Clements Center
Clements Center

Dr. Mary Elizabeth Walters Awarded Dissertation Prize from the Society for Military History

Apr 08, 2020

Dr. Mary Elizabeth Walters, a former Clements' pre-doctoral fellow, has won the Edward Coffman Dissertation Prize from the Society for Military History, their highest award for graduate research. 

Mary Elizabeth Walters is an Assistant Professor at Kansas State University. She received her Ph.D in Military History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received her M.A. in 2014. Her dissertation, “Unexpected Humanitarians: Albania, the U.S. Military, and Aid Organizations during the 1999 Kosovo Refugee Crisis” examines the emergence of military humanitarianism and a grassroots Albanian practice of humanitarianism centered on mikpritja (hospitality). Using archives in five countries and roughly 100 oral histories, Walters examines how culture and capacity shaped refugee assistance, international politics, and military alliance. Walters’ research places the 1999 Kosovo Refugee Crisis within a broader narrative of changing military roles in the 1990s and peacekeeping. The efforts of the U.S. military, Albanians, and aid organizations to navigate the complex multinational and interagency operating environment of Albania help to illuminate a broader challenge of peacekeeping operations and refugee crises, namely the need for militaries, local communities, and international aid organizations to learn and relearn how to work together. Walters spent a year conducting her research in Albania and Kosovo on a National Security Education Program Boren Fellowship and has received several FLAS awards and research fellowships. Previously she served as the Graduate Student Representative for the Society for Military History between 2013-2016.