18 Years of Establishment
More than 20 young men and women sing with symphony and harmony “O My country we write your Name”, where the coach of the choir of Arab American University Mr. Louai Bilawi says his orders to repeat over and over again the sentence to achieve the symphony and harmony, which makes them complete "... On the sun when it fades."
The coach and violinist take an admiration glance and point out to their volunteering team and say “Those … are one of the most beautiful things in the University”
The choir is preparing for intensive weekly trainings to present its upcoming annual concert. Belawi said he did not expect this harmony among its young people. "They came from different geographical and cultural backgrounds, but music, as well as the university, is capable of loading those energies and talents and transforming them into creativity."
The historic areas of Palestine from which the members of the choir are presented come from Jenin, Jerusalem, Arraba al-Batuf, Hebron, Baqa al-Gharbiya, Daliyat al-Carmel, the Negev and the Golan Heights.
"it was a dream for these people to be able to meet with each other, and now here they are not only meeting each other but also participating in a singing choir” he said
Dean of Students' Affairs at the University, Dr. Bashar Daraghmeh gives a glance on the students standing the green yards with pride. "Without the students from the occupied Palestinian territories in 1948, we would not have been able to launch the university choir," he said. " Palestinians territories in 1948 are full of musical and lyrical talents and more open to music”. Launching the university choir is a dream come true.
In the five working days, thousands of students from all over Palestine crowded to the university gates individuals and groups, including university buildings and facilities, the modern University among the ten Palestinian universities in West Bank.
What is striking is the large number of private cars and buses with yellow registration plates that transfer students from their homes inside to their university in Jenin through Al-Jalameh checkpoint. The new visitor to this area will asked about this huge traffic on Saturday morning and Wednesday afternoon. Where he will know later on that this is a new address of the connection of Palestinian students from inside the 48 territories with students from all over Palestine and to the diaspora.
According to figures published by the Department of Public Relations at the University, the number of students for the academic year 2018-2019 exceeded 11 thousand, more than half of the students are from occupied Palestine in 1948 territories.
The University launched its educational services in 2000 as the first private university in Palestine, hosting students from various cities, villages and camps from historic Palestine. It began its journey with 200 students, with its teaching and administrative staff, the library and the laboratories.
The selection of Jenin, specifically the area between the villages of Tenein - Talfit (13 kilometers to the southeast of Jenin) to establish the university because the area lacks an educational institution with international levels, in addition it is near to the occupied Palestine in 1948 territories.
The strong start was the result of a partnership with American universities at the beginning of the second Intifada, and lived a harsh and difficult experience, yet managed to withstand, survive and develop in exceptional circumstances, said Mr. Faleh Abu Arrah Vice President for Financial and Administrative affairs.
"What counts for this university is that it brings together the people of the one country that is divided together. It's hard to say that a where ever Palestinians live haven’t come to the university as a student or a visitor," he says.
With the graduation of the first group in 2004, the graduates achieved remarkable successes in the local and international labor market.
Today, according to the Deanship of Registration, the University offers 36 bachelor's degree programs in addition to master's programs at the University's campus in Ramallah.
Students from the occupied Palestinian areas focus on medical, nursing and dental faculties at the first level, and then in the second level they go to law, media and sports sciences faculties.
On its 18th anniversary, the university announced the launching of the university's university through the launch of the university radio on 97.1 FM. It broadcasts in West Bank and Palestine 48, where they can listen to the speech of the university president, Prof. Ali Zeidan as he said that the radio is the launch of a new stage of communication with the local community. And the language and spirit of young people.
The old man in his seventies Rifat al-Qurum remembers from the nearby town of Jalqamos 18 years ago, and the size of the qualitative development that accompanied the development of the university is almost unbelievable around the university there are more than 100 residential buildings, villas and commercial stores to serve its academic staff and students.
The Right Place
When you look at classrooms, events or forums, you see the harmony between the Palestinian students from 48 territories and their colleagues from the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The dentist, Rola Farid Al Haj, from the village of Kabul, expresses her happiness for graduating from the Faculty of Dentistry at the university and believes that her excellence in the labor market is from of the excellent education she has received.
At the first she didn’t choose the university since she wasn’t convinced, but later on she said “when I got involved I realized I was in the right place".
Graduate of medical analysis Yara Yasin, from Araba Al Batouf goes back to the reason why the university chose students from the 48 territories to the success stories and the great achievements of the graduates of the university in the labor market, which leads many to choose the university to draw a distinguished professional future.
And she stresses that the parents support our coming to the university in general to remain in front of their peers away from alienation and separation.
Regarding the challenges faced by students from the 48 territories, the student in the Department of Arabic Language and Media Iyad Hassouna says that the checkpoints are the biggest challenge, especially that there are abhorrent search procedures, and the opening and closing of the crossings points are limited at certain times, forcing some to leave or to come early or live in Jenin so the do not to lose any lectures while waiting for permission from the soldier to cross the checkpoint.
The University for All Palestinians
The president of the university Prof. Ali Abu Zuhri, said that the university seeks to be a beacon of higher education in Palestine, spreading science and knowledge everywhere. It gives special importance to our students within the occupied Palestinian territories and treats them alike as their colleagues from West Bank without any discrimination. They are an essential part of our students, who seek excellence, develop their skills and enhance their experience to be ambassadors of the university wherever they go.
"This goal has become a slogan for the university," he said. "It is a slogan that embodies this principle.
Abu Zuhri asserts that the University is modifying the educational plans to suit the requirements of the jobs in the 48 territories, and the rehabilitation of students while they are still in their class seats by adding a number of courses that help them to pass the requirements of the exam practice with excellence, as is currently applied in the faculties of dentistry, Nursing, and law.
The Chairman of the Arab List in the Knesset, MP Ayman Odeh, expressed his great admiration for the university, pointing out that it is a national project and a certificate of pride for all Palestinians wherever it is, and one of the longstanding Palestinian institutions that attest to all of them. And expressed its readiness to provide any service to this university and provide what it needs because it deserves.
In light of the increasing demand and support for the university from all sides the 48 Palestinian territories, the University strives to deepen the cooperation and establish a liaison office in Nasser, developing study plans to suit the requirements of the labor market in the 48 territories and enhancing the work of the Arab community there and harness all the university's capabilities to raise and promote it.
The coach and violinist explained to the volunteers the choir “O My country we write your Name”, Is a poem by the Lebanese poet Elie Choueiri, and he wrote it in 1973 while traveling between Beirut and the United States expressing his longing for the homeland, and will tell them that the author did not expect it to become one of the most popular national songs in the Arab world, It was first sung by Joseph Azar, and was followed by many artists such as Duraid Lahham, Hazem Sharif and Farah Yousef.
The story of Arab American University seems similar to the poem. After it began as a private Palestinian national educational project, it is now growing and becoming one of the manifestations of the Palestinian expression of its worth of life and freedom.
A report from the student in public relations master program Bilal AL-Ashqar