Al-Ahzar University

Al-Quds University

Al-Quds University (جامعة القدس) is a Palestinian university in Jerusalem. It was founded in 1984, but its official constitution was written in 1993 when Mohammed Nusseibeh, its first Chancellor and Chancellor of the College of Science and Technology, announced its formation.

Its founding constituent colleges included the colleges of Science and Technology, Paramedical Sciences, Arts and Religious Studies. Its School of Medicine, associated with the city's Maqasid hospital, was the first college to be founded directly under the banner of Al-Quds in 1993, and is the first Palestinian medical school. Al-Quds is governed by a Board of Trustees. The founding board was headed by Mohammed Nusseibeh and included Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Ikrema Sabri, Adnan al-Husayni, Saeb Erekat and others as members. The first president, Hatem Husseini was followed by the current acting president, Sari Nusseibeh.

The University, the only Arab University in Jerusalem, provides higher education and community services within the Jerusalem area and to the neighboring towns, villages and refugee camps in the West Bank.

It has ten academic faculties on four campuses: Arts, Science and Technology, Medicine, Dentistry, Public Health, Law, Qur'an and Islamic Studies, Health Professions, Engineering, and Jurisprudence. These faculties accommodate more than six thousand students from the Jerusalem area and from the districts of Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Jericho, Nablus, Ramallah and Tulkarem. The university continues to deliver educational services and engage students in positive learning experiences, so that they may envision and hope for a better future. The University maintains two Jerusalem campuses and administrative offices in the American Colony and in Beit Hanina, though since the Second Intifada many classes have been moved to other campuses in Abu Dis. Other campuses operate in al-Bireh next to Ramallah.

The university faces a major, unprecedented financial and operational crisis brought about by the dire economic and social situation presently prevailing in the area. Steady subsidies are not available, and the university is unable to charge its students full tuition fees commensurate with real costs. Recent contributions from Arab governments alleviated the crisis somewhat, enabling the university to pay a portion of the salaries of its 723 support staff employees and faculty members. This temporary, one-time assistance made it possible to re-start the present academic year.

The barrier

On October 1 2003 a major campaign protesting the planned route of Israel’s barrier was inaugurated by University officials, which was to have cut directly through the university campus. Meetings were held on campus by students and staff held lectures and the case was presented directly to Washington officials by the university president Sari Nusseibeh. The route of the wall was to have cut across 65 dunams of university land, one-third of the campus grounds. Two fields would have been destroyed along with the garden and parking lot, further the university’s main entrance would have been closed. Eventually, Israel changed the route of the barrier after pressure from the United States administration and meetings with the university’s lawyers.

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