Palestine’s main educational institution, Birzeit University, to have new president
RAMALLAH, Saturday, March 13, 2021 (WAFA) – Beshara Doumani, professor of history at Brown University, will be the next president of Birzeit University, according to a university press release.
The University’s board of trustees has announced that Doumani will succeed Abdullatif Abuhijleh, whose term as president ends by the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.
In its announcement, the Birzeit University Board of Trustees cited Doumani’s outstanding academic qualifications and administrative experience, as well as his engagement with Birzeit University from 1981 to 1983, when he worked as an instructor. in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies.
Doumani holds the First Mahmoud Darwish Chair in Palestinian Studies at Brown University, the first such endowed chair established at an American university. He is the founding director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Brown University, which he led from 2012 to 2018.
In 2013, Doumani launched the New Directions in Palestinian Studies Research Initiative, which brings together researchers and academics to advance research in this area. He also led a team from 2008 to 2010 that produced the strategic plan for the establishment of the Palestinian museum.
Doumani’s research focuses on the social histories of ordinary people who have been overlooked in mainstream scholarship. He wrote about Palestinian peasants and traders, and about women and family life in Palestine during the Ottoman period. He has also published a book on academic freedom and produced several special issues of peer-reviewed journals. He is editor of the Palestinian Studies series of books with the University of California Press and co-editor of the Jerusalem Quarterly. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Palestine Studies and a member of the Research Board of the Institute of Palestine Studies.
Doumani joined Brown University after 14 years at the University of California at Berkeley and eight years at the University of Pennsylvania. He has received scholarships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University.
Doumani is married to Ismat al-Atireh, a former student of Birzeit University who graduated in 1982. They have two daughters.
Doumani’s appointment to Birzeit University marks the end of Abuhijleh’s tenure as president of the university. Since Abuhijleh took over as head of the university in 2015, it has grown remarkably, gaining high positions in international rankings and creating new faculties and programs for academic and community engagement, according to the press release from university.
With his cautious leadership, he added, Abuhijleh was able to guide Birzeit University through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He focused faculty and staff efforts on transitioning to distance and blended learning models and ensured that the university continues to play its role as a leading Palestinian and Arab educational institution. .
Abuhijleh will continue to serve as president of the university until the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.