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Davin O'Regan

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Research Associate, CISSM

Davin O’Regan is a research associate at the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) providing research support for various projects related to human security, including civil society assistance policy, political violence, and civil conflicts, among other topics.

Davin completed his PhD in International Security and Economic Policy (ISEP) at the UMD School of Public Policy in 2020. His dissertation, titled “Diffident Dissident: How Civil Society Influences Armed Instrastate Conflicts and Political Violence,” featured three empirical analyses that tested central assumptions underlying U.S. engagement with civil society organizations in developing country contexts. The analyses challenged U.S. policy expectations that “strong” civil society landscapes are associated with a lower likelihood of armed conflict onset, the adoption of predominantly nonviolent tactics, or lower levels of violence during civil wars. Additionally, the dissertation challenges prevailing explanations for the adoption of nonviolent tactics during civil conflicts as well as the concept of civil society that motivates much U.S. policymaking. 

Previously Davin served as a Senior Program Officer for Nonviolent Action at the U.S. Institute of Peace where he oversaw a multi-year assessment of U.S. support for advocacy organizations advancing transparency and accountability reforms in Kenya, Guatemala, Nigeria, and Ukraine. He also served as a Research Associate at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, where he contributed to numerous research initiatives related U.S. security and development policy in Africa and led several projects focused on transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking.

Davin holds a Masters degree in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s degree from Reed College.