No matter how big they are, protests alone do not create political change. They must be nurtured into something more enduring: a movement. Movements are neither protests nor organizations.

Ivan Marovic cut his teeth as a student activist in Serbia in the 1990s and as a leader of the Optor movement that brought down Slobodan Milosevic. Since then, he has worked with dissidents and movements all over the world. In this episode of “Transnational Trends in Citizenship”—the new season of Order from Ashes—Marovic talks about the importance of skill-building for movements.

Unlike many other factors that affect movements, skill-building is something that can be controlled. The skills of organizing, communicating, strategic planning, and tactical innovation must be nurtured at the grassroots level. This is all the more crucial in authoritarian settings where crackdowns seek to break any civil society networks and may seek to eliminate leadership. Marovic emphasizes the importance for movements of learning, self-reflection, and time spent together.

This podcast is part of “Transnational Trends in Citizenship: Authoritarianism and the Emerging Global Culture of Resistance,” a TCF project supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Open Society Foundations.


  • Ivan Marovic, director of field education, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict in Washington, DC
  • Naira Antoun, director, Transnational Trends in Citizenship, Century International