Warshel’s book about Israeli-Palestinian conflict earns fourth major award
The National Communication Association has awarded Rock Ethics Institute research associate Yael Warshel its 2023 Book of the Year Award in Ethics for her single-authored monograph “Experiencing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Children, Peace Communication and Socialization.”
Published by Cambridge University Press, Warshel’s book is a critical examination of peace communication interventions and their impacts on children in conflict zones. This latest recognition is the fourth international or national prize recognizing Warshel for the interdisciplinary rigor and impact of the book.
“The book achieves a new contribution to the field as we focus on children and their potential to [put an] end to one of the world’s most prominent conflicts,” one member of the award jury noted, as the book was honored at the association’s November annual conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
Another juror remarked, “The author is clearly an expert in the topic…[The book] gives clear recommendations on how to better participate in communication ethics issue[s] through peace communication.”
“I am grateful to receive this fourth award acknowledging the many years of policy and practice relevant scholarship I put into conducting what amounted to nearly three years of field research spanning a decade, followed by analyses, writing, art work, editing and production of this nearly 500-page monograph on this crucial topic,” Warshel said.
To critically and empirically evaluate the utility of a peace communication intervention to help build peace in the form of justice, security and equality, and to support the making and sustaining of peace, Warshel conducted field research inside Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
In the context of the current crises, “I am pushing ahead with the same pragmatic approach that I began my broader social justice relevant work in the 1990s, upon which I built this book,” Warshel said. “I work from a third approach, one that is simultaneously pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli (and pro-Arab/Palestinian Israeli). Using my approach of ‘methodological empathy,’ including the crystallized compilation of the narratives of at least every ethnopolitical group party to ‘the conflict’ in my assessments, I work to critically, empirically, ethically and meaningfully improve peace communication intervention outcomes.”
Studying the daily life of the majority demographic in most conflict zones–young people–the book narrates conflict zone daily life from the differing perspectives of Palestinian, Jewish Israeli and Arab/Palestinian Israeli children. It concludes with an analysis of their non-conciliatory political opinions and recommendations for managing the conflicts that emphasizes empowerment and support of Arab/Palestinian citizens of Israel as peacemakers.
Recognizing Warshel’s unique approach in reviewing the book, Karin Wilkins, dean of the University of Miami School of Communication, wrote, “Very few scholars have the language skills and cultural familiarity to be able to conduct a comparative case study such as this with such sensitivity.”
The award is the fourth book prize recognizing Warshel’s work for its interdisciplinary rigor and impact. Previously it received the 2022 National Communication Association’s Sue DeWine Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, being lauded as “among the best…applied communication…has produced.”
Additionally, Warshel’s book received the 2023 International Communication Association Outstanding Book Award Honorable Mention in Activism, Communication and Social Justice, and in conjunction with a module Warshel designed for teaching with the book, she won a 2021 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication pedagogy award in international communication.
Warshel is founding director of the Children, Media and Conflict Zones Lab in Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. She is principal investigator of its associated Children, Youth and Media in International and Global Conflict Zones initiative and is co-principal investigator of the Rock Ethics Institute’s Human Rights and Forced Migration Project.
A part of Penn State’s original cluster hire of research associates in the Rock Ethics Institute, Warshel is assistant professor of telecommunications and media industries and African studies, as well as an affiliate faculty member of Middle Eastern studies, international affairs, international and comparative education, Islamic studies and information sciences and technology. She is vice president of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS), the North and Northwest African Studies Association, and Stanford University-University of California at Berkeley John Gardner Public Service Fellow.