Patrice McMahon
Professor Political Science

In 2024-25, Prof. McMahon will be a Council on Foreign Relations International Fellow at the Community of Democracies in Warsaw, Poland. In 2024 she received a 3 year National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to conduct research on the reception and integration of Ukrainian refugees. In 2023, she was a Fulbright scholar at The Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. From 2018-2024 she was the Director of UNL’s Honors Program and 2018-2021, the Dean’s Professor of Teaching and Learning. 

McMahon received her PhD from Columbia University in New York; her MA from The George Washington University and her BA from The American University, both in Washington, DC. She has received several teaching awards, including the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Education (2012); the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award (2009-10); the “best class at UNL,” (2007); and the Arts and Science College Distinguished Teaching Award (2005).

Her research focuses on humanitarian affairs, peacebuilding, nongovernmental organizations, and U.S. foreign policy. She is the co-author and co-editor most recently of Activism in Hard Times in Central and Eastern Europe: people power (Innovations in International Affairs, Routledge Press, 2024). She is the author of  The NGO Game: Post-Conflict Peacebuilding in the Balkans and Beyond (Cornell University Press, 2017) and is the co-author (with David Forsythe) of American Exceptionalism Reconsidered: U.S. Foreign Policy, Human Rights and World Order (Routledge: 2017). 

She is also the author of Taming Ethnic Hatreds: Ethnic Cooperation and Transnational Networks in Eastern Europe (2007) and has been involved in four other book projects, including State Responses to Human Security: At home and Abroad (2014) and State building and the International Community: Getting its Act Together? (2012). Her research has appeared in various publications, including Foreign Affairs, Political Science QuarterlyEast European Politics and SocietiesHuman Rights Quarterly, Democratization, and Ethnopolitics and has been supported by the American Council for Learned Societies (ACLS), the U.S. Department of State, the National Research Council, the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research (NCEER), the Soros Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Polish Science Foundation. 

She writes regularly for The Conversation. Most recently, “Young, female voters were the key to defeating populists in Poland’s election – providing a blueprint to reverse democracy’s decline,” October 31, 2023.

A former New Yorker, McMahon is proud to call Nebraska home.