Elisabeth Gareis


Elisabeth Gareis, professor, intercultural friendship, Department of Communication Studies, Baruch College

Elisabeth Gareis is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Baruch College. She holds a B.A. in English and German from the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen (Germany), an M. A. in German from the University of Georgia, and an Ed.D. in Foreign Language Education from the University of Georgia.

Her research interests include intercultural communication and applied linguistics, with her primary focus being on intercultural friendship and its role in prejudice reduction. For an overview of this topic, see her entry in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Prof. Gareis’ research on friendship formation between international and domestic students has been widely covered in the media. For examples, see a report in  The Chronicle of Higher Education and an interview with Prof. Gareis on Voice of America. Related research focuses on the communication of love, with cross-cultural differences and changes in love expression over time serving as access points for examining larger cultural phenomena. 

Prof. Gareis’ research also explores refugee integration and Jewish/non-Jewish relationships in Nazi-era and modern-day Germany. On the latter topic, she has co-produced an award-winning documentary about the recent discovery of 13 Driver’s Licenses that had been confiscated from Jewish citizens in Lichtenfels, a small German town in 1938. The film tells a story of remembrance, attempts at reconciliation, and friendship between modern-day Germans and descendants of former Jewish citizens. She is currently working on a second documentary focusing on Jewish life in 1930s Lichtenfels, the deportation of Jewish citizens to be “exterminated” in East Poland, and the life of refugees from that town in the United States. The film addresses the questions of the long-term cost of persecution and war, and discusses the relevance of the subject matter in the presence.

In recognition of her contributions at her home college, Prof. Gareis received the Baruch College Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Service in 2018 and the Baruch College Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2021.

Professor Gareis is author of the book Intercultural Friendship: A Qualitative Study, the textbook series A Novel Approach (on the use of literature and film in the language education), and numerous journal articles (click on the Research tab for more information).