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Ben-Gurion University of the Negev 

Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) is the youngest of the seven research universities in Israel, established in 1970. It includes five faculties (among them Humanities and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Health Sciences and more. BGU offers B.A., M.A. as well as Ph.D. and M.D. degrees with about 19,000 students attending it every year.  

The location of BGU in the Southern part of Israel places it in the heart of a diverse and vibrant community composed of numerous ethnic groups of recent and long-term immigrants from over 120 countries, as well as ethnic minorities (mostly Bedouins). Consequently, it is a leading higher academic institution in the country that addresses various cross-cultural and adaptation issues in minority and migrant populations. A Project for Research and Education on Migrants' Lives in Israel (MigLives) is operating at BGU combining research, documentation and education to advance tolerance and cohesion between different ethnic groups in the Israeli society:

The Spitzer Department of Social Work was established in 1982 in order to meet the welfare needs of the Negev population. It is recognized nationally and internationally for its expertise in researching, teaching and training students on diverse ethnic groups. It is also known for its commitment to participatory academia-community social activism. Over 600 students attend the department's undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. programs every year. The Spitzer department's alumni and staff lead the welfare services in the Negev thus improving the life quality of its inhabitants.

Prof. Julia Mirsky

Julia Mirsky is the coordinator of DEMO. She is a Professor at the Spitzer Department of Social Work. Her research and teaching center on psychological processes in the transition from one country to another. She has participated in a number of large-scale international research projects and presently heads the Erasmus + DEMO project.  She is the founding director of BGU MigLives project for research and education about migrants’ lives and has been recently appointed as Samuel and Miriam L. Hamburger Chair in the Integration of Immigrant Communities at BGU. Among her publications are Mirsky, J. (2013). Getting to know the piece of fluff in our ears - Expanding practitioners' cultural self-awareness. Social Work Education, 32 (5), 626-638; Mirsky, J. (2011) and Narratives and meanings of migration. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

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Prof. Nelly Elias

Nelly Elias is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication Studies. Among her main research interests are media and migration, and media and children. Her most recent projects deal with the role of mass media in the lives of immigrant children and adolescents, as well as the process of religious transformation of the Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel. Recently she has joined the Learning in a NetworKed Society (LINKS) Israeli Center of Research Excellence (I-CORE) where she is currently conducting a series of projects regarding the media uses of infants and toddlers in the changing technological environment. Nelly Elias is an author of Coming Home: Media and Returning Diaspora in Israel and Germany, SUNY Press (2008) and has numerous publications in leading academic journals in English, Russian and Hebrew.

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Dr. Julia Lerner

Julia Lerner is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Her research interests encompass the fields of anthropology of knowledge and migration. At the intersection of these fields, she explores the people's relocation and translation of ideas both in post-Soviet Russia and in the Russian-speaking collective in Israel. These topics inform the syllabi of the courses she has developed and teaches at BGU on "Russia in Israel, Culture in Migration", "Traveling ideas and Anthropology of Knowledge", "Anthropology of the Russian Soul". Currently she is involved in two major research projects: the first explores the adaptation of the therapeutic psychological language in post-Soviet emotional culture, and another explains immigrant Russian speaking religiosity in Israel and beyond.

Dr. Noam Tirosh

Noam Tirosh is a Lecturer at the department of Communication Studies. His research focuses on the relationship between memory, media, and justice. He is the recipient of the 2015 Best Student Paper award of the Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy (TPRC) and the award for the 2017 Outstanding Book of the Year of the Israel Communication Association.

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Dr. Galia Plotkin Amrami

Galia Plotkin Amrami is a Lecturer at the Department of Education. She specializes in anthropological-historical research of professional knowledge and practice of mental health experts in the areas of education, immigrant absorption, trauma treatment and resilience building.

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Ms. Gitit Broid

Gitit Broid teaches at the Department of Social Work. She a social worker and a psychotherapist who works in the mental health field with multicultural communities. Gitit is especially interested in immigrants’ experiences and their life stories. She is currently working in her Ph.D. research that deals with parental experiences of Bukharan immigrants who immigrated to Israel during the nineties from the former Soviet Union. The research focuses on changes in values, beliefs and practices of these parents that take place during the encounters of immigrants with the new culture.

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Ms. Ayala Keissar-Sugarman

Ayala Keissar-Sugarman is a social anthropologist and teaches courses at the department of Sociology and Anthropology. She is in the final stages of her Ph.D. research, which deals with identity formation processes of young Russian- speaking Israelis of mixed Jewish origin, who are not recognized as Jewish by the state of Israel. As a founder and manager of an enterprise for social policy analysis and evaluation, for the last 20 years she has provided research services to governmental ministries, public organizations, policy research institutes and non-governmental organizations. Through this activity, she became interested in various migrant and minority groups in Israel.

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Mr. Tal Hasdai-Rippa

Tal Hasdai-Rippa is the administrative and financial director of DEMO, 2020. He is a Ph.D. student and a teaching assistant at the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His research focuses on the public celebrations of 'Europe Day' in Georgia and Ukraine as part of a wider discussion on the 'soft power' of the European Union in third countries. Tal currently coordinates four international research projects on a variety of topics, such as the European Higher Education Area, the Easter-Mediterranean and collective memory and activism in conflict and post-conflict zones. 

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Ms. Ayelet Shachar-Epstein

Ayelet Shachar-Epstein is the administrative director of DEMO 2018-2019. She comes from the field of international business development and marketing.
Founder and owner of "ASE – bridging international markets", providing market strategy planning for companies who wish to make a step forward outside their well-known terrain, and to go global.


Ms. Galit Rovner- Lev

Galit Rovner- Lev is a Ph.D. student at the department of Communication Studies. Her research interests encompass the fields of media representation of socio-cultural minorities such as immigrants and Israeli-Arabs. She is dedicating her current Ph.D. research to investigate parental media literacy and media mediation.

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Ms. Lina Lifshits Rozin

Lina Lifshits Rozin teaches at the Department of Social Work. She is a clinical social worker, family and couple therapist who combines clinical knowledge with cultural competence. For the last ten years, she has worked in a Municipal Family Center and in a Mental Health Service with domestic violence cases, as well as couples and families. She is teaching courses on social work in a cultural context at the Professional Training Center for Workers in Social Services, of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services. Her Ph.D. research focuses on the therapeutic relationships between social workers and clients in a cultural context.

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Dr. Halleli Pinson

Halleli Pinson is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Education. She is a political sociologist of education and is interested in citizenship education in conflict-ridden societies, minority education, and education and forced migration. She is the co-author of Education, Asylum and the 'Non-Citizen' Child, and a co-editor of Citizenship, Education and Social Conflict. Halleli is currently the vice president of Israeli Comparative Education Society and a member of the UNESCO-UCLA network of Global Citizenship.

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