One Brattle Square 517
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA, 02138
Research Fellow, International Security Program
Michal Ben-Josef Hirsch is a Research Fellow of the Belfer Center's International Security Program and a Lecturer at the Coexistence and Conflict Program, Heller School for Social Policy and the Politics Department, Brandeis University. She was an International Security Program Research Fellow from 2007–2009. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tel Aviv University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Michal is currently completing a book manuscript (based on her Ph.D. dissertation titled: And the Truth Shall Make you Free: The International Norm of Truth-Seeking) that traces the emergence of the international norm of truth and reconciliation commissions. In this book, she introduces a theory for the emergence and spreading of international norms that focuses on changes in the ideational content of norms and on the international agents who facilitate these changes. Her publications include "From Taboo to the Negotiable: The Israeli New Historians and the Changing Representation of the Palestinian Refugee Problem," Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 5, No. 2, June 2007 and "Measuring the Impacts of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Placing the Global 'Success' of TRCs in Local Perspective,” with Megan Mackenzie and Mohamed Sesay, Cooperation and Conflict, Vol. 47, No. 3, September 2012.
Michal's research interests include international relations theory with a focus on the role of ideas and norms in world politics, international institutions and international organizations, conflict resolution, historical justice and memory, transitional justice, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Measuring the Impacts of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Placing the Global 'Success' of TRCs in Local Perspective"
Journal Article, Cooperation and Conflict, issue 3, volume 47
By Michal Ben-Josef Hirsch, Research Fellow, International Security Program, Megan Mackenzie, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program/Women in Public Policy Program, 2008–2009 and Mohamed Sesay
"Truth and reconciliation commissions (TRCs) have emerged as an international norm and are assumed to be an essential element of national reconciliation, democratization, and post-conflict development. Despite the increase in the number of TRCs being initiated around the globe and the international consensus regarding their positive effects, there is little understanding of the longterm effects and consequences of TRCs. Specifically, currently there are no established methods or mechanisms for measuring the impacts of TRCs; furthermore, the few examples of efforts to measure these impacts have serious limitations. This article explores both the rise in TRCs as an international norm and the contradictions and inadequacies in existing efforts to measure the impacts and successes of commissions."