Kent State Alumna Teaches Nonviolent Strategy and Tactics in Bolivia

Kent State alumna Jhanisse Vaca Daza is a Bolivian who graduated from the select Honors College at Kent State University in 2016. Kent State’s vision statement is “to be a community of change agents whose collective commitment to learning sparks epic thinking, meaningful voice and invaluable outcomes to better our society.”

Jhanisse Vaca Daza is a nonviolent change agent who is doing just that in her native Bolivia!

Jhanisse is now heavily involved with the pro-democracy movement in Bolivia. Putting her academic training to use in the field to make a difference in people’s lives, Jhanisse is a giving workshops across Bolivia to a wide variety of groups on using nonviolent action to protect human rights and promote democracy. She is also writing about the nonviolent struggle to advance democracy in Bolivia.

Jhanisse Vaca Daza imageJhanisse majored in International Relations at Kent State. She also graduated with “university honors and with distinction,” finishing with an impressive grade point average of 3.79 out of 4. Daza’s Senior Honors Thesis was directed by Dr. Julie Mazzei, associate professor of political science, and it prepared Jhanisse well for the important work she is currently doing to advance human rights and democracy in Bolivia through nonviolent action. Jhanisse’s thesis was entitled: "Human Rights Violations to Indigenous People in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes in South America."

Jhanisse also studied with Dr. Patrick Coy, professor and interim director of the School of Peace and Conflict Studies at Kent State University. She took an Honors College course with Coy that included skills-development in conflict management. More important for the work that Jhanisse is now doing in the field in Bolivia, the course also included detailed examination of the dynamics of nonviolent action in a series of cases—including where local activists were nonviolently struggling to expand political space and protect human rights while promoting democratic principles.

Professor Coy has published widely on nonviolent action and for the past few months he has now been happily consulting with his former student by Skype and by email as she develops workshops on nonviolent strategies and tactics to be delivered in Bolivia. Her workshops are effectively tailored to address the specific needs of at least three different constituencies: the general public, political-intellectual elites and young people keen to be active in the political struggle in Bolivia but who don’t yet understand the power of nonviolent struggle and the necessity to remain nonviolent.

We here at the School of Peace and Conflict Studies are proud of Jhanisse Vaca Daza and the important work she is doing!