Maria J. Stephan

Guest Author

Maria J. Stephan (@MariaJStephan) focuses on the role of civil resistance and nonviolent movements in advancing human rights, democratic freedoms, and peace globally, bridging the academic, policy, and non-profit sectors. She is the Co-Lead and Chief Organizer for The Horizons Project, which works to build relationships and connections between the social justice, peacebuilding, and democracy communities in the United States, with the goal of strengthening collective efforts to address systemic injustices and build a truly inclusive and pluralistic democracy. She has served previously as an advisor to Freedom House and Humanity United. Stephan formerly directed the Program on Nonviolent Action at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Stephan 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 from 2009-2014; co-directed the Atlantic Council’s Future of Authoritarianism initiative; directed academic and policy engagement at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, and taught at Georgetown and American Universities. She received her PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is also on LinkedIn.


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