Birzeit University Celebrates Class of 2016

On May 22, 2016, Birzeit University held commencement for the class of 2016, the 41st graduating class. Commencement exercises for 1,930 students from eight faculties were held over three days. Seventy percent of the graduates are female and 32 percent are male.University president Abdel Latif Abu Hijleh, Board of Trustees Chair Hanna Nasir, Minister of Education and Higher Education Sabri Saidam, members of the board, faculty, staff and students’ families celebrated the graduates of 2016. Abu Hijleh applauded the graduates for their academic excellence and outstanding service to the university's community and their country. He addressed the students, "Today is a day to celebrate all the hard work that got all of you to this moment. Your graduation marks the end of one era and the beginning of a brand new chapter."Abu Hijleh went on encouraging the students, saying: "You are inheriting a world that is adrift, uncertain of what to do next, and in need of your insight and wisdom."Vice President for Academic Affairs Henry Giacman told the graduates that the sky is their limit in their next endeavor. "This ceremony tells you that you are now prepared to begin a new chapter where you can achieve your life's purpose. Birzeit University will be proud of you because you have learnt how to use your power of knowledge and creativeness to change the world."Saidam congratulated the students on behalf of the president of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas and announced the cabinet’s approval of adding a major in music to the Palestinian higher education system. He then reaffirmed the ministry's mission to prepare Palestinian youth to contribute to the development of their society, think critically and actively, and always seek knowledge and creativity.Nasir conferred an honorary degree upon Sameer Owaida, an influential leader and generous contributor to Birzeit University and Palestine. "Owaida is a great example of those who have done just what all of us hope to do," Nasir said. "Today we are recognizing the complete man, his whole career, his contribution to society as well as to the academy."Director of the General Services Department Ghazi Muhsin was honored for his longstanding service and dedication to the university community over 38 years.Architectural Engineering Chair Yazeed El Rifai, who has been working at Birzeit University since 2010, received the award for Outstanding Teacher, and Outstanding Employee was awarded to Haitham Yaseen, a technical assistant in the General Safety Section since 2011.The Gabi Baramki Award for Excellence, Yousef Nawas Award, Nimeh Fairs Award and Tawfiq Cannaan Award were conferred upon four students who were honored for their academic excellence and distinguished community service.