Srdja Popovic is a founding member of Otpor!, the Serbian civic youth movement that played a pivotal role in the ousting of Slobodan Milosevic. He is a prominent nonviolent expert and the leader of CANVAS, a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with nonviolent democratic movements around the world. CANVAS works with citizens from more than 30 countries, sharing nonviolent strategies and tactics that were used by Otpor!.
A native of Belgrade, Popovic has promoted the principles and strategies of nonviolence as tools for building democracy since helping to found the Otpor! movement . Otpor! began in 1998 as a university-based organization; after only two years, it quickly grew into a national movement, attracting more than 70,000 supporters. A student of nonviolent strategy, Popovic translated several works on the subject, such as the books of American scholar Gene Sharp, for distribution. He also drafted speeches and wrote manuals to train Otpor! activists in nonviolent action.
After the overthrow of Milosevic, Popovic served in the Serbian National Assembly from 2000 to 2003. He served as an environmental affairs advisor to the prime minister. He left the parliament in 2003 to found CANVAS. The organization has worked with people in 46 countries to transfer knowledge of effective nonviolent tactics and strategies. It has aided numerous movements around the world, such as the Georgian “Rose Revolution" in 2003, and the April 6th movement in Egypt. CANVAS also produced a handbook for activists, “Nonviolent Struggle: 50 Crucial Points,” which is available in six languages, including Arabic and Farsi, and has been downloaded more than 20,000 times.
Popovic appears in two award-winning documentaries, “Bringing Down a Dictator” and “How to Start a Revolution.” In 2011, Foreign Policy named Popovic one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In 2012, Wired included him on its Smart List of “50 people who will change the world."