University community commemorates 10th executive sports management class, professional diploma cohort

Representatives of local sports institutions and associations joined Birzeit University students and administrators in celebrating the graduation of the 10th class of the FIFA/CIES Executive Programme in Sports Management and the inaugural class of the Professional Diploma in Sports Management in a ceremony held on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, in Ramallah. 

The sports management programs, organized and administered by Birzeit University’s Center for Continuing Education, are geared towards sports professionals and athletes in Palestine. The executive sports management program is designed and implemented in cooperation with the Palestinian Football Federation and the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES), a joint venture with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

The professional diploma program and the executive sports management program both provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to advance sports and sports management in Palestine. Due to their shared focus, the two programs share a number of courses, such as sports law, sports communication, sports marketing, and sports event management. The diploma program, however, is longer, with 320 contact hours and nine required modules. 

Dr. Lourd Habash, the vice president for community affairs at Birzeit University, emphasized the importance of establishing and maintaining connections between the university and regional and international institutions, noting that such partnerships help develop Palestinian competencies in various academic and professional fields.  

With help from CIES and the Palestinian Football Association, Habash added, the executive sports management program was able to provide students with the skills, expertise, and connections to create a difference in the sports landscape in Palestine. 

Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association, stressed in his welcoming remarks the role of proper management in the success of any organization or activity, whether sports related or not. 

Rajoub noted that the executive program was implemented in Palestine to meet a specific need in the sports sector in the country. In order for the program to remain as relevant and pioneering as it is, he added, there have to be regular consultations between governmental and private organizations to define the needs of the local labor market and ensure that the academic and technical requirements of sports professionals and institutions in the country are properly met.

Marwan Tarazi, director of the Center for Continuing Education, urged graduates of both programs to use the skills they’ve learned to develop and advance Palestinian institutions. He added that today’s ever-increasing rate of technological advancement means that current graduates have to constantly develop their knowledge and expertise to meet the needs of the local industry. 

Vincent Monnier, senior manager of international relations at CIES, said that students of the program are graduating into a sports industry that has been greatly affected by lockdown measures and social-distancing requirements. He called on the graduates to use the skills and knowledge they acquired to help local and regional sports institutions survive these setbacks. 

Despite the current conditions, Monnier noted, the graduating students are still part of a worldwide network of more than 4500 alumni who specialize in different areas in the sports industry. Such connections, he added, will allow local graduates to use international expertise and experience in helping their institutions navigate the impact of the pandemic. 

The FIFA/CIES Executive Programme in Sports Management is implemented at universities in 17 countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Poland, Russia, and Spain. The program is administered by universities in accordance with the needs of the local sports industry.