Michelle I. Gawerc joined Loyola in 2011. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at Boston College
in 2010. Prior to her doctoral studies, she pursued and completed an M.S.W. at Boston College
and a M.A. in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Her B.A. was an
individually structured major entitled, “Prejudice and Intercultural Communication” from the
University of Colorado at Boulder.
Michelle’s dissertation, a longitudinal study of fifteen years (1993-2008), focuses on the major peacebuilding initiatives with an educational encounter-based approach in Israel and Palestine. She examines how non-governmental peacebuilding initiatives adapt to hostile and unfavorable environments, the challenges they face, and why some are able to adapt and survive while others do not. Michelle’s study involved fieldwork, participation observation, and interviews with Palestinian and Israeli peacebuilders prior to, during, and after the Second Intifada. A revised version of her dissertation was recently published as a book: Prefiguring Peace: Israeli-Palestinian Peacebuilding Partnerships.
Michelle has also published a number of articles including “Organizational Adaptation and
Survival in Hostile and Unfavorable Environments: Peacebuilding Organizations in Israel and
Palestine” in Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change, “Integrative Ties as an
Approach to Managing Organizational Conflict” in Conflict Resolution Quarterly,
“Peacebuilding: Theoretical and Concrete Perspectives” in Peace and Change: A Peace Journal
and “The Al-Aksa Intifada: Revealing the Chasm” in Middle East Review of International
Affairs, co-authored with Alan Dowty.
She is a recipient of a number of honors and awards, including a United States-Israel Educational
Foundation Fulbright Fellowship, a Program on Negotiation Graduate Research Fellowship from
Harvard Law School, and a United Nations Memorial Fellowship Award from the American
Sociological Association's Peace War and Social Conflict Section.
Michelle’s intellectual work has been driven by her dedication to peace, justice, and understanding. In the last fifteen years, she has been involved as a facilitator in Israeli-Palestinian dialogue with teachers and high school students in Israel-Palestine; in German-
Polish-Jewish dialogue with young adults in Osweicim (Auschwitz), Poland; and in diversity dialogues with university and secondary school students in the United States. Beyond her involvement in peacebuilding and dialogue, Michelle has worked as a community organizer, and lived and served on both the Dine (Navajo) Reservation and in Bahia de Kino, Mexico.
At Loyola, Michelle teaches courses in sociology and global studies including: Societies and Institutions; Conflict, War, and Peace; Social Movements and Social Protest; Reconciliation and Justice after Violent Conflict; and Conflict Narratives, Media Discourse, and Peacebuilding: Israel-Palestine. She believes strongly in active learning and participatory methods, so sign up for her classes, and be prepared to participate!