Howard Clark. Credit: International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. All rights reserved.On 29 November 2013 I and my colleagues from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict learnt about Howard Clark’s passing. He left us much too early and too suddenly. And we lost not only a close, dear friend that could cheer and energize people around him but also an effective collaborator and a scholar-practitioner with a deep knowledge about and a sophisticated understanding of the field of nonviolent conflict.
Over many years, we have worked with Howard on various educational and research projects. I found in him an attentive listener and a person who was always available to help. Winning his sympathy was easy for everyone but it did not harm that I was a Pole. Howard held particularly fond memories of his travels to Poland in the 1980s, and his work with the Polish civil resisters from the group Wolnosc i Pokoj.
In the past four years Howard contributed enthusiastically to our academic seminars on civil resistance that ICNC organized for academics and students. Howard joined us in a tireless endeavor to share knowledge and educate others, including at the academic meeting in Collegium Civitas in Poland, at the curriculum support workshop in Istanbul, educational seminar with the Palestinian activists and scholars in Ramallah, West Bank, a high-level policy conference at Wilton Park, UK and at the academic seminars held at the Euro- Mediterranean University in Slovenia and Central European University in Budapest.
Working with Howard was always a great pleasure and inspiration. After one of the seminars in 2010 I sat down with him to discuss my idea for a new book that would uncover forgotten histories of civil resistance during the struggles for national liberation. Howard, who wrote a major study on civil resistance in Kosovo, quickly recognized the value that the new volume would bring to the field. In the next two years he worked unwaveringly and patiently with me and other authors to bring to fruition the work that people can now enjoy reading: Recovering Nonviolent History: Civil Resistance in Liberation Struggles published last year.
In the ‘Acknowledgements’ of this book one will read the following: “the person who has been instrumental in the development of the book, and whose editing skills and historical insights have been invaluable, is Howard Clark. Many times over, Howard played the indispensable role of mentor and ghost editor.” Indeed, he was a great mentor to me and many others.
To honour his memory we have compiled the audio and video footage of Howard’s talks that we captured during our academic seminars with his participation. We are making them available for public viewing in the hope that they will always remind us of the prodigious mind and warm colleague he was to all of us.