Students to design, carry out initiatives to combat social issues in Jericho

Students enrolled in Birzeit University’s Leadership and Active Citizenship Program “Masari” will present initiatives to solve issues affecting Jericho and the broader Palestinian community as part of an agreement signed between the university, represented by its president Abdullatif Abuhijleh, and Jericho Municipality, represented by the mayor Salem Ghrouf, on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. 

“Masari” is a three-year program that incentivizes students from all major to plan their lives and engage with their surroundings as integral members of the Palestinian community. The program creatively integrates the experiences of both academics and staff at Birzeit University into a series of distinctive, interactive lectures.

Attending the signing ceremony were Vice President for Administrative and Financial Affairs Mirvat Bulbul, Office of Grants and Contracts Director Amir Khalil, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit Director George Yerousis, and two staff members from Jericho Municipality. 

Speaking at the ceremony, Abuhijleh highlighted the university’s multiple community engagement efforts to advance Palestinian society. He explained that Birzeit University cooperates with public, private, and civil-society institutions to equip students with the skills and tools needed to lead and advance their society. 

Ghrouf praised the university’s community- and youth engagement efforts. He gave a brief overview of the municipality’s vision for the future, as it relies on cooperation with civil society institutions to further develop the city. 

Deployed and administered by Birzeit University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit, “Masari” fosters an active campus of entrepreneurs and innovators – bolstering the university’s internal entrepreneurial ecosystem – and provides an open innovation platform where students, faculty, and staff can co-create and collaboratively work on new ideas and design and implement community initiatives.  
The program comprises three years: the first focuses on self-exploration, self-discovery, self-awareness, and self-management through Personal Competencies and Career Path stations; the second year emphasizes “others” and the community, promoting active citizenship skills – diversity, empathy, and sharing – through Debating and Citizenship stations. 

The program culminates in the third year that focuses on the development and implementation of student-led community initiatives that stem from the students’ outlooks on Palestinian national contexts and priorities. It involves two stations that focus on design thinking and social entrepreneurship.