Languages and Translation assistant professor awarded the First George Antonius Birzeit Visiting Fellowship

The inaugural George Antonius Birzeit Vising Fellowship has been awarded to Dr. Haya Abuhussein, Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages and Translation at Birzeit University, for her research into the impact of European aids on the Palestinian national and historical content in the Palestinian school curriculum.

This prestigious new Fellowship was established through the generosity of Soraya Antonius in memory of her father George Antonius (1891-1942), long-time resident of Jerusalem and author of the celebrated history of Arab Nationalism, The Arab Awakening (1938). The Fellowship was created to support Birzeit scholars in the humanities and social sciences for up to six months of research and academic engagement in St Antony’s College, Oxford.  Academic faculty members, postdoctoral scholars and doctoral students at Birzeit University are eligible to apply. Birzeit and Oxford intend to make one appointment each year.

Dr. Amir Khalil, the external academic relations officer at Birzeit University, noted that this fellowship presents a unique opportunity for the university’s faculty to develop their program of research with such world-class academic institution like Oxford. 

Khalil stressed that this solid cooperation with Oxford is an integral part of the university’s efforts to encourage exposure to worldwide experiences and practices. This, added Khalil, will guide the institution’s progress to maintain open, inclusive, decentralized knowledge platforms that can contribute to the internationalization of the university.

“My Oxford colleagues share in my delight in formalizing the longstanding ties between Birzeit and Oxford through this new visiting fellowship,” said Professor Eugene Rogan, Director of Oxford’s Middle East Centre, “and to celebrate the legacy of George Antonius by encouraging innovative scholarship in the humanities and social sciences.  We see the George Antonius Birzeit Visiting Fellowship as a bridge to encourage ever more exchange between our universities.”

Dr. Abuhussein joined the Department of Languages and Translation at Birzeit in 2017.  She took her BA in English Language and Literature from An Najah National University in 2004, and her MA in Teaching English from the Al-Quds University-Bard College programme in 2015.  In 2016 she won a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching to spend one semester in Indiana University.  She completed her doctorate at Yarmouk University with distinction in 2020.

For her George Antonius Birzeit Visiting Fellowship, Dr Abu Hussein will conduct research into the impact of European financial assistance on the drafting of the national and historical content in the Palestinian school curriculum.  “This research project is significant,” Dr Abu Hussein asserted, for the light it sheds “on the conditions imposed on the Ministry of Education concerning the content of the curriculum, especially that is relevant to the history of Palestine and Palestinian nationalism.”  She plans to take up her fellowship in January 2022.  While in Oxford, she plans to engage with colleagues in Oxford’s Department of Education to discuss comparative examples of curriculum development, and to meet with British officials involved in Palestinian curriculum development.