One thousand students plan their future careers at annual Career Day

Over 1000 Birzeit University students met with prospective employers and held interviews with 90 Palestinian companies at the university’s annual Career Day on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. 

An annual tradition since its inception in 1995, Career Day offers a space for students, companies, and industry representatives to connect and explore internship, training, and employment opportunities. The yearly event also presents an opportunity to discuss gaps between academic program outputs and job market needs. 

In his opening remarks, President of Birzeit University Abdullatif Abuhijleh emphasized the university’s efforts to facilitate the students’ entry and integration into the job market by offering a unique, holistic academic experience coupled with extracurricular activities, asserting, “We aim to prepare and allow students to affect positive change in the Palestinian community.” 

Abuhijleh praised “Masari,” the Leadership and Active Citizenship Program, as one of the university’s key endeavors to connect students and graduates with the job market and allow firms and companies to announce training and employment opportunities. “This program,” he added, “aims to incentivize students to plan their lives and actively engage in their communities from the first day they set foot on the university’s campus.”
In its first year, Masari leads students through stations titled Personal Competencies and Career Path that focus on self-exploration, -discovery, -awareness, and -management; in the second year the stations titled Debating and Citizenship emphasize active citizenship skills, diversity, empathy, and sharing. 

In its third year, the program focuses on the development and implementation of student-led community initiatives that stem from the students’ outlook on Palestinian national contexts and priorities through two stations focused on design thinking and social entrepreneurship. 

Ala Hijazi, sales director at the Palestine Cellular Communications Company−Jawwal, stressed the importance of forging and maintaining relations between Palestinian firms and universities, highlighting the ongoing cooperation with Birzeit University as a model for the Palestinian community to follow. 

Hijazi, a Birzeit University graduate who joined Jawwal after an interview at the university’s 1998 Career Day, highlighted that events which connect academia − university students, professors, and staff − with industry representatives provide immense benefits to both sides, allowing for better harmonization between academic outputs and the requirements of the local job market. 

Samia Shammas, an instructor in the Department of Accounting and head of the Career Day’s executive committee, explained that the event illustrates the extent of the partnerships that the university has forged with Palestinian firms and companies, noting that such extracurricular activities help shape the students into tomorrow’s leaders of Palestinian institutions. 

Addressing the students, Shammas said that Career Day offers the opportunity to take a first step in the planning of their future careers. She called on them to dedicate themselves to Palestinian institutions that help build the community and the country, assuring that the values students learn at Birzeit University will help them on their way as they are striving for excellence.