By the Numbers
Thus far, the partnership has directly engaged more than 200 faculty, students, and administrators from both universities, and countless more have attended workshops, meetings, and events. Since 2003, more than 25 exchange visits have occurred in each direction, producing over 15 reports, curriculum guides, workshops, and collaborative resources.
About the Partnership
Al-Quds University and Brandeis University are engaged in a unique intercultural partnership that links an Arab institution in Jerusalem and a Jewish-sponsored institution in the United States in an exchange designed to build a Palestinian civic institution, provide education opportunities for students, faculty, and staff and foster cultural understanding.
Unlike traditional academic exchange programs that focus on students and faculty, the Al-Quds/Brandeis relationship has three holistic goals:
- improve the administrative and infrastructure capacities at Al-Quds, one of Palestine's nascent civic institutions;
- strengthen academics and offer opportunities for faculty, staff and students at both institutions;
- educate the campuses about the advantages of cooperation, goodwill and understanding.
The multi-year partnership has been supported in its early phases by nearly $1 million in funding from the Ford Foundation. The project has its roots in a week-long visit by Al-Quds President Sari Nusseibeh to Brandeis in 1997. After an initial planning phase, projects undertaken have included administrative exchanges, academic exchanges, and partnership documentation.
The administrative exchanges, which are designed to strengthen the Al-Quds infrastructure, focus on administration and finance, teaching and evaluation, and communications. In one example of an administrative exchange, Imad Abu Kishek, vice president for administrative and financial affairs at Al-Quds University, spent two years at Brandeis to develop a strategic plan for Al-Quds. Abu Kishek is now in the process of implementing the strategic plan with further consultation from Brandeis administrators.
The academic exchanges allow faculty to conduct joint research projects and conferences and offer students the chance to join together and visit the other institution. Currently, our focus is on "effective teaching," faculty mentoring, and faculty development -- particularly for women faculty and leaders at Al-Quds. A number of workshops have been developed on assessment, pedagogy, and active learning. Al-Quds has recently created their first Committee for the Support of Teaching.
As part of the academic exchange portion of the partnership, Brandeis hosted four second-year master's students from the American studies program at Al-Quds University for two weeks in March 2006. In addition, eight Brandeis undergraduates joined with seven Al-Quds students for a Summer Institute in Turkey for 10 days in August 2007. A second Summer Institute in Turkey took place in August 2008, followed by campus visits by students in both directions in 2009.
Brandeis and Al-Quds are jointly documenting the partnership's progress and outcomes through publications, video, and still images. This documentation will help to educate the campuses and the broader communities about the partnership and its benefits.