Lawson Institute, participants will grapple with five core concepts of organizing nonviolent civil resistance campaigns.

  1. Fundamentals of Nonviolent Power
  2. Building Campaigns, Movements, and Alliances
  3. Fundamental Strategy, Tactics, and Methods
  4. Community Resilience and Enabling Success
  5. Using Language to Express Foundations of Democracy


You can stay up to date with all the news on the James Lawson Institute on our Facebook page, Instagram account and Twitter feed. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions section for answers commonly asked questions. If you have any other questions, or would like to request a paper application, please send an email to .

When: October 26-29, 2017
Where: Location will only be released to accepted participants for privacy and security purposes.

Registration fees for participants are as follows:

$300– Individuals employed by media, commercial or government organizations
$200 – Individuals with large nonprofit organizations and foundations
$100 – Individuals with local nonprofit and educational organizations
$50 – Organizers, activists and individuals not institutionally affiliated

*Scholarships Are Available (See Scholarship Instructions in the FAQ section:

The JLI registration fee is the only charge requested. All meals, and learning materials for the entire course are paid . In addition to the JLI registration fee, participants or their sponsoring organizations are expected to cover their own travel expenses to and from Los Angeles,CA.  However, if an applicant or sponsoring organization cannot afford to pay for travel and/or registration costs, need-based scholarships are available and can be applied for in your JLI application.




We’d like to thank our partners the International Center on Nonviolent Content and the Liberty Hill Foundation.