Application Information

Application Information

In the early 1960s, the Reverend James Lawson guided the community work of one of the most effective campaigns of nonviolent civil resistance in the 20th century: the Nashville Movement within 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 women’s suffrage movement, the US Civil Rights movement, the US labor movement in the 1930s, the anti-nuclear movement, and other nonviolent mobilizations 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, secure justice, and achieve political and social change that could not be acquired through the standard institutions of politics.

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

Over five days in April, participants will be reacquainted with the basics of organizing and the particulars of waging an effective campaign of nonviolent direct action. As a result of the James Lawson Institute, participants will grapple with six core concepts of organizing nonviolent civil resistance campaigns.

  1. Understanding the Importance of History, Theory, and Practice in Nonviolent Action
  2. Civil resistance basics of strategy, tactics, and methods
  3. Women in U.S. nonviolent struggles, across the world, and over the ages
  4. How and why the U.S. freedom movement inspired and informed other campaigns worldwide and throughout decades
  5. Communications and using language in liberation strategies
  6. Inoculating against violent flanks: Nonviolent discipline and messaging
  7. “Where do we go from here?”



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 to commonly asked questions. If you have any other questions, or would like to request a paper application, please send an email to

When: August 10-14, 2022
Where: Nashville, TN

Registration fees for participants are listed in the application.

*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 Portland, OR.  However, if an applicant or sponsoring organization cannot afford to pay for registration costs, need-based scholarships are available and can be applied for in your JLI application.





We would also like to acknowledge and thank our 501c3 sponsor the Liberty Hill Foundation, our advisory partner the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, and our financial contributors the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Stewart Mott Foundation.