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He received a B.S. from the City College of New York in 1939 and his M.A. in 1940 from the University of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he studied at the MIT under Kurt Lewin, where he was graduated with a Ph.D. in 1948.
Deutsch is considered the founder of modern conflict resolution theory and practice.[How to reference and link to summary or text] He has written and researched areas which pioneered current efforts in conflict resolution and diplomacy. His books include: Interracial Housing (1951); Distributive Justice (1985); and the Handbook of Conflict Resolution; Theory and Practice (2000).
In 1986, he founded the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Columbia University, where he still holds emeritus professor status. Deutsch has been recognized for lifetime achievement by many associations including the American Psychological Association (APA) which awarded him both the APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, and the APA Distinguished Research Scientist Award. He has also been awarded the Kurt Lewin Memorial Award, the G.W. Allport Prize, and the Carl Hovland Memorial Award.
He has served as president of several professional associations including the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the International Society of Political Psychology, and several Divisions of the APA.