Columbia University in New York inaugurated the Center for Palestine Studies on Thursday, officially launching its first year of public programming with a screening of Palestinian director Michel Khleifi's Zindeeq, the university said.
Founded in January 2010, the center is the first devoted to the study of Palestine and Palestinians at an academic institution in the US. The university's website said the center's mission is to promote the academic study of Palestine "in all its forms and to offer a dedicated site for sustained interchanges among scholars and students."
The center will also promote scholarship and facilitate exchanges with scholars, students, and academic institutions in the West Bank and Gaza, and among refugees and others in the Palestinian diaspora. It aims to advance the production and circulation of knowledge of Palestinian history, culture, society, and politics in diverse scholarly fields, including history, literary studies, the social sciences, religion, philosophy, law, archaeology, the arts, and architecture.
Forming part of the university's Middle East Institute, the center will serve as an institutional home at Columbia for faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and students working on Palestine and Palestinian studies.
"The Center is actively developing contacts with scholars and other institutions for the purposes of academic cooperation. Through its diverse activities, the Center for Palestine Studies will have a national and global reach. Enhancements to the curriculum, library and faculty at Columbia will translate into new resources to advance the academic study of Palestine and Palestinians throughout the United States and the world," the website read.
The university said the center honored the scholarly legacy of Edward Said, who taught at Columbia for 40 years. "Edward Said's legacy continues to draw prominent scholars of Palestine to the university. Columbia annually hosts the prestigious Said Lectures, which bring distinguished international figures to the campus."