York University has signed a University-wide collaborative academic agreement with Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.
The agreement was signed by York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri and Professor Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University, during a special ceremony held this spring at the University's Keele campus.
The impetus for the agreement between York University and Al-Quds came from Professor Saeed Rahnema of the Department of Equity Studies, who is project director and facilitator for the York/Al-Quds relationship.
"We are excited about this agreement, and welcome the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Al-Quds University," said Shoukri. "York recognizes the value that these agreements have in enhancing the teaching, research and educational experience for faculty and students. The agreement with Al-Quds highlights our strong mutual interests and will see us extend our collaboration in a variety of disciplines."
Rahnema says the new agreement with Al-Quds will foster increased opportunities for both students and faculty members. "The agreements signed were the Collaborative Academic Agreement and the Student Exchange Protocol. The areas of collaboration, in case external funding is secured, involve establishing a public policy and administration program, including a school of public policy and administration at Al-Quds University." said Rahnema, "We will also explore other areas of collaboration in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), the Faculty of Health, and distance continuing education with the Canada International Scientific Exchange Program (CISEPO), which already has connections with Al-Quds."
The agreements also lay the groundwork for future activities including professional development through York University's Faculty of Education, assisting in establishing a Faculty of Engineering at Al-Quds University, English language training through the York University English Language Institute (YUELI) for Al-Quds faculty and students, and collaboration between libraries at Al-Quds and the York University Libraries.
As part of his visit to York University, Nusseibeh had a personal meeting with Shoukri, which was followed by a group meeting with members of York University's administration, including: Patrick Monahan, York vice-president academic and provost; Martin Singer, dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies; Harvey Skinner, dean of the Faculty of Health; Alice Pitt, dean of the Faculty of Education; University Librarian Cynthia Archer; Associate Vice-President International Lorna Wright; Rahnema and associate deans and faculty members among others.
"Nusseibeh also took time out of his busy itinerary to meet with some of the members of a goup of students known as the Friends of Al-Quds U at York University, a student club dedicated to fostering collaboration with the university," said Rahnema.
York University's involvement with Al-Quds University dates back to 2001 when York political science Professor Haideh Moghissi, together with Rahnema, contacted Al-Quds University as part of a Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI) project funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada. From there, a later Ford Foundation grant led by Moghissi helped expand relations with Al-Quds University, and two groups of 15 students and researchers were brought to York University for courses on research methodology. Four Al-Quds faculty members also visited and spent time at York University.
In 2005, Lorna R. Marsden, former president & vice-chancellor of York University, Adrian Shubert, York's former associate vice-president international and two York officials visited Israel. Shubert spent the better part of a day at Al-Quds.
Also in 2005, a team of scholars from York University led by Rahnema visited Jordan and the West Bank to prepare a proposal for establishing a public policy and administration program at Al-Quds University. The project was funded by the Canadian government through its Canada Corps program administered by the Canadian International Development Agency; see YFile, July 18, 2005.
In 2007, a joint conference by the Ministry of Women's Affairs of Palestine, Al-Quds University and York University was organized in Ramallah.