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Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies


The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) awarded Andrew S. Erickson of the U.S. Naval War College the 2012 Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies for outstanding contributions to the understanding of China’s military. In its inaugural year, the prize honors the memory of Ellis Joffe, a founding figure in the study of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) who passed away in January 2010. It recognizes a rising scholar who has enhanced the field of China security studies and who demonstrates Dr. Joffe’s traits of grace and civility. Dr. Erickson distinguished himself by the volume and quality of his work, signaling a promising future in PLA studies.

Cynthia Watson of the National Defense University, who was secretary of the Joffe Prize Selection Committee, noted that “Dr. Erickson's contributions to the field exemplify Dr. Joffe's civility while also demonstrating tireless and enthusiastic scholarship on maritime issues at a point when the study of the PLA in the maritime arena is expanding.”

The prize was awarded at the 2012 PLA Conference, “Assessing the People's Liberation Army in the Hu Jintao Era,” hosted by NBR, the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, and U.S. Pacific Command.

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Professor Ellis Joffe giving a presentation.

About Ellis Joffe


Professor Ellis Joffe was a revered member of the People's Liberation Army (PLA)-watching community. Born in Shanghai in 1934, he moved to Israel as a teenager where he received his undergraduate training. Later, he earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University under Professor John K. Fairbank. Dr. Joffe's career included stints as both a journalist and a scholar. Elli, as he was affectionately known, ultimately became a full professor in International Studies at Hebrew University. He combined high standards of academic scholarship with the empathetic spirit of a beloved professor. He passed away on January 27, 2010.


The Ellis Joffe Prize


In appreciation of his scholarship and mentorship, the American PLA-watching community has established the Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies at The National Bureau of Asian Research. The Joffe Prize honors Elli's memory by recognizing rising PLA scholars who demonstrate Elli's traits of grace and civility.

This biennial award is announced at the People's Liberation Army Conference in Carlisle, PA, and includes a modest cash award.


Selection Committee


The 2012 Selection Committee was comprised of:

Dr. Cynthia Watson
National War College (Secretary)

Dr. Paul Godwin
National War College, retired

Dr. Harlan Jencks
University of California, retired

LTC. Roy Kamphausen (U.S. Army, retired)
The National Bureau of Asian Research

Dr. Michael Swaine
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Dr. Larry Wortzel
US Army, retired

For more information about the Joffe Prize, please contact Travis Tanner at (202) 347-9767 or JoffePrize@nbr.org.


Andrew S. Erickson of the U.S. Naval War College was awarded the 2012 Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies. Among other publications, he is the author of the chapter “China’s Modernization of Its Naval and Air Power Capabilities” in Strategic Asia 2012-2013: China’s Military Challenge.



Chinese Lessons from Other Peoples' Wars collects the findings from the 2010 PLA Conference, convened at Carlisle Barracks, PA, on October 22-24, 2010. Learn more about the conference and the book: 2010 PLA Conference.

For more information about the Joffe Prize, please contact Travis Tanner at (202) 347-9767 or JoffePrize@nbr.org.