Srđa Popović is a Serbian political activist, teacher, author and environmentalist who was the co-founder and leader of the student movement, Otpor!(Resistance!), which helped to overthrow the country’s dictator, Slobodan Milošević in 2000. After serving for several years as a member of the National Assembly of Serbia, Popović went on to established the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS). CANVAS is a non-profit that specializes in educating groups around the world on techniques and nonviolent means to be used in achieving freedom, democracy and human rights. Srđa was influential on the “Arab Spring” helping to educate activists for social change in the Middle East. Due to his efforts he was honored with a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2012. Popović has been named one of Wired’s “50 people who will change the world” and Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers”. In February 2016, Popović, along with CANVAS, were awarded the Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University.
Illustration by Anne Di Lillo
Otpor! rallied its supporters with a symbol of a black and white clenched fist. Prominently displayed during protests, performances, and street art around the country, the simple drawing was easily replicated and memorable. Since starting CANVAS, one of the points Popovic stresses is the importance of a public graphic icon. Other resistance groups around the world have co-opted the symbol for their own movements, most prominently during the Arab Spring.
Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic