Birzeit University Aims to Partner with Investors

Birzeit University President, Dr. Khalil Hindi, and Applied Information Management’s Managing Partner, Sam Bahour, signed a consulting agreement which aims to develop various university assets and services into investment opportunities, which will offer the private sector the possibility to serve the university needs through business ventures.The agreement tasks AIM to review all university assets and services and develop approaches to tap private sector investors and maximize the revenue generated by such projects, for the sake of supporting the university budget. High priority will be given to idle assets, such as unused university lands, and services needed to better serve the student body and university community in general.President Dr. Khalil Hindi noted, ‘Engaging an external investment officer is one step in a comprehensive plan to move the university from its past and current financial difficulties to a more sustainable future. We have no illusion that creating investment opportunities will be a silver bullet to resolve the financial strain; however, we are committed to addressing the state of financial affairs from all angles. In 2011, we established the first ever Advancement Office for BZU; last year, at the urging of the University Administration , the Board of Trustees established an Investment Committee to optimally utilize all BZU assets; and this year, the Administration established the nucleus of a university endowment that is envisaged to grow. Today’s engagement with AIM is one step further in operationalizing a strategic direction to secure sustainable revenue streams, to compliment the core of our funding which comes from generous donors at home and around the world.’There are 10,103 students are registered at Birzeit (8,737 undergraduate students, 1,257 graduate students and 109 diploma and special students). The student body is 64% female and 36% is male. As of 2012/2013, 27,486 students have graduated from Birzeit University.The university has 575 academic staff (441 faculty members and 134 researchers and teaching assistants). More than 50% of full time faculty members hold a Doctorate and 41% hold a Masters degree. 30% of the faculty are women. The university also has 510 non-academic staff members, including senior professionals, administrators, technicians, and service workers.Sam Bahour noted, “Birzeit University is not merely a university, it is a national institution providing a crucial service to the community. Having previously served the university in various capacities, my team and I are excited about the opportunity to link its community to the private sector. We are committed to do nothing that jeopardizes the core mandate of the university, which is to maintain excellence in teaching and learning, to advance knowledge through research, and to contribute to community service. Likewise, we are confident that the private sector, in partnership with the university, will step forward and be a living example of how constructive cooperation can happen.”Birzeit University’s campus is 800 dunums, and encompasses 24 main buildings. The university has nine faculties, including the Graduate Faculty. These offer 47 BA programs for undergraduate students and 26 MA programs for graduate students. The university is also home to 11 specialized institutes and centers that offer semi-independent programming and enrich campus life and scholarship.About Birzeit University (BZU)Birzeit University was the first Palestinian institution of higher education to be established in Palestine. It provides students with the opportunity to realize their academic aspirations and encourages them to be productive citizens and active members of their community. The university offers undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees through its nine faculties: Arts, Business and Economics, Education, Engineering, Science, Law and Public Administration, Information Technology, Nursing, Pharmacy and Health Professions, and Graduate Studies. In addition to its academic programs, the university has institutes and centers that are designed to develop and support community-oriented programs that contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in Palestine.About Applied Information Management (AIM)AIM is a specialized consulting firm advising on strategic and organizational issues facing corporations and social sector institutions in Palestine. In addition to providing business development services, executive counsel, and strategic management services, when it comes to investing in Palestine, AIM is uniquely positioned to offer clients a full range of representation services as well. Applying substantive industry knowledge, evidence-based insights, and analytical rigor, AIM works alongside clients to help optimize strategic decision-making, contribute to solving organizational challenges, and appraise the impact of strategic initiatives.