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Honorary Doctorate

The University has granted an honorary doctorate to a number of Palestinian figures who were academically distinguished in several areas:  political, societal, economic, humanitarian and development. Some of these characters have served the nation in the political, cultural and professional aspects of Palestinian life, and have substantially contributed to writing the Palestinian history. Furthermore, some figures continued their support for Palestinian institutions in general and Birzeit University in particular.

 Edward Said - in Humanities - 5/7/1993 
“In recognition of his post-colonial studies, as he was also an advocate for the human rights of the Palestinian people.”

Edward Said (November 1, 1935 – September 25, 2003) was a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, a literary theorist, and a public intellectual who was a founding figure of the critical-theory field of Post-colonialism. Born a Palestinian Arab in the city of Jerusalem in Mandatory Palestine (1920–48), he was an American citizen through his father. As a cultural critic, academic, and writer, Said is best known for the book Orientalism (1978), an analysis of the cultural representations that are the bases of Orientalism, a term he redefined to mean the Western study of Eastern cultures and, in general, the framework of how the West perceives and represents the East. Orientalism, and his other thematically related works, proved influential in the fields of the humanities, especially in literary theory and in literary criticism.


Omar Aggad – in Economics - 10/7/1995 
"In recognition of his role in economic and industrial development, as well as institution-building, aiming to build a modern Palestinian state in the Arab world."

Omar Aggad is a Saudi businessman of Palestinian origin, whose many companies in Saudi Arabia and other countries include United Motors, Chrysler in the Middle East, the Arabian Tiles Company (ARTIC), Arab Palestinian Investment Co., Ltd. (APIC) and others. Among numerous donations to his homeland Palestine, Omar Aggad funded the Birzeit University Faculty of Engineering building. In recognition of his pioneering role in the Palestinian economy, institution-building and new industry creation, which contributed to modern Palestinian state building, Birzeit University awarded Aggad an honorary doctorate in business administration and economics.


Mahmoud Darwish - in Literature - 7/7/1996
“In recognition of his numerous awards for his literary output and was regarded as the Palestinian national poet.”

Mahmoud Darwish, the national Palestinian poet, was born in 1941 in the village of al-Birwa in the Western Galilee. His mother was illiterate, but his grandfather taught him to read. After Israeli forces assaulted his village of al-Birwa in June 1948 the family fled to Lebanon, first to Jezzin and then Damour. The village was then razed and destroyed by the Israeli army to prevent its inhabitants from returning to their homes inside the new Jewish state. A year later, Darwish's family returned to the Acre area, which was now part of Israel, and settled in Deir al-Asad. He eventually moved to Haifa. He published his first book of poetry, Asafir bila ajniha or Wingless Birds, at the age of nineteen. He initially published his poems in Al Jadid, the literary periodical of the Israeli Communist Party, eventually becoming its editor. Later, he was assistant editor of Al Fajr, a literary periodical published by the Israeli Workers Party (Mapam). Darwish left Israel in 1970 to study in the USSR. When he joined the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1973, he was banned from reentering Israel. In 1995, he returned to attend the funeral of his colleague, Emile Habibi, and received a permit to remain in Haifa for four days. Darwish was allowed to settle in Ramallah in 1995, although he said he felt he was living in exile there, and did not consider the West Bank his "private homeland." Darwish’s writing and its central theme of homeland has been translated into 20 languages and won numerous awards. He died in August 2008. 



Abdul Mohsin Al-Qattan - in Management Science - 5/1/1999 
"In recognition of his vital role in building and supporting the Palestinian public institutions that contribute to community and citizen development.”

Abdel Mohsin Al-Qattan, Palestinian philanthropist and business and cultural icon, was born in Jaffa on November 5, 1929. Abdel Mohsin studied at the Arab Higher College in Jerusalem, headed by Palestine’s leading educator of the time, Khalil Sakakini. In this secular but nationalist environment, the young man flourished, showing a keen interest in Arabic poetry and history. Qattan taught in Jordan as a young man before moving to Kuwait, where he was recruited as controller general of the Ministry of Water and Electricity. In 1963, he founded Al-Hani Construction and Trading Company with 10,000 dinars of savings and a bank guarantee from a Kuwaiti friend. The company would eventually become one of Kuwait’s largest contracting firms. In 1969, during the Palestine National Council held in Cairo, he was elected speaker, a post he would resign a few days later after the PLO factions refused to agree on a unified command of the organization’s military and financial assets. This marked the end of his direct involvement in politics. In the early 1990s, Qattan turned his attention almost exclusively to charitable work. In 1994, the A.M. Qattan Foundation was launched in London and by 1999, had become fully active in Palestine through a range of educational and cultural projects. The A.M. Qattan Foundation is today one of the leading cultural and educational institutions in the Arab world. It has an annual budget of over $2.2 million, almost entirely underwritten by the Al-Qattan Charitable Trust, and more than 70 staff working in Ramallah, Gaza City, and London.



Haseeb Sabbagh – in Business Administration - 20/4/2000 
"In recognition of his efforts in community development and his continuous support for the Palestinian institutions, including Birzeit University."


Yousef Suleiman Na’was – in Business Administration - 3/7/2004 
" In recognition of his efforts in community development and his continued support to Birzeit University."


Said Tawfiq Khoury – in Regional development - 4/6/2010 
"In recognition of his efforts in community development and his continuous support for the Palestinian institutions, including Birzeit University."


Mohammed Omran Bamieh- in Business Administration - 22/1/2011 
"In recognition of his efforts in community development and his continued support to Birzeit University."


Mohammed al-Masrouji - in Economics - 3/6/2011 
" In recognition of his efforts in community development and his continued support to Birzeit University."


Walid Khalidi - in Humanities - 3/6/2011 
“In recognition of his significant contributions to the writing of the Palestinian history and historical narratives."

Walid Khalidi, born 1925 in Jerusalem, is an Oxford University-educated Palestinian historian who has written extensively on the Palestinian exodus. He is General Secretary and co-founder of the Institute for Palestine Studies, established in Beirut in December 1963 as an independent research and publishing center. Khalidi's first teaching post was at Oxford, a position he resigned from in 1956 in protest at the British invasion of Suez. He was Professor of Political Studies at the American University of Beirut until 1982 and thereafter a research fellow at the Harvard Center for International Affairs. He has also taught at Princeton University. Khalidi was co-founder of the Royal Scientific Society of Amman. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Ibrahim Jamil Dakkak - in Community Development - 18/5/2012 
“In recognition of his many cultural, professional and political services, and his role during his chairmanship of Birzeit University Board of Trustees.”


Ghalib Muhammad Younis – in Business Administration - 18/5/2012 
“In recognition of his services to the Palestinian community."


Munib R. Masri - in Political Science and Economics - 18/5/2012 
" in recognition of his contribution to community development and Palestinian statehood."

Munib Rashid al-Masri (b. 1934), is a Palestinian industrialist, statesman, and patriarch of the al-Masri family, currently serving as chairman of the Edgo Group, a multinational energy and engineering conglomerate, and of PADICO, a holding company that controls 35 companies spanning industries as diverse as telecommunications, construction, tourism, energy, banking and finance, and agriculture. He is widely described as the world's richest Palestinian, with personal holdings that reportedly account for a third of the Palestinian economy.

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