Maria J. Stephan

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Dr. Maria J. Stephan is currently "a strategic planner with the U.S. Department of State, currently serving at the U.S. Embassy, Kabul." [1]

She "received her PhD from The Fletcher School in 2005 specializing in International Security Studies, International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, and International Human Rights. Her dissertation focused on the role of civilian-based resistance (nonviolent conflict) in the Palestinian, East Timorese, and Kosovo Albanian self-determination movements. She received both Harry S. Truman and William J. Fulbright fellowships and was selected to participate in the 2004 Academy of Achievement Summit.

"Dr. Stephan worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for European/NATO policy at the U.S. Department of Defense and with the international staff at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. She has also worked with civil society organizations in Sri Lanka, Russia, and Israel-Palestine. Maria was a fellow in the International Security Program and Program on Intra-State Conflict at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from 2003-2005."

She spent two years as "a Fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government." [2]

Subsequently she was Director of Educational Initiatives and then Senior Director, Policy & Research, at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, which she left in 2009.

In November 2006 she gave a talk called "Civilian-Based Resistance in the Middle East: A Strategy Between Talk and Terror" that was "Sponsored by the Organization for International Development". [3]

Writing for the Palestine Chronicle in October 2007, Ben White notes that:

"In a recent article on the openDemocracy website, the rewritten Palestinian Authority policy document that replaced "muqawama" (resistance) with "popular struggle" was hailed as having "the potential to dramatically transform a conflict whose just resolution has continually eluded diplomats and militants." The writer Maria Stephan may be admired for her optimism about the possibility of large-scale mobilization in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) for a program of nonviolent resistance, but there is a twofold failure of contextualization that compromises her analysis." (For further details see full article.) [4]

Selected Articles


  • Sherif Mansour and Maria Stephan, eds., Civilian Resistance in the Middle East, Routledge [forthcoming]
  • Maria Stephan, (ed.) Civilian Jihad: Nonviolent Struggle, Democratization, and Governance in the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, December 2009). "Part 1 Overview * 1 Theory and Dynamics of Nonviolent Action--Hardy Merriman * 2 Questions and Controversies about Nonviolent Struggle in the Middle East--Ralph E. Crow and Philip Grant * 3 No Silence, No Violence: A Post-Islamist Trajectory--Asef Bayat * 4 Humor and Resistance in the Arab World and Greater Middle East--Khalid Kishtainy * 5 Islamist and Nonviolent Action--Shadi Hamid * 6 Free at Last! Free at Last! Allahu Akbar, We Are Free at Last! Parallels between Modern Arab and Islamic Activism and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement--Rami G. Khouri * 7 External Actors and Nonviolent Struggles in the Middle East--Stephen Zunes and Saad Eddin Ibrahim * Part 2 Case Studies: Challenging Foreign Occupation and Domination * 8 The Muslim Pashtun Movement of the North-West Frontier of India, 1930–1934--Mohammad Raqib * 9 Noncooperation in the Golan Heights: A Case of Nonviolent Resistance--R. Scott Kennedy * 10 Palestinian Popular Resistance against Israeli Military Occupation--Mary E. King * 11 The Nonviolent Struggle for Self-Determination in the Western Sahara--Salka Barca and Stephen Zunes * 12 Lebanon’s Independence Intifada: How Unarmed Insurrection Expelled Syrian Forces * Rudy Jaafar and Maria J. Stephan * Challenging Domestic Tyranny and Promoting Democratic Reform * 13 Iran's Islamic Revolution and Nonviolent Struggle--Mohsen Sazegara and Maria Stephan * 14 Kefaya: The Egyptian Movement for Change--Sherif Mansour * 15 Kuwaiti 2005 “Orange Movement”--Faisal Alfahad and Hamad Albloshi * Movements for Social and Political Rights * 16 Hizbullah: Delimiting the Boundaries of Nonviolent Resistance?--Rola el-Husseini * 17 Realistic Nonviolence: Arba Imahot, The Four Mothers Movement in Israel--Tamar Hermann * 18 Popular Resistance against Corruption in Turkey and Egypt--Shaazka Beyerle and Arwa Hassan * 19 The Iranian Women’s Movement: Repression versus Nonviolent Resolve--Fariba Davoudi Mohajer and Roya Tolouee, Shaazkaa Beyerle * Conclusion: Civil Resistance--Wave of the Future in the Middle East?" [1]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict,, accessed March 17, 2011.
  2. Maria J. Stephan, Academy of Acheivement, accessed March 8, 2008.
  3. November 2006, George Washington University, accessed March 8, 2008.
  4. Ben White, "Nonviolent Resistance a Means, Not the End", Palestine Chronicle, October 13, 2007.

External resources

External articles