International professors discuss media development, joint cooperation at Birzeit University

A group of U.S. media and communications professors met media professors and experts from Birzeit University on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, on the university’s campus.The U.S. faculty members’ visit, part of the Palestinian American Research Center’s 2018 Media Development Seminar, included a visit to the Department of Media and the Media Development Center, in addition to meetings with faculty members, staff, and students.

Buthayna Alsemeiri, a project manager at the Media Development Center, introduced attendees to the center’s main areas of focus: new media and gender issues. The center addresses these areas, she added, by holding and organizing training courses, led by media experts, that benefit thousands each year.

“At the Media Development Center, we mix theory with practice to give our trainees and training beneficiaries a sense of what they’re going to deal with in the future,” Alsemeiri said. “Through our Research and Policy Unit, we are able to research key media issues related to the Palestinian media scene and properly tackle them by integrating our findings in our training courses and workshops.”

The group also met with representatives from the Public Relations Office, who briefed them on the history of Birzeit University, its current academic offerings, and the difficulties – and triumphs – of education under occupation.

The team highlighted Israeli violations against Palestinians’ right to education, which ranged from the 15 closures of the university’s campus (the longest of which lasted 51 months) to the constant harassment and arrest of students and professors.  Sixty Birzeit University students are currently detained in Israeli prisons.

Hanada Kharma, director of the Palestine and Arabic Studies Program, introduced the attendees to the program, its aims, and its teaching methods.

“The program is a wonderful opportunity to embed yourself in Palestinian culture,” she told the faculty members. “We offer a unique mix of interactive tours of Palestinian towns and villages, immersive Modern Standard Arabic courses, and the chance to engage with lively Birzeit University students.”

Meeting with Dr. Amir Khalil, the external academic relations officer, the visiting faculty members discussed academic and research cooperation, and student and faculty exchange between their respective universities and Birzeit University.

Khalil emphasized the impact of establishing joint cooperation channels between universities, saying: “Our cooperation instruments, such as the Erasmus+ Program, allow our students to engage with the various cultures of the world and gain an international perspective that enriches their academic and personal lives.”