Swiss Federal Councilor to visit BZU to discuss innovation in Palestine

The Representative of Switzerland in Palestine, Julien Thöni, met with Birzeit University President Abdullatif Abuhijleh, on September 18, 2017, to pave the way for the upcoming visit of the Federal Councilor, the Head of the Department of Economic Affairs, Education, and Research, Johann Schneider-Ammann, in October.   

The meeting was attended by the Vice President for Planning and Development at BZU, Mirvat Bulbul, and the Director of the External Academic Relations, Amir Khalil. The Representative was also accompanied by the Deputy Head of Mission, Yachar Nafissi-Azar, and the Political Attaché, Emilie Roulet.

Thöni expressed Schneider-Ammann’s interest in meeting with key experts, academics, and students from Birzeit University to speak about the question of innovation and entrepreneurship in Palestine. According to the Representative, the Councilor will be accompanied by a science and business delegation from Switzerland.

During the meeting, President Abuhijleh introduced the university’s history, faculties and role in community service. He reaffirmed the university’s belief in the importance of connecting its faculty, staff and students with world leaders and experts to seed innovative thinking and enable collaboration in academia, technology, services, and business models.

“Our interdisciplinary education mission seeks to engage faculty and students in close collaboration with corporate partners to develop and enhance a cohesive university-wide environment where faculty and staff are inspired and challenged to push the boundaries of knowledge creation.”

In turn, Bulbul noted that the university aims to enhance students’ capacities to meet the rigorous demands of university education, boost their growth into good and active citizens, and facilitate their education-to-work transition. “Co-curricular and informal education is now embedded in our current and future activities and programs. We have recently started with our ’Student Leadership and Active Citizenship Program’, and we officially commenced the construction work of the Palestine-India Techno Park Building.”

“We initiate programs and participate in activities that bridge research, education, and innovation with the needs of the real world. During each project, educators, companies, experts, and students collaborate on real world problems and deliver real world results,” Bulbul added.

The Representative observed that the Councilor’s visit is timely for the university’s current and upcoming priorities.  He expressed his country’s interest in working in close cooperation with different higher education institutions in different parts of the world on innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The Department of Economic Affairs, Education, and Research seeks to develop a holistic, transparent, interactive processes to benefit the public and promote economic growth and sustainable development. Exchanging experiences with our partners from different countries, and learning about their accomplishments, strengths, and weaknesses are essential to help us move forward in achieving our mission that aims to facilitate the youth’s access into the labor market.”