What We Do
The core of CANVAS’s work is rather to spread the word of “people power” to the world than to achieve victories against one dictator or another. Our next big mission should obviously be to explain to the world what a powerful tool nonviolent struggle is when it comes to achieving freedom, democracy and human rights.
Who we are
Headquartered in Belgrade, CANVAS is run by Slobodan Djinovic and Srdja Popovic. It operates a network of international trainers and consultants with experience of successful democratic movements. CANVAS is a non-profit institution which relies solely on private funding; there is no charge for workshops and revolutionary know-how can be downloaded for free on the Internet.
CANVAS was founded in 2003 by Srdja Popovic and Slobodan Dinovic as an organization that advocates for the use of nonviolent resistance to promote human rights and democracy. Since then, CANVAS has worked with pro-democracy activists from more than 50 countries, including Iran, Zimbabwe, Burma, Venezuela, Ukraine, Georgia, Palestine, Western Sahara, West Papua, Eritrea, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Tonga, Tunisia and Egypt. CANVAS works only in response to requests for assistance and offers free trainings to activists.
CANVAS disseminates its knowledge through a variety of media, including workshops, books, DVDs and specialized courses. Members regularly teach and present an academic version of their Core Curriculum, and hold workshops on strategy and organization of nonviolent struggle at variety of educational institutions worldwide, including at Harvard (Kennedy School Of Law), the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (TUFTS, Boston, MA), Johns Hopkins (SAIS), Columbia University, Rutgers (NJ), Colorado College (CO), and Georgetown University (DC).
In 2006, Popovic and two other CANVAS members – Slobodan Dinovic and Andrej Milivojevic – authored a book called Nonviolent Struggle: 50 Crucial Points, a how-to guide for nonviolent struggle. Srdja Popovic and CANVAS won several awards, including the Paul Lauitzen Award for Human Rights (November 2010) and the Jean Mayers Award by Tufts University (February 2016).
Slobodan Djinovic became one of the co-founders of the Serbian resistance movement OTPOR! while he was a student at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Belgrade in 1998. OTPOR! went on to topple Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic through a mass nonviolent campaign. Subsequently, Slobodan went on to found one of the first internet companies in Serbia, and currently serves as CEO of Orion Telecom. He also serves as co-founder and Chairman of CANVAS, the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies, an educational organization that trains activists from around the world in the strategies and tactics on nonviolent struggle. He has co-authored two CANVAS publications: Nonviolent Struggle: 50 Crucial Points and The CANVAS Core Curriculum. Slobodan also has a certificate from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Srdja Popovic was one of the founders of the Serbian nonviolent resistance group Otpor! Otpor!’s campaign against Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was successful in October 2000 when thousands of protesters took over the Serbian Parliament. After the revolution, Popovic served a term as a member of the Serbian National Assembly. In 2003, Popovic and others started the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS). CANVAS has worked with activists from 46 different countries, including Zimbabwe, Burma, Iran, and Venezuela, spreading knowledge of the nonviolent strategies and tactics used by Otpor! In November 2011, Foreign Policy Magazine listed Srdja Popovic as one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” of 2011 for inspiring the Arab Spring protesters. In 2012 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2014 he was listed as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Srdja is also the author of the recent book Blueprint for Revolution, a fun and humorous look at nonviolent activism worldwide.”