Udi Sommer

Udi Sommer
Associate Professor of Political Science


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Tel Aviv University, Naftali 529
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, ISRAEL


Alexandra Zaslav – MA Student (2012-13)


Alexandra’s research investigates conflict resolution capabilities within the field of dance, focusing especially on the effect of dance encounter work in conflict settings.

Research focus: Specifically, her thesis aims to determine if dance can be employed in an encounter program format to transform perception of “the other”, in the context of Jewish-Arab relations within Israel.


Using an experimental research design, the study draws quantitative data from a series of questionnaires administered to an experimental and control group, either participating or not-participating, in an organized dance encounter workshop. The workshop partners Jewish students from the Menashe region and Arab students from Qalansuwa, in a two-week dance encounter. In total, the data will be drawn from a pool of approximately 240 students, one-week pre-encounter, one-week post-encounter, and three months post encounter.

Qualitative data will also be collected from semi-structured interviews and ethnographic research conducted during the course of the workshop. Alexandra hopes that the results can assist in codifying standardized and replicable criteria for effective dance encounter work, and that the research will serve as the basis for a larger discussion on the arts as an impetus for social change, especially concerning grass-roots peacebuilding endeavors within Israel.

Bio: Alexandra is an M.A. student in Public Policy at Tel Aviv University, specializing in conflict resolution and mediation. Prior to this, Alexandra graduated from Butler University, where she received her degree in political science, and dance performance (Magna Cum Laude, Top 100 Outstanding Students). Alexandra went on to dance professionally in Israel before pursuing her Masters.