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Nov. 14, 2022

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has launched the "Aliya to Academia" program, which is intended for Russian speakers who immigrated to Israel in 2022. A collaboration between the University, the Education and Absorption Ministries, and the Jewish Agency for Israel, the program will allow Russian speakers to continue their studies immediately and prepare for acceptance to the University.

Above: Leaders and supporters of the new program.

The program, which has 43 registered participants, offers courses in mathematics, physics and programming taught in Russian, and includes Hebrew ulpan, a stipend, mentoring, support groups and personal coaching, and psychological counseling (if needed). The program also includes field trips around Israel to familiarize them with their new home.

The program offers 1,000 hours of Hebrew instruction as well as six academic courses that will count towards their undergraduate degrees. In summer 2023, the program participants can apply to the University to begin regular undergraduate studies along with the rest of the students.

Prof. Louisa Meshi, a member of the Department of Materials Engineering​ and the Rector's advisor on new immigrants, heads the program. She herself immigrated to Israel in 1990 from the former Soviet Union and joined her destiny to that of Ben-Gurion University's from her undergraduate days.

"We are pleased to open the gates of Israeli academia to the program's participants and help them acquire higher education," she says, "I believe that studying at Ben-Gurion University will motivate them to build new lives here with us in Israel."

"Integrating researchers, scientists, and professionals from various fields, as well as young people who are slated to join academia, is a tremendous windfall for the State of Israel," says Alona Kushnir, director of Russian-speaking donor relations at the University.

"This unique program offers the opportunity to acquire higher education and thanks to the people and organizations who supported the program, these students can focus on their studies and start their lives here with their needs fully supported," she adds.

"The project is supported by the World Jewish Congress and the NADAV Foundation headed by Irina Nevzlin. World Jewish Congress Vice President Yuri Kanner was especially helpful," Kushnir concludes.

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