Fellow Since 2006
Instituto Sou da Paz
This profile was prepared when Denis Mizne was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
In 1997, Denis launched a campaign aimed at mobilizing Brazilian society around the issue of disarmament. Due to its rapid success, Denis founded the Instituto Sou da Paz in 1999 to mobilize youth, public schools, the police, and the public in an effort to make government policy more effective in addressing human rights and violence prevention. Denis believes effective violence prevention should combine the activities of law enforcement and justice agencies with specific grassroots efforts aimed at the populations these policies most affect. Consequently, he concentrates his efforts in the most violent regions of São Paulo. Denis focuses on youth and provides the means for them to become the principal actors in the construction and maintenance of their rights. He has further gained the cooperation of the police, the courts, and the prison system to integrate these programs with public policy. The Institute proposes new laws in the area of public security and then designs programs to implement and monitor these laws. By creating innovative methodologies and programs at all levels, the Institute intends to use widespread social mobilization to put pressure on the government to develop more effective policies that address public security concerns.