The Program on Nonviolent Sanctions and Cultural Survival is a research program within the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. The nonviolent sanctions component of the Program evolved from the pioneering work of former Weatherhead Center Associate Gene Sharp, who articulated a seemingly simple premise about the nature of political power - that it is rooted in and continually dependent upon cooperation and obedience, and that this cooperation and obedience can be withdrawn. Since January1995 the Program has been directed by Professor of Anthropology David Maybury-Lewis. The Program under his direction formally links two complementary strands of Harvard-based research, each spanning nearly three decades.
In 1972, Professor Maybury-Lewis founded Cultural Survival, a human rights organization which focuses on the situation of ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples worldwide. The Cultural Survival Center, the formal research wing of Cultural Survival, and the former Program on Nonviolent Sanctions were formally merged in January 1995 to consider the problems of dictatorship, war, terrorism, genocide, and oppression in the complex context of cultures and events that form the backdrop of many ongoing conflicts. The combined Program, therefore, is ideally situated and organized to address nonviolent alternatives for the preservation of all peoples and their cultures.
As of July 1, 2005, the Program on Nonviolent Sanctions and Cultural Survival has closed.