Thirteenth International Summer School on Mind, Brain and Education

2018 October 16–20

Migrants and Refugees in the 21st Century: Children in and out of schools

Directors of the School:
Kurt W. Fischer, Antonio M. Battro and Sebastián J. Lipina
Director of the Course: Marcelo Suárez Orozco
Program Officer of the School: Lula Majdalani

Strauss, Sidney
Tel Aviv University (Israel) and Amrita University (India)

My doctorate and post-doctorate were completed at Berkeley in the mid to late 1960s after which I immigrated to Israel in 1969 where I taught and researched at Tel Aviv University until 2008. There I was the first incumbent of the Branco Weiss Chair of Research in Child Development and Education. I also served as Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Education from 2005-2008. I was the first Israeli to be elected as a foreign affiliate of the National Academy of Education (USA). My area of specialization is cognitive developmental psychology. In the last twenty years I have been researching teaching from a cognitive sciences perspective, writ large.


Israel: From being immigrants to immigration policies
I was asked to talk about Israel’s immigration policy. I do so against the backdrop of a 3,000-year odyssey of Jewish immigration until the State of Israel was created. I show the enormous complexity of creating a country made up of many immigrants. Israel has never had a single immigration policy. There are immigration policies. And the tragedy of modern-day Israel can be seen through the prism of these policies. From there I briefly recount my own personal trek as an immigrant to Israel from the United States that began half a century ago. I voluntarily and enthusiastically immigrated to Israel out of an ideological commitment. I was welcomed with open arms. But the strain and pain of being an immigrant were not lost on me. I recount some of the stress that was my lot as an immigrant. This, of course, was a piece of cake compared to the stresses of refugees who leave their countries to flee war, famine, political discrimination and threats of death. And, time permitting, I present ideas about ways we can harness humans’ natural abilities to teach so as to encourage peer teaching among children and among adults for the betterment of those in overcrowded immigration and refugee camps around the world.