Yael Warshel

Telecommunications and Media Industries

Yael Warshel

Assistant Professor and Research Associate


  • Comparative and Global African, Middle Eastern, and Saharan Media (including Systems, Ethics, Practices, Uses, Reception, Effects and Contexts). Peace Communication and Social Change, Children and Ethnopolitical Conflict, Ethnography of Violence, Public Opinion, Citizenship/Human Rights, Borderlands and (Forced-) Migration, Social-Psychology and Intergroup Communication, Assessment and Evaluation.


  • Ph.D.: University of California-San Diego
  • Master's: University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication
  • BA study: University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television (on leave from UC Berkeley)
  • Bachelor's: University of California-Berkeley



Dr. Yael Warshel leads a Rock Ethics initiative about Children, Youth, and Media in International and Global Conflict Zones; and co-leads a second about Human Rights and Forced-Migration. As part of the former, she is the Founding Director of the Children, Media and Conflict Zones Lab. She is also an assistant professor of telecommunications and media industries, and African studies, Rock Ethics Institute research associate, and affiliated faculty of Middle Eastern studies, international affairs, international and comparative education, information sciences and technology, Islamic studies, and the center for socially responsible artificial intelligence at Penn State.

Dr. Warshel works at the intersection between international media, child, and conflict analysis, practice and policy specializing in the concept of “peace communication” she pioneered. Dr. Warshel is fluent in and/or has studied five languages and conducted fieldwork in the Middle East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans and Latin America. Her current field-based articles and book projects explore global human rights to communication and education and (non-state) citizenship rights of stateless and forcibly-migrated and –sedentarized conflict zones implicated populations. She explores these matters through her interpretations of Northwest African youth's global uses of digital media.

Dr. Warshel is President Elect of the Association of Middle East Children and Youth Studies, Vice President of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, the Northwest African studies association, and a Stanford University-UC Berkeley John Gardner Public Service Fellow. She critically consults international media practitioners and policy makers about the efficacy of using media to make peace, and has been cited by a broad range of media sources.

An award-winning scholar, Dr. Warshel is the author of Experiencing the Israeli Palestinian Conflict: Children, Peace Communication and Socialization, from Cambridge University Press (2021). For the book, she won the 2024 International Studies Association Book Award Runner-up in International Communication, the 2023 National Communication Association Top Book of the Year Award in Ethics, the 2023 International Communication Association Outstanding Book Honorable Mention in Activism, Communication and Social Justice, and 2022 National Communication Association's Sue DeWine Distinguished Scholarly Book Award for significant contributions to applied communication theory and research. The book critically determines the efficacy of peace communication interventions in managing political conflicts, using as its case her multi-year reception study of peacebuilding versions of Israeli and Palestinian Sesame Street. Dr. Warshel’s summary TEDx talk about it is available here.

She is also co-editor with Elihu Katz of the political communication book, Election Studies: What’s Their Use? (2001, 2018); is working on a third book, When Conflict Is Real: Reimagining the Study of Children, Youth and Media in International and Global Conflict Zones, under contract with Stanford University Press; and researches the comparative determinants of international coverage of conflicts, per the contrast between frames and agendas set, and numbers and magnitude of conflicts. You can read about some of that in an interview conducted with her by the International Communication Association.

Dr. Warshel is also the recipient of three top dissertation awards for her research about peace communication, including one in peace studies and two in global and international
communication from the International and National Communication
associations. She has also earned several more awards in communication
and Middle Eastern and African studies, including two teaching awards
from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Among other venues, Dr. Warshel’s scholarship has also been published in the Journal of Global Ethics, African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review, the Journal of Communication, the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, NEOS: A Publication of the American Anthropology Association Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group, Arab Media and Society, and the Journal of North African Studies.

Before joining Penn State, Dr. Warshel taught at UCLA, UCSD, and American University as an assistant professor of international communication and associate faculty of international peace and conflict resolution. She coordinated communication policy for UNESCO, worked as a photojournalist with the Zimbabwe‐Inter‐Africa‐News‐Agency, and conducted policy‐relevant research with the Center for International Development and Conflict Management, the Jerusalem‐based Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the Center for Middle East Development, and the Center for Research on Peace Education. She earned her Ph.D. in communication from UC San Diego, an M.A. in communication from the Annenberg School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor's in interdisciplinary studies from UC Berkeley, which she combined with a photography major from the USC School of Cinema-Television.


In the News



When Conflict Is Real: Reimagining the Study of Children, Youth and Media and International and Global Conflict Zones. (Under Contract with Stanford University Press).

Experiencing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Children, Peace Communication and Socialization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Election Studies: What’s Their Use? Boulder, Co: Routledge, 2018, Westview, 2001. (Co-editor with Elihu Katz).

Sample Articles, Chapters and Reviews:

Warshel, Y. Conducting conflict zones media studies research while being a woman. Feminist Media Studies, 2021. https://doi/abs/10.1080/14680777.2021.1931396

Problematizing the Variable of Conflict to Address Children, Media, and Conflict. Journal of Global Ethics (Global Justice for Children), 15(3), 361-381, 2019.

Conducting Ethical Research with Children Inside and/or Displaced by Conflict Zones. NEOS (Child Displacement), 10 (2) 8-10, October 2018.

Peace Communication. Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, 91, 2018. https://centerforintercultural...

Social Media and Middle Eastern Politics. In Harvey, K. (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2014.

Mamafakinch: Moroccan citizen journalism collective. In Harvey, K. and J. G. Golson (Eds). Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics. Sage, 2014.

Photos from the Field (Syrian Alawi Family Leisure Practices). Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group Newsletter, October 2013.

Political Alienation in Libya: Assessing Citizens’ Political Attitude and Behaviour, by M. al-Werfalli (book review). Journal of North African Studies. 17 (4) 734-737, 2012.

It’s all about Tom and Jerry, Amr Khaled and Iqra, Not Hamas’s Mickey Mouse: Palestinian children’s cultural practices around the television-set. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 5 (2) 211-245, 2012.

The contributions of communication and media studies to peace education. In E. Cairns and G. Salamon. (Eds.) Handbook on Peace Education. New York: Psychology Press, 2010 (with Donald Ellis).

Broadening the Discourse about Martyrdom Television Programming. Arab Media and Society, Issue 8. Spring 2009.

“As though there is peace:” Opinions of Jewish-Israeli children about watching Rechov Sumsum/Shara’a Simsim amidst armed political conflict. In Lemish, D. and Gotz, M. (Eds.) Children and Media at Times of Conflict and War, Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2007.

Surrogate languages: Alternative communication. In P. Peek and K. Yankah (Eds.) African Folklore: An Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Routledge, 2004, pp. 450-451.

"Dear BBC”; Children, television storytelling, and the public sphere, by M. Davies (book review). Journal of Communication 53 (4) 735-737, Dec, 2003


Yael Warshel
119 Carnegie Building