Birzeit University forges connections between students and the University of Iceland

University signs agreement on student and faculty exchange, academic cooperation with the United Nations University Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme

Birzeit University, represented by Dr. Faisal Awadallah, the vice president for academic affairs, signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations University Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme, represented by its director at the University of Iceland, Dr. Irma Erlingsdóttir, on Thursday, May 31, 2018. 

The agreement establishes channels and mechanisms of cooperation between the program and Birzeit University by facilitating student and staff exchange and mobility, academic credit transfer, and joint research projects and workshops. 

Faisal, joined by Dr. Amir Khalil, the external academic relations officer, applauded the opportunity to work together with the Gender Studies and Training Programme, calling it a chance for students and faculty members to exchange expertise and ideas, and gain a global perspective on issues relevant to their communities. 

“Twenty-two Palestinian students graduated from the program with a post-graduate diploma,” said Faisal. “Six of them were Birzeit University students. We will work hand-in-hand with the program and the University of Iceland to increase that number and provide such great opportunities for more students.” 

Faisal also noted that the two parties will work to offer students from Iceland a chance to enroll in the Palestine and Arabic Studies Program at Birzeit University. The program offers international students a chance to experience Palestinian culture and study Arabic and Arab heritage. 

“It is a multidisciplinary, international program that accepts all majors,” remarked Erlingsdóttir, introducing the Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme and its aims. “The program familiarizes participants with concepts of gender and climate change, gender-responsive budgeting, institutional capacity building, entrepreneurial training for women, and the relationship between gender-based violence, justice, and the law.” 

As part of her four-day visit to Birzeit University – part of the Erasmus+ program – Erlingsdóttir met with Dr. Lena Meari, acting director of the Institute of Women's Studies; Nibal Thawabteh, acting director of the Media Development Center; Dr. Islah Jad, a professor in the Institute of Women’s Studies; Dr. Mudar Kassis, director of the Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights; and Fairouz Salem, a Ph.D. candidate in the Ph.D. Program in Social Sciences.