Joel Edelstein was born in the United States and has lived in Brazil since 1992. He graduated from the University of Illinois in Chicago with a degree in Political Science in 1970 and in 1982 received his Masters degree in Social Work from New York University. His interest and involvement with political and social issues began in the 1960's with the anti-war and civil rights movements.
After visiting Brazil in the 1970's he became interested in the social and cultural realities of the country and the challenges involved in the country's transformation to democracy. A former art dealer and gallerist in Rio de Janeiro he decided to create The Edelstein Center for Social Research to promote social research and contribute to the public debate concerning global transformations and the challenges they present to Brazil and Latin America.
Joel Edelstein believes that although the present wave of globalization presents risks it also offers opportunities. Creative analysis and solutions require an ample confrontation of ideas. His expectation is that the Edelstein Center can stimulate other similar initiatives supporting social scientific development in Brazil as well as contribute to its projection on the international scene.