Bard, Palestinian university creating programs together

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON — Bard College has signed a memorandum of understanding with a Palestinian university to create new programs in and near Jerusalem designed to improve the Palestinian education system.

The collaboration with Al-Quds University is expected to create an honors college for liberal arts and sciences, a master of arts in teaching program, and a school for grades 5-12.

In a statement announcing the agreement, Bard President Leon Botstein said it is “the first dual-degree collaboration between a Palestinian university and an American institution of higher education. If the prospects for peace in the Middle East are to improve, efforts at cooperation and exchange in the areas of education and culture must be increased, particularly between institutions in the civil societies.”

The Al-Quds Bard Honors College for Liberal Arts and Sciences will offer a four-year interdisciplinary curriculum, with graduates receiving receive dual bachelor of arts degrees from Al-Quds University and Bard College.

The Al-Quds Bard Master of Arts in Teaching Program will grant dual master’s degrees from Al-Quds and Bard.

The Al-Quds Bard Model School will support the improvement of Palestinian secondary education. The Model School, which will eventually include grades 5-12, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010 with grades 9-12.

Bard College has received partial funding for the project in the form of an initial commitment of $1.5 million from the Open Society Institute. The grant must be matched and significant funds raised for needs including faculty and staff salaries, library resources, and student scholarships.