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The 2016 Morton Deutsch Awards

International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) will honor Michael Wessells and Alexandra Tamiko Da Dalt with 2016 Social Justice Awards

TC’s Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) will present its 12th annual Morton Deutsch Practitioner and Scholar Awards for Social Justice next Thursday, April 7, at a ceremony from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Room 179 Grace Dodge Hall. A reception will follow the presentations.


The 2016 awards for distinguished contributions to social justice will go to Michael Wessells, a Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, for his work on the reintegration of child soldiers in Sierra Leone; and Alexandra Tamiko Da Dalt, a December master’s degree graduate in the Peace and Human Rights Education program.

ICCCR Founder Morton Deutsch, TC’s E.L. Thorndike Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education, praised Wessell as “a psychologist who has been a leader in protecting child soldiers and children throughout the world.”

Peter Coleman, professor of psychology and education and director of the ICCCR, said, "Professor Wessels has been doing groundbreaking psychosocial work in conflict zones for decades, combining his extraordinary experience with rigorous science to improve humanitarian support for children and communities across the globe."

Wessells, who teaches and advises students on research and conducts global research on the outcomes of child care and protection programs, will be honored with the Morton Deutsch Scholar-Practitioner Award, while Da Dalt will receive the Morton Deutsch Award for the Outstanding Graduate Student Paper on Social Justice.

At the award ceremony, Wessells will give a talk, “Cooperative Strategies in the Reintegration of Former Child Soldiers: The case of Sierra Leone.” He has conducted extensive research on the holistic impacts of war and political violence on children, and is the author of Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection (Harvard University Press, 2006).


Da Dalt will present her winning paper, “Women’s Perceptions of Gender and Power in Post-Conflict Timor-Lest:  Opportunities for Transformative Education around Gender Roles.”

Wessells is a longtime psychosocial and child protection practitioner and a former Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. Throughout Africa and Asia, he helps to develop community-based, culturally grounded programs that assist people affected by armed conflict and natural disasters.

More recent research has focused on the psychosocial impact of the Israeli military attacks on the education system in Gaza. Wessells also helps coordinate a three-country (Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Uganda) project on participatory action research with girl mothers and their children.

The Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (MD-ICCCR) is committed to developing knowledge and practice to promote constructive conflict resolution, effective cooperation, and social justice. Its work rooted in its original, leading-edge scholarship, the Center partners with individuals, groups, organizations, and communities to create tools and environments through which conflicts can be resolved constructively and just and peaceful relationships can thrive. It works with sensitivity to cultural differences to emphasize the links between theory, research, and practice.

The Morton Deutsch Scholar-Practitioner Awards were established in 2005 in the name of Morton Deutsch, the eminent social psychologist and founder of the ICCCR, to honor a distinguished scholar-practitioner in the field of social justice and an exemplary student paper on social justice. The awards were established to honor social justice scholarship and to draw more attention to and elevate the need for scholarly and practical work in the area of social justice.

Published Friday, Apr 1, 2016

Morton Deutsch
E.L. Thorndike Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education Morton Deutsch
Michael Wessells
Michael Wessells, Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, will receive the 2016 Morton Deutsch Scholar-Practitioner Award.