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Trustee Forum Gives Floor to University Community

February 1, 2014
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Birzeit University’s Board of Trustees called for a meeting of the university community on January 21, 2014 to discuss its present and future.

The meeting focused on how to strengthen the spirit of partnership between students and the administration, attain educational excellence and quality, maintain financial sustainability alongside the precept that higher education is a right for every Palestinian, and improve the relationship between the university and the community.

The University Council and Academic Council, directors of institutes and centers, union representatives, student council members and a number of prominent alumni were all in attendance.

Opening the meeting, Trustee Chairman Hanna Nasir welcomed those present and expressed the hope that there would be additional regular meetings.

"The present and the future, which we'll talk about today, is largely linked to each one of you,” Nasir said. “In terms of what you are doing today and your plans that will impact the university’s future, I trust you all to care for the future of the university." Nasir also commended the spirit of liberalism that has characterized the university since its inception and “will continue to be consolidated in the future.”

Birzeit University President Khalil Hindi expressed his confidence in the university’s future, hoping that the forum will enrich debates on university plans and calling for the meeting to become an annual ritual.

Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mamdouh Aker chaired the meeting, noting that this is a time of crisis. "The will of other components to stand up and be counted are keys to overcoming the crisis, as in past years when Birzeit University encountered many challenges and demonstrated courage.”

Before opening the floor for discussion, Aker called on representatives of the student council, union, and alumni to present their concerns. Student council president Adham Safi called for building a genuine partnership between the student body and the university administration, including the board of trustees. Workers’ union head Sami Shaath called for periodic meetings with the board in order to achieve practical and meaningful change.

Birzeit University Alumni Association member Ibrahim Barham said that present conditions differ from those in the past, and that the present crisis cannot be solved in the old ways. He asked the university administration to be more understanding of the student movement, while students should remain aware of the changes underway.

In the ensuing discussion, the audience exchanged views and opinions about the university’s future and its relationship with its own organs and wider society.

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