Ministry of Social Development to gain media wits, modern communications strategy

The ministry signed an agreement with the university to hold renowned “Media Spokesperson” courses at its headquarters

Birzeit University, represented by President Dr. Abdullatif Abuhijleh signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Social Development, represented by Minister of Social Development Dr. Ibrahim Al-Shaer, on Monday, April 23, 2018. The agreement paved the way for the Media Development Center at Birzeit University to offer training services to ministry staff and provide support in establishing an effective communications strategy and developing innovative social marketing. 

The signing ceremony was attended by Vice President for Community Affairs at Birzeit University Dr. Asem Khalil, Media Development Center Executive Director Nibal Thawabteh, and Director of the Office of Grants and Contracts Dr. Amir Khalil. 

Meeting them were Assistant Deputy at the Ministry of Social Development Anwar Hamam, the Minister’s Advisor on Jerusalem Azzam Hashlamoun, Director of the Minister’s Office Ghadeer Shamiyeh, Director General of Charities Khalid Tamizi, Advisor to the Minister Dr. Khawthar Maghribi, Director General of Legal Affairs Kholoud Abdel Khaliq, and Director General of the Cabinet Affairs Sharif Jaradat. 

Abuhijleh stressed the importance of signing such agreements with public organizations, which support the Palestinian society and build national institutions, noting the key role played by the Ministry of Social Development in serving Palestinians in their community. 

The president of Birzeit University introduced Al-Shaer and the accompanying group to the university and the multidisciplinary programs that it offers, which end in bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees, and briefed them on the diverse centers and institutes that it hosts, which work tirelessly to better develop Palestinian society. 

“For over twenty years,” said Abuhijleh, “the center has been playing a significant role in developing media in Palestine, aiming to institute a modern, free, professional media landscape by offering professional media training opportunities for media experts and specialists and enabling media agencies and organizations. A multi-disciplinary, specialized team of trainers and consultants lead short- and long-term training courses specifically designed for the Palestinian media environment.” 

Abuhijleh further noted that the Media Development Center runs and oversees a number of projects, which vary according to the targeted area of expertise, such as journalists and media experts, media graduates and students, media and public relations employees at ministries and official bodies, and social activists and non-governmental organizations. 

Al-Shaer highlighted the positive impact of cooperation with Birzeit University, calling it a “source of pride for all of Palestine,” and adding that enabling women and empowering their jobs at the ministry is on the top of their agenda, in addition to building the capacities of their staff. 

“Media is an important vessel for raising cultural awareness and broadcasting the ministry’s new vision, mission, and development strategy, which aims to empower the vulnerable and marginalized to phase-out emergency aid and transform into a sustainable development model and integrate into production,” Al-Shaer remarked. 

Thawabteh said that, per the memorandum of understanding, the Media Development Center will hold a “Media Spokesperson” training course for Ministry of Social Development staff at the ministry’s headquarters in May of 2018. 

“The courses will reinforce the staff’s media communication skills and TV and broadcast skills. It will also focus on presenting modern, balanced, and thoughtful media messages to the broader audience,” Thawabteh commented. 

Another “Media Spokesperson” training course will be held by the Media Development Center for the ministry’s team tasked with representing Palestine in international agreements and covenants. The course will also be held in May of 2018 at the ministry’s headquarters.