Head of national archive team details record-keeping efforts in visit to campus

Munir Salameh, general secretary advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization and head of the Palestinian National Archive Team, discussed the progress of Palestinian efforts to collect and document historical national records in the Palestinian National Archives with a group of Birzeit University architecture students tasked with designing a national archives building, in a lecture held on Monday, February 11, 2019.   

In the lecture, organized by the Department of Architectural Engineering, Salameh stressed the significance of documenting the tumultuous history of the Palestinian people, whether written or oral, and ascertained  this endeavor as an essential step toward achieving Palestinian independence. 

Salameh acknowledged that the task of assembling a national Palestinian archive requires immense efforts from all parties involved due to the fragmented nature of the Palestinian records − a repercussion of the subsequent invasions and occupations of Palestine. 

“Most previous efforts to establish a national archive have fallen short due to the fact that Palestinian documents are not kept in Palestine,” said Salameh, pointing out that many of the records of Palestinian affairs kept by Ottoman officials are now found in Turkey  − a prime example of the challenges facing the national archive team. 

Salameh remarked that the National Archive Team aspires to develop the national archive in such a fashion that it may serve as a central hub that houses documents, records, and information for quick retrieval while also facilitating further documentation and record-keeping. 

After the lecture, Salameh met with President of Birzeit University Abdullatif Abuhijleh, Chair of the Department of Architectural Engineering Salem Thawaba, and Architectural Engineering Professor 
Shaden Awad to explore channels of cooperation between the university’s various departments and institutes and the Palestinian National Archives.