In 1994 the South African regime transformed from a racially based oppressive one to a democratically elected inclusive government. Described as a miracle, it was built on challenging negotiations among the various interest groups. This was nonviolence in action largely driven by the African National Congress and its formidable leadership, led by Nelson Mandela.
The African National Congress was established in 1912 by leaders such as Dr John Dube and others, advocating nonviolence as the dominant strategy to bring about change in the country of their birth. The ANC followed this path through its nonviolent mass action in the country and through the anti-apartheid movement set up internationally.
Civil society in many countries of the world has begun to organise for effective change through nonviolent action. Many who resorted to violent actions have laid down their weapons and are opting for nonviolence. Religious communities have reiterated the compassion, peace, equity, respect and love message of their scriptures. As the miseries caused by environmental problems begin to dominate the lives of people throughout the world, hope is now built on the philosophy and action based on nonviolence. The legacy of nonviolence established by Gandhi, King, and Luthuli is now more relevant than ever.
This conference aims to address these issues by building on that legacy internationally.