The 3.5% rule: Change has a magic number

How many people does it take to make real change? It might be fewer than you think.

Research shows that nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts. But those that engage over 3.5% of a population have never failed to create change.

Throughout history, ordinary people have achieved radical change by uniting against those in power. Ordinary people like you, ordinary people like us, ordinary people like those who come together for IFC every year.

We are delighted to welcome Erica Chenoweth – Harvard professor, author, and expert on political violence and its alternatives – to give the opening keynote at IFC 2023 with an insight into their compelling research into people power, which confirms that civil disobedience is not only the moral choice, but by far the most powerful way to shape global politics.

Want to see what’s in store? Watch Erica’s TEDxBoulder talk:


Erica Chenoweth
Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment & Academic Dean for Faculty Engagement, Harvard Kennedy School and Faculty Dean of Pforzheimer House, Harvard College