More than 70 peacemakers from across America and the world are gathering this week at the University of Rhode Island to engage in active experiential training for nonviolent conflict reconciliation to address violence in their home communities.

Among them are URI graduate students, Chicago high schoolers and teachers from Santa Fe, Texas, and Sandy Hook, Conn. Other participants include activists, scholars, and clergy from Indonesia, Haiti, Pakistan and more.

Men and women from 14 American states and 10 countries will attend the 19th annual International Nonviolence Summer Institute organized by URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies from June 4th – 15th.

The institute certifies participants as trainers in the principles and practices of nonviolent conflict reconciliation. The daylong classes are held at the Multicultural Student Services Center, 74 Lower College Road, on the Kingston campus. Evening programs are open to the public.

The training, based on Kingian nonviolence, has two levels. In Level l, participants study the nonviolent methods of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.. In Level II, participants study the leadership styles of King and other nonviolent leaders and explore how to organize and mobilize communities to peacefully resolve violence and social justice issues.

“A program like this one, grounded in Kingian philosophy, strategy and methodology for change is so important when domestic, gun, environmental, racial and so many types of violence seem to be rampant,” said Paul Bueno de Mesquita, center director and a URI psychology professor in a press release. “The training participants receive at URI has an impact that reaches far and wide and makes a big difference in areas of the world that need it most.”

Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr., a friend and confidant of King, will lead the Level II trainings. During the last conversation between the two, King affirmed to Lafayette that the next social movement needed to involve training and peace education. Since King’s assassination on April 4, 1968. The Center, originally founded under the leadership of Lafayette, has certified more than 600 people who have, in turn, trained thousands in conflict-stricken nations how to cope in peaceful, nonviolent ways.

In addition to Bueno de Mesquita and Lafayette, the other trainers are Kay Johnson Bueno de Mesquita, an education consultant for the Center; Gail Faris, former assistant director at the URI Women’s Center; Thupten Tendhar, a graduate administrative assistant at the center; and Kazu Haga, founder of East Point Peace Academy in Oakland, Calif.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.