Maria J. Stephan

Co-author, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic
Logic of Nonviolent Conflict; co-editor,
Is Authoritarianism Staging a Comeback

Maria J. Stephan’s career has bridged the academic, policy, and non-profit sectors, with a focus on the role of civil resistance and nonviolent movements in advancing human rights, democratic freedoms, and sustainable peace globally. She is the co-author (with Erica Chenoweth) of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, which was awarded the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Prize by the American Political Science Association for the best book published in political science, and the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. She is the co-author of Bolstering Democracy: Lessons Learned and the Path Forward (Atlantic Council, 2018); the co-editor of Is Authoritarianism Staging a Comeback? (Atlantic Council, 2015); and the editor of Civilian Jihad: Nonviolent Struggle, Democratization and Governance in the Middle East (Palgrave, 2009). Stephan served in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (focus on Afghanistan and Syria) from 2009-14; she later co-directed the Future of Authoritarianism initiative at the Atlantic Council and was a senior policy fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace. She has taught at Georgetown and American Universities. Stephan, a native Vermonter, received her PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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