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Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies


The National Bureau of Asian Research is honored to announce the selection of Oriana Skylar Mastro for the 2017 Ellis Joffe Prize for People's Liberation Army (PLA) Studies. The Prize honors the memory of Ellis Joffe, a founding figure in the study of the 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.

The award will be conferred on May 30 at an event to be held at NBR's Washington, D.C., office.

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 PhD 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.


Professor Ellis Joffe giving a presentation.

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.

2017 Selection Committee

Dr. Cynthia Watson (Committee Secretary)
National War College

Dr. Paul Godwin
National War College, 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
U.S. Army, retired

Dr. Andrew Erickson
U.S. Naval War College and inaugural Joffe Prize winner

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2012 Joffe Prize

Andrew S. Erickson of the U.S. Naval War College was awarded the 2012 Ellis Joffe Prize for 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.


Oriana Skylar Mastro is the recipient of the 2017 Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies. See Dr. Mastro's Asia Policy article "A Global People's Liberation Army: Possibilities, Challenges, and Opportunities."



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.