Matt Meyer

Senior Research Scholar

Matt Meyer

Matt Meyer is an internationally recognized author, academic, organizer, and educator who was recently elected Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA). He also serves as National Co-chair of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the oldest interfaith peace and justice group in US history. As former National Chair of the War Resisters League, he is second only to A.J. Muste— “dean of the US peace movement” —in having been elected to the top position of both historic organizations. Based in New York City, Meyer is a true internationalist, and has led seminars, trainings, and conferences in over sixty countries on five continents; he is the United Nations representative for IPRA, and the Africa Support Network Coordinator for War Resisters' International. Meyer also Chairs the International Fellowship of Reconciliation Financial Advisory Committee.  

Argentine Nobel Peace laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who wrote the Introduction to Meyer’s encyclopedic anthology Let Freedom Ring (2008) on contemporary movements to free political prisoners, noted that “Meyer is a coalition-builder,” one who “provides tools for today’s activists” in his writings and his work.  

For over thirty years, Meyer worked to build alternative education structures within the New York City Department of Education. Originally a high school-based historian, his tenure included service as graduate-level Teacher Trainer, as the Multicultural Coordinator under three Superintendents, as the Union Leader of a local section of the United Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, and as an early supporter and staff person at the Harvey Milk School, the first “safe space” institution of its kind—providing education for youth who were harassed based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or self-definition. In addition, Meyer serves as a Board member of the AJ Muste Memorial Institute, and is well-known for his writing, which appears in twenty books and countless journals, magazines, and on-line news sites. He is a frequent contributor to Waging Nonviolence, as well as the peer-reviewed journals TikkunScience and SocietyCapitalism Nature SocialismPeace Review, and the Journal of Peace Education. Meyer also serves on the Editorial Board of the peer-reviewed Peace and Change, co-published by the Peace History Society and the Peace and Justice Studies Association, of which he was founding co-chairperson.

On the grassroots level, Meyer is part of the local collective Resistance in Brooklyn (RnB!), working on issues of Puerto Rican solidarity, dismantling the prison and military industrial complexes, and community-building; that work is spotlighted and detailed in Accountability and White Anti-Racist Organizing (2010). He is contributor to and co-editor with dequi kioni-sadiki of Look for Me in the Whirlwind: From the Panther 21 to 21st Century Revolutions (2017), which Publisher’s Weekly gave a starred review. Along with Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez and Mandy Carter, Meyer co-edited and wrote We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America (2012), which Maya Angelou noted was “so needed” for its “investigation of the moral issues of our time.” With co-editor Elavie Ndura, he coordinated the two-volume Africa World Press mini-series Seeds of New Hope (2008) and Seeds Bearing Fruit (2010). In cooperation with the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal’s Centre for Civil Society, Meyer is currently working on a follow-up to his Time is Tight: Urgent Tasks for Educational Transformation: Eritrea, South Africa, and the US (2006).

In the Foreword of Meyer’s first book, Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan African Insights on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle and Liberation (2000, co-authored with Bill Sutherland), Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote that Sutherland and Meyer “have looked beyond the short-term strategies and tactics which too often divide progressive peoples…They have begun to develop a language which looks at the roots of our humanness.” In 2018, Meyer was appointed Senior Research Scholar of the University of Massachusetts/Amherst Resistance Studies Initiative.

6 ways to stay focused on movement-building amid the post-election chaos
by Matt Meyer November 13, 2020 in Waging Nonviolence

Puerto Rico’s crisis isn’t natural disasters — it’s colonialism
 A recounting of their longstanding connections to Puerto Rico and what they have learned from its peoples’ ongoing struggle for liberation. 
by Matt Meyer and son Michael Meyer-Starr  May 27, 2020 in Waging Nonviolence

150 years after Gandhi’s birth, authoritarianism in India must be met with resistance
As we celebrate Gandhi's legacy, we must also stand in solidarity against ongoing repression in Kashmir and Manipur.
by Matt Meyer and Binalakshmi Nepram  December 1, 2019 in Waging Nonviolence

Western Sahara Calls for Independence in Historic Symbolic Referendum
by Matt Meyer  March  12, 2018 in Waging Nonviolence