ARDC staff

Solomon Mesghenna, Director

Solomon Mesghenna is an asylum seeker from Eritrea who arrived to Israel in 2005. He served in the airforce in his home country for 9 years. Since 2008, he has been very active in the refugee community, volunteering to assist those most marginalized. Solomon studied at the Hebrew University and worked as a translator for various human rights organizations and for the Tel Aviv municipal court as an interpreter. Prior to joining the ARDC, Solomon worked with ASSAF organization in Tel Aviv. Alongside being the ARDC Director, Solomon is one of the founding members of Jerusalem African Community Center (JACC).

"My favorite thing about working with the ARDC is that it feels like home. Our team is passionate, serious and everyone genuinelly cares about the issues facing African asylum seekers in Israel. I have deep respect for every one on my team."

Moussa Abdoulaye, Public Relations Manager

Moussa Abdoulaye is an asylum seeker from the Central African Republic who came to Israel in 2008. Since his arrival, Moussa has been actively invovled in the lives of African asylum seekers, and participated in numerous human rights initiatives geared towards the community. For example, at the Feinstein International Center he assisted with interviewing asylum seekers. He also participated in numerous trainings and courses to finetune his knowledge and skills in this field, where he developed a particular strength in working with media. This year, Moussa participated Amnesty international camp in Bulgaria and co-facilitated their human rights course in Tel Aviv. With the ARDC, Moussa has been involved since 2009, when he began taking different courses at the Refugee Education Center. In 2012, he became the Vice Chairman of ARDC's Board of Director.

"My favorite thing about working with the ARDC is that you learn a lot by working with the dedicated and talented people while assisting asylum seekers' community in Israel. It is the place where I want to make my contribution."

Tessa Wiggans, Operational Manager

Tessa Wiggans, originally from the UK received a BSc in Animal Behaviour and worked for several years with primates and in conservation in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Thailand. After moving to Israel Tessa volunteered with ARDC in 2012 and became the Human Resources Manager in January 2013.

Dijana Mujkanovic, Resource Development Manager

Dijana Mujkanovic was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina (former Yugoslavia). She came to the USA with her family in 1999 as a refugee. Dijana received her BA in Political Science and Global Studies with focus on Developing States. Post graduation, Dijana worked as a resource development coordinator, case worker and advocacy officer for Harmony in Life, a mental health organization for survivors of torture and war trauma. In 2011, Dijana moved to the Middle East and accepted a position as an English Teacher in the United Arab Emirates. In 2012, she came to Israel and completed her Master's in Conflict Resolution and Mediation. After graduation, Dijana began her work with the African refugee community in Israel, first as an intern and later as a Refugee Active Participation Project Coordinator with Amnesty International Israel. She began her work with the ARDC in January of 2014.

"My favorite thing about working with the ARDC is its grassroots nature. I work for an organization that sees refugees not only as a subjects of much needed assistance, but individuals with skills and talents to be fostered. It is truly unique."

Oscar Olivier, PTC Project Manager

Oscar is a dedicated asylum seeker, human rights activist from the Congo (DRC), who arrived to Israel in 2004. He has worked with a number of Israeli NGOs since his arrival. He was a student spokesperson in his homecountry, and very engaged in civil movements. In 2011, Oscar fulfilled the role of a spokesperson for the African asylum seeker and refugee community, during the rise in tensions in South Tel Aviv. Today, he is a community organizer and manager for the Power to Community project. Oscar is also a single father of a beautiful 11-years-old daughter and acts as a chair person of the parents committee in Rugozin-Bialik school in South Tel Aviv, where his daughter attends.

"My favorite thing about working with the ARDC is its cosmopolitan character. it is a place where one can learn about life in other countries and practice the tolerance we preach to others."

Gabriel Tekle, PTC Project Coordinator

Gabriel Tekle is an asylum seeker from Eritrea who came to Israel in 2007. Prior to coming to Israel, he spent one year in an Ethiopian refugee camp. Garbiel is one of the most active members of the refugee community, having taken a lead role in the refugee movement in 2014. He is one of the founders of the first Eritrean asylum seeker leadership group in Israel. After serving the community for a year and half, he resigned from his role and continued his service through voluntary activism. Gabriel has worked with a number of human rights organizations in Israel, and he spends his time divided between the ARDC and Hotline organization. Gabriel is also a proud father of beautiful 3-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl.

"My favorite thing about working with the ARDC is its devoted staff, all of whom are working wholeheartedly to assist African asylum seekers in Israel."

Yotam Ben Meir, AAA Project Manager

Yotam Ben Meir has been active in human rights, social change and peace-building movements in Israel-Palestine since 2000. He has also worked on involving men towards struggle for women's rights and equality and gender sensitivity. His expertise is in peace education, conflict resolution and evaluation research. Yotam has a background in International Human Rights Law (MA) as well as Philosophy and Cinema (BA). Yotam also lectures at the Open University and the Tel Aviv University. He has worked as a project manager and coordinator for various nonprofit organizations since 2006. Yotam is a proud father to an amazing 6-year old boy and practices capoeira in his (rare) spare time.

"My favorite thing about working for the ARDC is having a priviledge to collaborate with so many committed, talented and professional volunteers (interns). Their dedication has made the challenging work of supporting African asylum seekers in Israel an enriching and learning experience for me."

Anne Sapir, AAA Deputy Manager

After earning her LLM in Public International Law from Leiden University, Anne moved from Belgium to Israel with the goal and hope of using her legal skills and knowledge to protect human rights and prevent further violation of human rights in Israel. As a grand-child of refugees and survivors of the Holocaust, Anne firmly believes in the necessity for the State of Israel to enforce, implement, respect and promote Public International Law, including Refugee Law.

"My favorite thing about working with the ARDC is being part of a social justice struggle in Israel."

Itamar Skalka, AAA Technical Coordinator

Itamar is doing his national service with the ARDC. He has a background in photography, art and theater. Prior to coming to the ARDC, Itamar worked with Hava ve Adam, an ecological farm near Modi'in, where he learned eco-agriculture, permaculture, mud-building and enjoying nature, humans and simplicity.

"My favorite thing about working with the ARDC is that I get to visit and hear stories from Ethiopia, Switzerland, Sudan, Belgium, Italy, Ertitrea, New York, Nigeria, Ukraine, Brazil and more, all in the same day and all from the office at the central bus station in Tel Aviv. I am very happy about this opportunity to learn so much from so many people and being able to help human beings with this knowledge."

Emily Primack, REC Project Manager

Emily Primack is a TEFL certified, Education Program Manager at the African Refugee Development Center. Her research and curriculum have been used at the International Rescue Committee-New York Regional Office, One to World-Global Classroom and Learning Enterprises–Panama program. Emily holds a BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University and an MA in International Educational Development from Columbia University. While Los Angeles, California is home for Emily and her extensive shoe collection, she lives a nomadic life abroad working on education programs for refugee communities.

"My favorite thing about working with the ARDC is that each day brings a new opportunity to help, learn, and impact the world in a positive way."