Cyril Foster Lecture 2024: On the Declining Success of Civil Resistance

Professor Erica Chenoweth
Event date
Event time
17:00 - 18:30
Examination Schools
75 - 81 High Street
Venue details

South School

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required

Over the past 50 years, the Cyril Foster Lecture series has delivered engaging lectures from some of the world's most influential policymakers and academics. This year's lecture will be given by Professor Erica Chenoweth, a leading expert on mass movements, nonviolent resistance, terrorism, political violence, revolutions, and state repression. The lecture will be introduced by Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sir Michael Jacobs, and chaired by Cyril Foster Lecture Chair, Professor Neta Crawford.

Professor Erica Chenoweth will explore the puzzling decline in the success of civil resistance movements in the past decade, even as unarmed movements have become more popular worldwide. The findings have implications for the future of nonviolent alternatives to armed struggle, as well as to the ability of pro-democratic movements to defeat authoritarian challenges.

Erica Chenoweth is the Academic Dean for Faculty Engagement and the Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard Kennedy School, Faculty Dean at Pforzheimer House at Harvard College, and a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. They study political violence and its alternatives. At Harvard, Chenoweth directs the Nonviolent Action Lab, an innovation hub that provides empirical evidence in support of movement-led political transformation.

Event Schedule

  • 4:30pm - 4:55pm: Registration
  • 5pm prompt: The Cyril Foster Lecture 2024 will start:
  • Opening remarks from Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sir Michael Jacobs
  • Introduction to Professor Erica Chenoweth by Professor Neta Crawford
  • Cyril Foster Lecture 2024: 'On the Declining Success of Civil Resistance' by Professor Erica Chenoweth
  • Q&A, chaired by Professor Neta Crawford
  • Closing remarks by Head of Department of Politics and International Relations, Professor Petra Schleiter
  • 6 :30pm - 7:30pm: Drinks Reception

About the Cyril Foster Lecture Series

This lecture series is the legacy of Cyril A Foster. We know very little about him. Mr Foster owned several small sweet shops in and around London and lived alone in Essex. On his death, he left a bequest to the University, asking us to create an annual lecture series on the ‘elimination of war and the better understanding of the nations of the world’. This wish is particularly unusual, as he had no previous connection to the University. His kind and generous gift continues to promote international cooperation.

Previous speakers include prominent figures from the world of politics and policy, from prime ministers and foreign ministers, to secretary-generals of the United Nations and heads of major international organisations, as well as prominent academics.

See the full list of past lectures.