Mr. Martin Daltry, the Director of the British Council in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Ms. Merna Kassis, Scholarships/Higher Education Coordinator at the British Council, visited Bethlehem University on Wednesday 2 March 2022.  

On their visit, Mr. Daltry and Ms. Kassis met with Dr. Irene Hazou, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Prof. Jamil Khader, Dean of Research, to discuss further strategies to enhance the collaboration between the British Council and Bethlehem University.

Dr. Hazou provided an overview of the challenges facing Bethlehem University and other Palestinian universities and highlighted the need to rethink the traditional approach to capacity building in research. In particular, she stressed the importance of offering diploma-granting or master’s degree programs in research that can improve the university’s profile in research and shift the focus from a publication culture to a research culture.

On his part, Prof. Khader outlined his idea for establishing a training research institute at Bethlehem University that can serve the needs of researchers at all Palestinian universities. Such an institute will work in tandem with the diploma-granting or master’s degree programs in research to provide the training necessary for faculty in research methodology and writing for publication to improve the visibility and impact of their research.

In his comment, Mr. Daltry valued the collaboration between the British Council and Bethlehem University. He expressed the British Council’s commitment to the Higher Education Scholarships for Palestinians (HESPAL) program and to the continued support of capacity building in Palestine. He also added that there are ways to explore linking HESPAL to a capacity-building program in research that can target a larger number of Palestinian scholars, by offering them training on the ground in Palestine. He hoped that the current collaboration between a consortium of British and Palestinian universities will provide the basis for more capacity-building initiatives in research in Palestine.