Birzeit University Partners with Dutch Universities on Water Innovation

Birzeit University is one of five Palestinian universities included in a new agreement on water signed in Bethlehem on December 7 by Dutch and Palestinian officials. The agreement will join the efforts of Dutch and Palestinian institutions of higher learning in efforts to explore new fields in water development and management.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the first Dutch-Palestinian Cooperation Forum. The two-day forum was attended by senior Dutch and Palestinian officials, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. PM Rutte was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne. The forum was dedicated to the theme of innovation in the areas of water and agriculture, alongside a broader business component.

The water agreement is a Joint Declaration on the Establishment of a Dutch government-funded Academic Cooperation Program on Water between five Palestinian universities and five Dutch academic centers. An-Najah National University, Birzeit University, Al-Quds University-Abu Dis, Palestine Technical University- Kadoorie and Polytechnic University will team up with Delft University of Technology, Wageningen University, University of Twente, Maastricht School of Management and UNESCO Institute.  

The partnership calls for a series of research, educational and training activities that aim at improving conditions in the Palestinian water sector. This partnership is unique in the sense that it relies on teamwork between Palestinian institutions on one hand, and authentic Dutch institutions on the other hand. Future cooperation will involve other Palestinian universities, especially those in the Gaza Strip.