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Sociology professor chosen for Lilly Fellows Program Summer Seminar in Northern Ireland

| By Nick Alexopulos

Michelle Gawerc, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology at Loyola University Maryland, has been chosen to participate in the 2012 Lilly Fellows Program Summer Seminar, “Teaching Peace and Reconciliation: Theory and Practice in Northern Ireland,” held from July 7-28 in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland

Sponsored by Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., the summer seminar is designed to help participants understand the contemporary divisions between the Catholic and Protestant communities. Trips, lecture sessions, and group discussions will address the numerous issues and events including the history of the Anglo-Irish conflict in Ireland, the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and the resulting move to a post-conflict society. 

Gawerc is one of only 15 university professors chosen to participate in the program, which will take place at the Corrymeela Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. She will devote her time to studying the role of peace-building in Northern Ireland, a comparative component to her main research interests that include the sociology of peace, war, and social conflict; social movements; organization studies; and ethnic relations in an international context.

As a scholar, Gawerc’s primary area of focus is Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, but her interests extend more generally to societies in or emerging from protracted conflict. She is a recipient of many honors and awards, including a United States-Israel Educational Foundation Fulbright Fellowship, a graduate research Fellowship from Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, and a United Nations Memorial Fellowship Award from the American Sociological Association's Peace, War, and Social Conflict section. She has published several articles including “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. Her dissertation on the major peace-building initiatives with an educational encounter-based approach in Israel and Palestine from 1993-2008 has been turned into a forthcoming book. 

Gawerc earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology at Boston College in 2010. Prior to her doctoral studies, she received her MSW at Boston College and M.A. in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame.

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