WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

Resisting War: How Communities Protect Themselves Using Non-Violent Strategies in Colombia 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, 20 November 2019
1666 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20009

(AP Photo/Carlos Julio Martinez)

In civil conflicts around the world, unarmed civilians take enormous risks to protect themselves and confront heavily armed combatants. This is not just counterintuitive – it is extraordinary.

In his book Resisting War: How Communities Protect ThemselvesOliver Kaplan explores cases from Colombia, with extensions to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and the Philippines, to show how local social organization and cohesion enable both covert and overt nonviolent strategies, including avoidance, cultures of peace, dispute resolution, deception, protest, and negotiation. These “autonomy” strategies help civilians retain their agency and avoid becoming helpless victims by limiting the inroads of armed groups.

Join us for a talk with Oliver Kaplan to learn more about the autonomous protection mechanisms employed by communities in the context of the past and present internal armed conflict in Colombia.

Event Details:

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Washington Office on Latin America, WOLA

1666 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20009



Oliver Kaplan is an Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He is the author of the book, “Resisting War: How Communities Protect Themselves”, which examines how civilian communities organize to protect themselves from wartime violence. As part of his research Kaplan has conducted fieldwork in Colombia and the Philippines. He was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Kaplan received his Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and completed his B.A. at UC San Diego.


Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli
Director for the Andes, Washington Office on Latin America, WOLA