The 16th Annual Yoder Dialogues on Nonviolence, Religion and Peace


Maria J. Stephan

Senior Policy Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace; Non-resident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council

Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth are best known for their research that found that campaigns of nonviolent resistance were twice as likely to succeed as campaigns of violent resistance — and that nonviolent campaigns ushered in greater chances of democracy and peace than armed struggle.

Recently, some people have become more pessimistic about nonviolent resistance in light of the carnage in Syria, Gaza, instability in Libya, assassination in Tunisia, counter-revolution in Egypt, and crackdowns against Ukrainian protestors in Kiev. Yet new data from Chenoweth and Stephan provides evidence that civil resistance still works. Stephan will examine these findings and lead a discussion of the role of external actors in supporting nonviolent movements around the world.

Stephan is the co-author, with Erica Chenoweth, of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, and editor of Civilian Jihad: Nonviolent Struggle, Democratization and Governance in the Middle East.