Muwatin academics, staff bolster ties with University of Palermo in exchange visit

Six academics and staff from Birzeit University’s Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights visited the University of Palermo, Italy, on May 15-22, 2022, as part of the Erasmus+ exchange program.

Representing the academics were Jamil Salem, Mudar Kassis, Basem Ezbidi and Reem Albatmah. Joyce Kashou and Amal Oweis participated in the exchange on behalf of Birzeit’s administrative staff. 

During the visit, Birzeit University’s academics lectured about Palestine’s law, its tenets of human rights and the status of women and corruption within Palestinian society. Salem, acting director of the Muwatin Institute, talked about the Palestinian legal system and the challenges in achieving the rule of law. Kassis, professor of philosophy and cultural studies, discussed the implementation of human rights and questioned whether they are myths or reality. 

Ezbidi reflected on the definition of political corruption, while Albatmah highlighted women’s rights within an outdated Personal Status Law.

Birzeit University’s staff networked with Ukrainian and Vietnamese delegations also visiting the University of Palermo. Kashou, programs officer at the Muwatin Institute, gave an overview on the institute’s history and development, and how its staff works to achieve its mission and goals.

Oweis, administrative coordinator of the master’s program in Democracy and Human Rights, introduced the program’s objectives, academic plan and goals. The program is offered by the Muwatin Institute and seeks to develop interdisciplinary research and study skills related to developing a more democratic public sphere, with a focus on protecting human rights and dignity.

The team also met with academics and staff from the University of Palermo to familiarize themselves with the university and its programs, including the FORTHEM Alliance, designed to enhance the mobility of students and staff and build cooperation between universities.

The visit is part of an ongoing partnership between Muwatin Institute and the University of Palermo. In the second semester of the 2021/22 academic year, six students enrolled in the master’s program of Democracy and Human Rights participated in an exchange program at Palermo.