Nov. 22, 2016

Dr. Sarah Abu-Kaf, a faculty member and lecturer in cross-cultural psychology in BGU’s Conflict Management and Resolution Program, is the winner of this year’s Council for Higher Education Award in the young researcher category.

Dr. Abu-Kaf was informed of the award by Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, who chairs the Council for Higher Education’s Planning and Budgeting Committee. She was the only candidate nominated by the University for this Award, by the chairman of the awards committee, Prof. Dan Blumberg, BGU’s Vice-President and Dean for R&D and Prof. Angel Porgador, Deputy Vice-President and Dean for R&D. 

Abu-Kaf earned her MA in Clinical Psychology and PhD at BGU and was the first clinical psychologist in the Bedouin Arab society. She spent her post- doc studies in the Medical Anthropology program at Harvard University and specializes in areas of personality, psychopathology, and psychotherapy in different Cultural Contexts. By working at the edges between theory and practice as well as Western and non-Western cultural contexts, she hopes to make significant contribution to both understanding mental health problems and the development of culturally competent interventions.

Dr. Abu Kaf developed a mental health services model to better prevent and treat depression among vulnerable populations, based on her research among Bedouin Arab society. She also initiated an intervention program to address coping with academic stress and dropout among Bedouin Arab students in higher academic institutions

In 2014, she was named to the Women in Science Hall of Fame by the US Embassy. The US Embassy Amman’s Environment, Science, Technology and Health Office for the Middle East and North Africa launched the “Women in Science Hall of Fame” initiative in 2010 to honor outstanding women in science throughout the region. Women from a variety of scientific disciplines are recognized for their accomplishments and efforts to serve as role models for women and girls pursuing science education and careers. 

This is the first year that the Council for Higher Education has awarded the prizes which will be awarded each year from now on. Two prizes will be awarded, one for a veteran academic totalling NIS 50,000 and the other for a young faculty member at a higher education institution totalling NIS 30,000. The jury includes representatives from the Council for Higher Education, as well as the Planning and Budgeting Committee, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner.

The prizes will be awarded later this month.