Civil Non-Violent Resistance: Why it Works and Why it Matters

Dr. Maria Stephan, Senior Policy Fellow at the US Institute of Peace, and two prominent activists who led civil resistance campaigns in conflict zones discussed the importance of non-violent resistance, what makes these campaigns successful and what Congress can do to ensure their success.


Dr. Maria J. Stephan

Dr. Maria J. Stephan is a senior policy fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, where she focuses on the dynamics of civil resistance and their relevance for violent conflict prevention and democratic development. Previously, Stephan was lead foreign affairs officer in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), where she worked on both policy and operations.  Earlier, she was detailed to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan to focus on subnational governance and civil-military planning. Prior to government service, Stephan directed policy and research at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), a DC-based NGO dedicated to developing and disseminating knowledge about nonviolent struggle.  She is the co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia University Press, 2011).  The latter book was awarded the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Prize by the American Political Science Association for the best book published in political science and the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.


Omolola Adele-Oso

Omolola “Lola” Adele-Oso serves as the Executive Director & Co-Founder of Act4Accountability (ACT4). ACT4’s mission is to create a culture of accountability among Africans and in the Diaspora. She advocates for accountability and transparency and develops tools that promote civil engagement and social change. Prior to joining ACT4 Lola served as the Program Manager at Taproot Foundation’s Washington, DC office. As Program Manager, Lola oversaw Taproot’s docket of projects in the Washington, DC area. Her role was to offer support and serve as the liaison between Pro Bono Consultants and the nonprofits seeking their expertise. Previously, Lola served as the Operation Manager and Community Organizer at National AIDS Housing Coalition. She was also a Project Manager and Designer at GTM Architects for six years. Omolola attended Howard University and studied Architecture and earned a Bachelors degree in 2001. Lola received her Master’s degree in Organization Development in May 2013.


Ielyzaveta Shchepetylnykova

Ielyzaveta (Liza) Shchepetylnykova is a Fulbright scholar at the George Washington University and a monitor of academic freedom violations in Ukraine at the Scholars at Risk Network. Prior to joining the Fulbright Program, Liza served as a president of the Ukrainian Association of Student Self-government – the national union of students in Ukraine, which represents students of the country in higher education decision-making on national and international level. Liza led Ukrainian student protests during the Euromaidan and represented youngsters, as a Maidan Council Presidium Member. Likewise, she was charring work of the Maidan Council committee on youth and students issues, acting in the protection of young protesters rights and building international solidarity network with young people from other countries. After victory of Euromaidan she was among the movement representatives nominated for the Sakharov prize by the European Parliament.


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