Conference Addresses Alternatives to Neo-Liberal Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Birzeit University’s Center for Development Studies, with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, held a September 23-24, 2014 conference entitled “Alternatives to Neo-Liberal Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory – Critical Perspectives,” in which local and international experts and academics participated.

In her opening address, Vice President for Community Outreach Samia Halaileh said, "We open this conference in the midst of scientific and political controversies vis-à-vis the post-war situation in Gaza in order to address the controversial prospects for a settlement and how this interacts with development formulas and existing international aid in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The director of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Palestine, Katya Herman told attendees, "This conference is a challenge for the participants to present political and economic ideas and visions that may contribute to promoting development amidst imperialism, racism, war and murder."

Participants recommended re-considering the concepts of collectivism and generalization, avoiding individualism and competitiveness, and promoting the concept of economic and political solidarity, whether locally or internationally.


Conference Program


Tuesday 23th September 2014



-          Arrival & Registration


-          Opening Remarks

-          Samia Huleileh – Vice President for Community Outreach / Birzeit University  

-          Katja Hermann - Director of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Regional Office Palestine (RLS)

-          Laura Al-Khoury- Director of the Centre for Development Studies, Birzeit University

-          Linda Tabar – Lead researcher, Centre for Development Studies / Birzeit University


-          Session one: Keynote Address

-          Alfredo Saad Filho

-          Alternatives to neo-liberalism: Global experiences and lessons learned  


-          Discussion



-          Coffee break



-          Session two: Understanding development under colonialism

-          Fadle Naqib: Development as struggle: confronting the reality of power in Palestine

-          Nithya Nagarajan: Development under colonialism

-          George Kurzum: West Bank joint industrial zones: colonial networks and relationships (a commentary)  

-          Discussion


14:00- 15:00

-          Lunch

15:00- 17:00

-          Session three: Screening of the film “Donor Opium” and discussion

-          The film is directed and produced by Mariam Shahin and George Azar 

Wednesday 24th September 2014                       



-          Arrival & Registration

9:30 – 12:00

-          Session four: Aid within the context of neoliberalism and colonialism – an alternative perspective

-          Linda Tabar: Humanitarianism and pacification of anti-colonial agency: Towards an alternative - rebuilding solidarity

-          Leila Farsakh: Donor democracy promotion and the de-democratisation of Palestine

Omar Jabary Salamanca: When settler colonialism becomes “development”: “fabric of life” roads and the spatialities of development 

-          Iyad Riyahi and Nahed Samarah: Crisis in the making: credit policies and indebtedness in the oPt (a commentary). 


-          Discussion



-          Lunch


-          Session Five: Countering and contesting neoliberalism

-          Tariq Dana: A resistance economy: What are its components and can it provide an alternative?  

-          Raja Khalidi: The North-North Connection – links between north of the West Bank and 1948 areas

-          Samia Al-Botmeh: Role of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) in contesting colonialism and neo-liberalism

-          Jamal Juma: Role of popular resistance in the context of development (a commentary) 

-          Discussion



-          Coffee break


-          Conclusion and recommendations session





  • The conference will be in Arabic with English translation.


  • The conference will host an alternative market in the foyer of its hall. Small producers of various goods and commodities will be participating in this market.