Peaceful Resistance: Building a Palestinian University Under Occupation

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by Gabi Baramki (Author)

Book Description

Palestine and Palestinians have had few role models for the process of setting up and running a state. Years of denial by Israel of Palestinian rights - to statehood, health, education, justice, and the freedoms of travel and community that other people take as the norm - have meant that Palestinian success stories are few and far between. This book describes one of those success stories through the memoirs of a man who can be seen as a role model for persistent, energetic and principled action. Since 1968, Dr Gabi Baramki, co-founder of Bir Zeit University, and his colleagues have shown how it is possible to resist Israeli’s actions against the Palestinians, not for resistance’s sake but as a means of demonstrating the abilities of Palestinians to defeat the aims of occupation and govern themselves. From its founding, the West Bank institution became a beacon of learning, open to the best students irrespective of income. It continues to produce scholars, administrators, leaders and confident, idealistic young people. The cost of achieving this has been shocking. Israel first tried to break the university through forced closures. Since it reopened, staff and students have been detained, often without trial. Israeli soldiers have stormed the university, shooting unarmed students. In this book, Baramki describes the decisions, the people, and the actions that took Birzeit from a small community college to one of the leading educational institutions in the Middle East. The lessons of Baramki’s story have significance for anyone seeking to understand the problems facing Palestine in the years ahead and how to overcome them.

About the Author

Gabi Baramki was born in 1929 in Jerusalem. He was educated at Birzeit school, the American University of Beirut and McGill University in Canada. He has been devoted to education at Birzeit for his entire life, including 19 years as acting President of the University. He was a founding member of the PEACE (Palestinian European Academic Cooperation in Education) Programme and was an elected council member of the Pugwash conferences on Science and World Affairs from 1992-2002. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Council for Higher Education (established in 1977), which helped coordinate the work of tertiary educational institutions to maintain their independence under Israeli military occupation. For his work in promoting Palestinian Education and understanding among nations during difficult times, Dr. Baramki received the Medal Palme Academique with the rank Officier from the French Ministry of Education.

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