The Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights began as a primary unit in Birzeit University in 2016. This institute is the result of the combination of the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy – Muwatin (founded in 1991 in Ramallah) incorporation into the university, joining with the Master’s Program in Democracy and Human Rights (founded in the Faculty of Graduate Studies in 1999), along with several other activities related to this academic program, joining together all to form the current institute.
Activities of the Muwatin Institute
The MA Program in Democracy and Human Rights
The courses in this program fulfil the requirements towards obtaining a Masters Degree in Democracy and Human Rights. The courses are designed to train our students in various fields including teaching democracy and human rights, working in fields of democracy and human rights.
The Arab MA Program in Democracy and Human Rights
Through the Masters Degree Program in Democracy and Human Rights, Birzeit University cooperates in the provision of the Arab MA Program in Democracy and Human Rights organized by the University of Saint Joseph (Lebanon), in cooperation with Birzeit University (Palestine), , Carthage University (Tunisia), Rabat International University (Morocco). The programme is part of the Global Campus of Human Rights based in Venice (Italy), which organises seven regional master programmes in human rights and democracy around the world involving around 100 universities.
Research at Muwatin involves theory, application and policy development, implemented under three research directions: theoretical and conceptual studies, applied research and policy studies, and theory and practice research.
Muwatin organises activities and training programmes in the areas of democratic governance, the protection of human rights, and research skills.
Conferences, Symposiums and Workshops, and Community Intervention
Muwatin will continue the tradition of holding its annual conference organized around the principle of highlighting issues of democracy and human rights that concern the Palestinian people. The institute will also hold lectures, seminars, workshops and conferences.
It also provides consultancies, research services, and specialised expertise to the community and to relevant organisations and institutions.
The Muwatin Institute Library
The Muwatin Library has more than 10,000 volumes and periodicals related to the issues of democracy and human rights.
The library is one of the components of the Information Centre, which includes the Website, Databases, the Resource Lab, and Audio-visual Materials.
Muwatin hosts long-term initiatives and short-term activities that comply with its principles and goals. Among these are:
An international and inter-disciplinary initiative, Karama works to study and understand ideas of human dignity through supporting research projects, community involvement, encouraging initiatives, providing the space for general discussion and encouraging youth projects.
The Idea Factory is a student run initiative in Birzeit University and supported by the Windsor-Birzeit Dignity Initiative. The “Idea Factory” works to answer the central question: how can the youth take the reins and responsibility in formulating their future into their own hands.
Muwatin strives to provide the space for intellectual inquiries on fundamental issues that concern the Palestinian people as we work collectively towards deconstructing colonialism and hegemony and constructing our national liberation.
The Muwatin Institute consists of several elements including teaching, research, continuing education, community outreach, and an information centre on democracy and human rights, which involves constant public engagement including regular publishing, archiving audio- visual materials on the institute’s website.
The Institute is also a centre of on-going activities through the work of various other hosted initiatives including the Karamah Initiative and the Idea Factory.
Muwatin Institute works to explore the definitions of democratic systems and human rights in all its inherent complications and paradoxes. Through this work, the Institute will further our collective understanding of democracy and human rights both in its local context and through a vigorous engagement with the international discussion around these key issues both practically and theoretically - including, of course, the vital critical approach to both democracy and human rights and their histories.
This active work of knowledge production in the Institute is within a framework of protecting liberty, freedom and justice - not only as rhetorical tools but also as practical tools for societies that cherish humanity, strive for equality and justice and peace.
The Institute is committed to working towards improving the means and methods of a political system that respects the people’s will and dignity, in particular the Palestinian people.