Nazmi Al Jubeh and Rima Tarazi, distinguished Birzeit University fellows, receive award for lifetime contributions to arts and humanities in Palestine 

Nazmi Al Jubeh, a professor of history and archaeology and director of Birzeit University’s museum, and Rima Tarazi, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, are the joint recipients of the Ministry of Culture’s lifetime achievement award in recognition of their contributions to arts and humanities in Palestine.

The commendation, presented in a ceremony held on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, is part of a series of awards granted by the Ministry of Culture annually to honor individuals whose works have markedly celebrated and promoted Palestinian culture, traditions, and heritage, both nationally and internationally. 

Al Jubeh was born in 1955 in Jerusalem, the city that will eventually become the focus of his research and studies. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Middle-eastern studies and archaeology from Birzeit University, and went on to earn both a master’s and a Ph.D. from the University of Tübingen in Germany. 

Al Jubeh’s methodical, incisive analyses of the history and sociology of Palestinian cities have earned him commendations locally and internationally. So far, he has published nine books, of which six deal with all aspects of life in Jerusalem. The other three books address the history of Ramallah, the urban sociology of Artas — a village near Bethlehem — and the history and architecture of Hebron. 

Additionally, Al Jubeh has published more than 20 research articles in world-renowned journals, focusing, among other topics, on the realities of life in Jerusalem under the Israeli occupation. A common theme of his works is debunking the Israeli narrative of rightful ownership, proving with perceptive and lucid analyses the undeniable right of Palestinians to their land.

While Al Jubeh is known for his contributions to the history and sociology of Palestine, Tarazi is a venerable icon of Palestinian music. Born in 1932 in Birzeit, Tarazi composed her first piece at 11 years old. She studied music in France and Lebanon, graduating from the American University of Beirut in 1954. 

At Birzeit University, Tarazi taught and directed cultural events and musical performances. She is one of the founders of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music at Birzeit University, whose supervisory board she currently chairs. In 2013, the conservatory published the complete collection of songs and musical pieces composed by Tarazi, entitled “Songs of Freedom and Hope.” 

In addition to her work with distinguished Arab and Palestinian poets, such as Mahmoud Darwish, Fadwa Tuqan, and, Samih al-Qasim, Tarazi is a prominent activist in the local Palestinian community, holding directorship of the Young Women’s Christian Association of Ramallah and the General Union of Palestinian Women, and serving as a member on the board of directors of Inash AlUsra, a charitable organization founded in 1955 to empower Palestinian women and advance the local community.