Faculty of Art, Music and Design building officially inaugurated

On June 26, Birzeit University’s state-of-the-art “Samir Aweidah Building - Faculty of Art, Music and Design” was officially inaugurated, a landmark and embodiment of the university’s desire to foster creative learning in the fields of design, visual art and music.

Chairman of the university’s board of trustees Hanna Nasir, university president Abdullatif Abuhijleh, members of the university’s board of trustees and council, staff, faculty, students, and numerous Palestinian officials attended and celebrated the occasion.

The ribbon cutting ceremony, officiated by chairman Nasir and Aweidah, marked the official inauguration of the new faculty and constitutes a milestone in Birzeit University’s recent development. The inauguration was followed by a concert presented by students of the Arabic Music Program and by the opening of an exhibition that displays the creative works of students who attend the Contemporary Visual Art or the Design programs.

The Faculty of Art, Music and Design was established at the beginning of the 2017-2018 academic year, preceding the building’s inauguration.

Chairman Nasir hailed that the long-anticipated completion of the arts building has finally been made possible thanks to Awaidah’s generous donation. The 5,508 square-meter building, Nasir explained, has four floors that include specially-tailored halls, classrooms, studios, art- and design workshops, auditoriums, practice rooms, and theaters where students will be able to utilize state-of-the art resources to experiment, research, practice, and present their work.

“Today is a big day that marks the end of a protracted construction project which - like the rest of the university - has seen a merger and faced many changes and unexpected challenges which have caused delays,” Abuhijleh said, expounding that thanks to Aweidah’s support, the university was able to complete a modern building that is capable of hosting three artistic programs.

“The planning, construction, and inauguration of the new faculty eloquently testifies to the dedication of diaspora Palestinians who engage to support their home country, Palestine; it demonstrates their belief in the importance of sponsoring and developing institutions that place creativity and cultural knowledge at the heart of their teaching,” he added.

President Abuhijleh also expressed his gratitude to the Representative Office of Norway in Palestine that has supported the development of the faculty through investment in its human resources, its development and equipment. He thanked as well the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the AM Qattan Foundation for their support of the project titled Visual Art Engagement, Development and Capacity Building.

Mr. Aweidah was born in Jerusalem, graduated from the National College in Ramallah, and is a member of Birzeit University’s board of trustees. He has worked with the Jordanian Ministry of Social Affairs and, as a translator and editor, in a number of Gulf countries, such as at the news department of Radio Kuwait. Furthermore, Aweidah worked as a sales manager for the Yusef Alghanim Company in Kuwait (1966 to 1972), has served as director general of the Arab Gulf Equipment Company in UAE, and then founded Gulf Development and Construction (INMA) which now has seven branches in the UAE, Oman and Qatar. Mr. Aweida retired as chairman of the company’s board of directors in 2011.