Birzeit University Celebrates 42nd Commencement

Birzeit University commenced on June 30, 2017 the graduation ceremonies of the 42nd cohort of its students. The commencement exercises will be on three subsequent days.

The Class of 2017 from the Faculty of Law and Public Administration, Faculty of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Professions and Graduate Studies, were surrounded by their family members faculty, staff, and administrators to celebrate their achievements. Celebrations are attended by the Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Palestine Dr, Ziad Abu Amr, Chairman of the university's Board of Trustees Dr. Hanna Nasir and university President Dr. Abdel Latif Abu Hijleh.

Abu Hijleh applauded the graduates for showing academic excellence and outstanding service to the university's community and their country. "Today, we gain the fruits of 42 years of hard work, commitment and constant giving. The university that first started in a humble building with 400 students has now evolved to become one of the most prominent universities in the world, offering various bachelor and master programs, and a unique PhD program in social sciences, with 13 thousand students enrolled."

Abuhijleh expressed his pride in the university's unprecedented achievement in the Quacquarelli Symonds Ranking. "For the first time, the university has been listed in the 14th edition of the QS World University Rankings. Chosen among 26 thousand universities in the world, the University was among 3% of the best universities in the world."

The president said that this international recognition is shaped by the university's combined efforts to push the boundaries of research, and provide innovative educational opportunities. He listed the new academic and non-academic programs the university has launched in the academic years 2016-2017, emphasizing on the university's commitment to prepare a generation that will lead as citizens and leaders of national and international life.

Speaking on behalf of the President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas, Abu Amr, the deputy prime minister and a former faculty member at BZU congratulated the students. "It is my honor and privilege to have the opportunity to officiate at this important occasion, which is a milestone achievement in our students' future", Abu Amr assured. "Birzeit graduates have always been Palestine's ambassadors in academia and entrepreneurship locally and internationally."

The deputy prime minister said that Birzeit University is a hub of knowledge, creativity and innovation. The world, according to Abu Amr, has recognized this distinctiveness by ranking BZU as one of the best 3% of the world universities.

During the ceremony, Nasir conferred an honorary degree to Ali El Haj, a Palestinian scientist, businessman and philanthropist, for pledging $1 million to renovate the University's Main Stadium. "El haj is a great example of people who have done just what all of us hope to do", Nasir said. "Today we are recognizing the man in the round, his contribution to society, and his strong commitment to support the students' academic journey." Nasir praised El Haj's strong sense of compassion, giving and his great connection to his motherland as he has great contributions to Palestine and particularly to Birzeit University.

El haj addressed his speech to the students encouraging them to never stop learning. "Today is the graduate’s day. It is the start of a new journey in your lives. Getting your diploma is one milestone that should be celebrated and should always be used as a springboard for your advancement and success. Education is never complete with a diploma but something that should be practiced every day for the rest of our lives. The only path for advancement is learning."

The Welfare Association, represented by its Director General Tafida Jarbawi was also recognized for its great contributions in Palestine, especially in higher education and in Birzeit. Dr. Nasir conferred an honorary shield dedicated to recognize efforts, acknowledge the strategic partnership with the Welfare Association.

Law student Haya Omari, and master's student Mohammad Zain El Dein delivered a speech in which they underscored the skills and knowledge that they gained from the university during their study years. Graduates’ were handed their certificates after they professed their commitment to the graduates’ oath, which was read by Abu Hijleh.

Students from the Faculty of Science, Education and Arts will be graduating on the second day, and students from the Faculty of Business & Economics, and Engineering and Technology will be graduation on the third day.