Birzeit University commemorates 50th anniversary


Birzeit University is preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its transformation into a four-year university. Fifty years ago, Birzeit College President Hanna Nasir announced that students who enrolled that September would graduate from Birzeit University four years later with bachelor’s degrees.

Over the course of two months, Birzeit will hold events and lectures for students and alumni centered on the founding of Birzeit University and the hardships encountered. The events will also include honoring the university’s forbears and senior professors.

Birzeit University President Beshara Doumani asserted, “The founders’ vision was based on a deep belief in the intimate relationship between institutional building, the strive for liberation and education’s role in cultivating the Palestinian identity and resistance. This vision reinforces Birzeit’s primary mission: investing in Palestinian youth; as liberation movements around the world have proven that the shortest path to freedom and prosperity is through building a generation more conscious of national and human rights, more willing to accept diversity and advocate for social justice, more capable of creative thinking and armed with knowledge.”

Birzeit University began as a primary school for girls in 1924 before transforming into a college in 1942. Birzeit College offered university-level courses beginning with the 1953 freshman class. Later, in 1972, Birzeit College developed into Birzeit University and commenced its Bachelor of Arts and Sciences programs. Birzeit University celebrated the graduation of the first bachelor’s class four years later in 1976, the same year that the university joined the Association of Arab Universities.

Although only 53 students at Birzeit held a bachelor’s degree in 1976, the university now has nine faculties and more than 120 academic programs for bachelor’s and master’s degrees, higher diplomas and PhDs.