RAMALLAH, Saturday, March 13, 2021 (WAFA) - Beshara Doumani, a professor of history at Brown University, will be the next president of Birzeit University, according to a university press release.
The University's Board of Trustees announced that Doumani will succeed Abdullatif Abuhijleh, whose term as president concludes by the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.
In their announcement, Birzeit University's Board of Trustees cited Doumani's outstanding academic qualifications and administrative experience, as well as his engagement with Birzeit University from 1981 to 1983, when he worked as an instructor in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies.
Doumani holds Brown University's inaugural Mahmoud Darwish Chair for Palestinian Studies, the first endowed chair of its kind established at a US university. He is the founding director of Brown University's Center for Middle East Studies, which he led from 2012 to 2018.
In 2013, Doumani launched the New Directions in Palestinian Studies Research Initiative, which brings together researchers and academics to advance engaged scholarship in this field. He also led a team from 2008-2010 that produced the strategic plan for the establishment of the Palestinian Museum.
Doumani's research focuses on social histories of ordinary people who have been neglected in mainstream scholarship. He has written on Palestinian peasants and merchants and on women and family life in Palestine during the Ottoman period. He also published a book on academic freedom and produced several special issues of peer-reviewed journals. He is editor of the Palestinian Studies book series with the University of California Press and co-editor of the Jerusalem Quarterly. He also serves as a member of the Editorial Committee of the Journal of Palestine Studies and as a member of the Research Committee of the Institute of Palestine Studies.
Doumani joined Brown University after 14 years at the University of California, Berkeley, and eight years at the University of Pennsylvania. He was awarded fellowships by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University.
Doumani is married to Ismat al-Atireh, an alumna of Birzeit University who graduated in 1982. They have two daughters.
Doumani's appointment at Birzeit University marks the conclusion of Abuhijleh's tenure as president of the university. Since Abuhijleh took the helm of the university in 2015, it has developed remarkably, gaining high positions in international rankings and establishing new faculties and academic and community-engagement programs, said the university press release.
With his prudent leadership, it added, Abuhijleh was able to guide Birzeit University through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He focused the efforts of the faculty and staff on the transition to distance- and blended-learning models and ensured that the university continued to perform its role as a leading Palestinian and Arab educational institution.
Abuhijleh will continue to perform his duties in his capacity as president of the university until the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.