Yael Warshel


Yael Warshel

Assistant Professor


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



Yael Warshel is an assistant professor of telecommunications, Rock Ethics Institute research associate, and affiliated faculty of international and comparative education, international affairs, African studies, and Middle Eastern studies. She works at the intersection between international media, child, and conflict analysis, practice and policy specializing in what she has coined as, “peace communication.” 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.


An award-winning scholar, Dr. Warshel is the recipient of three top dissertation awards, including one in peace studies and two in global and international communication, which she received from the International and National Communication associations. She has also earned several more awards in communication, public service, Middle Eastern and African studies, including a teaching award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.


Dr. Warshel is completing a book determining the efficacy of peace communication interventions in managing political conflicts that uses as its case her multi-year reception study of peacebuilding versions of Israeli and Palestinian Sesame Street. Her summary TEDx talk of the book is available here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssVfMB_-eI8  Alongside it, she is continuing fieldwork about the human and communication rights of stateless and forcibly-migrated and –sedentarized conflict zone effected populations through her interpretations of North West African youth's global uses of digital media; and separate of that, continuing to research the comparative determinants of international coverage of conflicts, per the contrast between frames and agendas set, and magnitude and intensity of conflicts. She serves on the board of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies and as Chair of E-Book Reviews for the Digest of Middle East Studies. She critically consults international media practitioners and policy makers about the efficacy of using media to make peace, and has been quoted by a broad range of media sources.


At Penn State, Dr. Warshel leads a Rock Ethics initiative about Children, Youth, and Media in International and Global Conflict Zones. 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 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


The Ethical Conduct of Research About Conflict Zones’ Children and Childhoods. NEOS: Child Displacement Special Section, October 2018.

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.

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

Latest Tweets (@ywarshel)


Yael Warshel
115 Carnegie Building
University Park, PA 16802