Michelle I. Gawerc earned her M.A. and 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 more than 10 years, focuses on major peace-building initiatives with an educational encounter-based approach in Israel and Palestine, during times of relative peace and times of acute violence (1993-2008). She examines how non-governmental peace-building initiatives adapt to radically changing 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 peace-builders prior to, during, and after the Second Intifada. Her revised dissertation will be published as a book this upcoming year.
Michelle has also 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.
She is a recipient of a number of 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.
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 peace-building 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.
Michelle loves teaching, and has taught at both Boston College and the University of New Hampshire. She looks forward to teaching Societies and Institutions, and other courses in sociology and global studies, at Loyola University Maryland. She believes strongly in active learning and participatory methods, so sign up for her classes, and be prepared to participate! She is enthused to be joining the Loyola community.