Ernst-Otto Czempiel Award for an innovative analysis on the “Democratic Peace” Theory

Piki Ish-Shalom’s book “Democratic Peace. A Political Biography” was honored as best monograph in peace research published in 2012/2013 with this year’s Ernst-Otto Czempiel Award by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF).


The “Democratic Peace” theory is based on the observation that democracies hardly ever wage wars against one another. Hoping that “Democratic Peace” could be the ultimate solution to war, scholars have developed theories to identify which elements of democracy in particular promote peace. However, as those theories were adopted by politicians, all too often the immediate results were war.

In his book “Democratic Peace. A Political Biography”, Piki Ish-Shalom discusses the ethical responsibilities of scholars that follow from the political ramifications their theories can potentially have in the real world, for example when becoming guidelines for justifying war.
“Just as PRIF’s co-founder Ernst-Otto Czempiel resisted the dominant academic trend to define democracy in terms of the not-all-too democratic political regimes we are used to call democracies, Ish-Shalom emphasizes his ‘moral commitments to the deliberative and participatory models of democracy’, explains Dr Jonas Wolff, Senior Research Associate at PRIF, who gave the laudation.

The author introduces the concept of the “theoretician-citizen”, who he urges all political scientists to be. In this sense, he is not interested in just any stability or negative peace that may emerge between specific kinds of political regimes, but in a peace that is brought about “for the right reasons” and through the right, substantially democratic mechanisms.

“Ish-Shalom’s “political biography” is an innovative analysis of the theories of “Democratic Peace” and an outstanding contribution to the scholarly debate about “Democratic Peace”. However, it is also of great interest to all those concerned with the broader civic and political responsibilities of scholars”, state jury members Professor Eva Senghaas-Knobloch (University of Bremen), Professor Dirk Messner (German Development Institute) and Professor Harald Müller (Head of the Jury and PRIF’s Executive Director).

Piki Ish-Shalom, born in 1968, is Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Director of the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations.
Following his PhD on “Statesmen, Theoreticians, and Ideologues: The Theoretic Construction of Democracy in the American Foreign Policy, During the Cold War and After”, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, both at Harvard University.

The Ernst-Otto Czempiel Award is given to the best book published by a researcher not older than 45 years following her/his dissertation. The book has to be published within the two previous years; the awarded is granted every two years. The Ernst-Otto Czempiel Award is endowed with 5,000 Euros. It therefore is one of the highest remunerated scientific awards in peace research in Germany. The award was established in 2007 and is named after PRIF’s co-founder Professor Ernst-Otto Czempiel.

The award ceremony took place during PRIF’s annual conference on 6th October 2014.

Piki Ish-Shalom
Democratic Peace
A Political Biography
ISBN: 978-0-472-02915-0
University of Michigan Press