As the first undergraduate program of its kind in the region, the Human Rights & International Law Program of AQB seeks to produce a cadre of human rights experts who will serve not only in Palestinian institutions, but also in organizations at both the regional and global levels. The program integrates historical and conceptual approaches and offers students a rigorous foundation upon which to build meaningful, practical engagement in the field of human rights. The program aims to orient students in the intellectual traditions behind the idea of human rights and to give them the tools to appreciate and criticize contemporary notions and debates. 

The program, which is interdisciplinary in design, introduces students to scholarly and critical analysis of the historical, philosophical, political, cultural, economic and legal dimensions of the international discourse on human rights. Designed for a globalizing world, the program emphasizes not only the human rights situation within the Palestinian-Israeli context, but familiarizes students with the broader spectrum of human rights issues in the international arena. 

The program introduces human rights not simply in terms of law and diplomacy, nor simply as a product of western imperialism. Instead, it engages openly with the history and actuality of the idea of rights, teaching students to explore its development with particular attention to the scope and extent of their influence.



The mission of the program is the same as the mission of Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences: to provide a liberal arts education that promotes critical thinking, effective writing, and a spirit of independent inquiry through a process of active student-centered learning. The program also has the mission of teaching theoretical and applied human rights and international law at the undergraduate level, in English, in a way that produces graduates who are good writers, researchers, and thinkers.

The program exists not only as a major program of study, but also as a center of intellectual life on the AQB campus. The program serves as a nexus between a number of vital disciplines at AQB, including Urban Studies, Media Studies, and Political Science. The courses offered by the Human Rights Program are open to students from these and other major programs, and students in the Human Rights Program are encouraged and even required to take courses from outside the program. 

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