Organizing Institutions

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) focuses on how nonviolent action movements struggle effectively and succeed.

They develop and share knowledge and educational resources related to civil resistance with interested recipients throughout the world.

FLACSO Ecuador builds and disseminates knowledge in the field of social sciences and humanities through teaching along with critical and creative research.

They strive to contribute to the development of the diverse currents of Latin American and Andean thought, and to promote justice, equity, and social inclusion.

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) is an academic community that rigorously and critically contributes to the protection and development of human dignity and cultural heritage through research, teaching, and the various services offered to local, national and international communities

CEMPROC aims to reduce destructive conflict and promote global peace, with a special interest in education and prevention.

Organizing committee

• Dr. Cécile Mouly, Professor, FLACSO Ecuador

• Dr. Jeffrey Pugh, President, CEMPROC and Professor, UMass Boston and Johns Hopkins University SAIS

• Paola Lozada, MA, Professor, PUCE

• Dr. Mónica Maher, Professor, FLACSO Ecuador

• Omar Rodríguez, Director, CEMPROC Ecuador

• Pryanka Peñafiel, Program Coordinator, CEMPROC

• Dr. Hardy Merriman, President, ICNC


Hardy Merriman is President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). He has worked in the field of civil resistance for 16 years, presenting at workshops for activists and organizers around the world; speaking widely about civil resistance movements with academics, journalists, and members of international organizations; and developing resources for practitioners and scholars. His writings have been translated into numerous languages. In 2016 he was appointed an adjunct lecturer at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University).

Mr. Merriman has contributed to the books Is Authoritarianism Staging a Comeback? (2015), Civilian Jihad: Nonviolent Struggle, Democratization, and Governance in the Middle East (2010), and Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential. He has also written about the role of nonviolent action in countering terrorism and co-authored A Guide to Effective Nonviolent Struggle, a training curriculum for activists. For a full publication list, see here. He has worked with the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict since 2005, and prior to that with the Albert Einstein Institution from 2002.

In addition to his international work with activists, Mr. Merriman was a Senior Advisor to the 2017 James Lawson Institute, and previously served as the Institute’s Director in 2013 and 2014, organizing two eight-day intensive programs for North American organizers and activists. His work with academics and members of civil society includes presenting on diverse topics related to nonviolent civil resistance at venues such as the Cambridge University (UK), the Community of Democracies Secretariat (Poland), the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), Harvard University, Middlebury College, Monterey Institute for International Studies, Oberlin College, Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO), Stanford University, Swarthmore College, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), University of Sarajevo (Bosnia), University of Sydney (Australia), Wesleyan University, and many other venues. He is a graduate of Oberlin College.

Alfonso “Poncho” Hernández is an activist, popular educator, community cultural manager and documentary filmmaker, originally from Mexico City. He holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from UNAM, and a Master’s degree in Anthropological Sciences from UAM-I, where he is currently pursuing a doctorate in Anthropology. He has completed international diploma courses on the culture of peace and nonviolence in the Gujarath Vidyapith-India, the Summer Institute for the Study of Strategic Nonviolence, Tufts University-USA and in the ICNC training program called the Learning Initiatives Network. He has produced a documentary feature film entitled The Art of Peace and other videos about social struggles or violence in Mexico. He has published articles about violence and peacebuilding processes in Mexico.

As a trainer, he has coordinated and organized a large number of courses on the culture of peace and nonviolence, both in Mexico City, as well as in various parts of the country and abroad. He has been a speaker and facilitator in several international congresses and meetings for young people, as well as a workshop leader at a large number of events. Likewise, he has initiated the creation of a Latin American Network of Young Peacemakers, in association with various social organizations and universities.

He has founded several projects, which operate from the association that he currently runs, Global Unity Sumak Kausay, which operates various environmental, cultural, educational and community projects. These projects are based on participatory methodologies, through different methods of nonviolent action, civil disobedience and constructive program.

His specialty is in community work in areas of high violence in Mexico, prevention of violence in urban neighborhoods, workshops with youth gangs and artistic movements that intervene in these contexts.

Edwin Álvarez was born in La Ceiba, Honduras. Currently he is the vice-president of the Board of Directors of the Organization for Ethnic Community Development ODECO. This institution focuses on working with and for the Afro-Honduran population, fighting against racial discrimination, racism, inequality, and seeking to promote actions that lead to sustainable integral development with identity.

In his experience he has had the opportunity to collaborate with cooperation agencies and organizations as a consultant, directing work specifically with the Garífuna population in topics such as technologies, communications, human development, poverty and inequalities, human rights in general, community organization, integral education , gender, sexual and reproductive health, indigenous and Afro-descendant populations, development of human rights training programs for more than 8 years, evaluation and monitoring of projects and strategies of political advocacy, among others.

He participated in the Summer Institute of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflicts in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He also participates in the Local Learning Initiatives Network (LIN), through which he has developed training programs and materials on Organized Civil Resistance and Nonviolent Action.

He is the Director of the Training School of Afro-Descendant Leaders in Human Rights. He has been a social communicator, teacher and international consultant. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration, having graduated from the National Autonomous University of Honduras, and he also has two Masters and several specializations. Currently he is a doctoral candidate in Education

Cécile Mouly is a research professor at FLACSO Ecuador and a member of the Academic Council of ICNC. In FLACSO Ecuador she coordinates the research group on peace and conflict; she teaches postgraduate courses on peace and conflict studies, and human rights; and she conducts research on peacebuilding, civil resistance and the reintegration of former combatants to civilian life. She holds a Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Cambridge and has several academic publications on experiences of civil resistance in contexts of armed conflicts.

She has practical experience in the field of conflict transformation, peacebuilding and conflict prevention, as a former staff member and consultant of the United Nations, the OAS, The Carter Center and other organizations in various countries. She has facilitated training workshops on different topics related to peace and conflict.

Iria Puyosa is a researcher and consultant in political communication, digital strategies and civil society participation. She has ten years of consulting experience for political organizations, NGOs and international organizations, developing social media strategies and building digital communities. She led projects in election monitoring, natural disasters mapping, and digital rights monitoring in Venezuela. She took part in Internet Prioritaria, the first advocacy campaign for defending internet users´ rights from restrictive government policies in Latin America, and, also, the first Latin American social media campaign that was a worldwide trending topic in Twitter (2009).

She developed social media strategies for the Venezuelan College Faculty Federation. For several years, she taught workshops and seminars for social media campaigns with human rights focus to civil society organizations in Venezuela. In recent years, she has been active in internet governance forums advocating for online freedom of speech and presenting data-driven research on internet disruptions in Venezuela. Currently, Puyosa works with Huaira, an Ecuadorian organization focused on digital security, online freedom, and internet policies. Current research projects focus on civil resistance, networked social movements, and online propaganda. Experienced in postgraduate teaching at universities in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia, she has taught the subjects of ICTs & Political Processes, Media & Politics, Public Opinion & Social Media, Political Communication, Social Networks Analysis, Strategic Communication and Grassroots Mobilization.

She was the team leader in the NewsFrames Initiative at Global Voices. She holds a PhD from the University of Michigan, and also has graduate training in survey-based research (University of Michigan) and strategic communication (Universidad Catolica Andrés Bello).

María Belén Garrido is a lecturer at the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Quito, Ecuador and a Ph.D student at the Catholic University of Eichstaett/Ingolstadt. She holds a Master’s degree in Peace Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a mayor in International Relations. She has worked as a researcher at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Ecuador and published articles related with peace and conflict studies, with a particular focus on nonviolence. She has conducted trainings in peace education, nonviolent communication, mediation and conflict resolution.

Paola Lozada Lara has a master’s degree in international relations. She is Adjunct Professor in the Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE) where she teaches courses on negotiation and conflict resolution. She also gives classes in the Simón Bolivar Andean University on negotiation and fundraising. Her principal research focus revolves around peace studies and conflict resolution. In a similar vein, she has published refereed articles on national and international conflicts that involve nonviolence.