WHAT IS CIVIC ENGAGEMENT? 

Civic Engagement is the active participation in individual and collective efforts to address societal needs. Civic Engagement can take the form of activism, advocacy, volunteerism, community-engaged research, or any act that fosters a healthier environment and contributes to the common good. Al-Quds Bard College considers civic engagement a fundamental and inseparable part of a liberal arts education and encourages its faculty and students to link classroom and community, to develop and organize projects to bring about meaningful and positive changes in society, and to contribute to shaping the future of Palestine.

 

CONNECTING CLASSROOM AND COMMUNITY

Al-Quds Bard College is committed to developing knowledge grounded in the lived experiences of Palestinians and strives to produce students civically engaged in their communities who realize their full potential as community actors and educators. The College aims to achieve this goal is by offering structured paths for students to merge curricular and co-curricular pursuits which enrich their academic experience and provide a tangible benefit for the community:

  • Bridging Classroom and Community Courses: These are courses that combine academic learning with methodological training in civic engagement and visits to community partners at the frontline of preserving Palestinian heritage, designed to make knowledge and learning palpable, and to enrich understandings of lived realities with theoretical frameworks.
  • The Civic Engagement Certificate: This is a certificate offered by the College for a learning pathway that combines co-curricular projects and activities with classes focused on theories of citizenship, democratic participation, civil society, and social action offered by a network of global institutions affiliated with al-Quds Bard.
  • Civic Partnerships and Internships: Al-Quds Bard strives to create affiliations with local organizations in order to create opportunities and mechanisms for students to visit and gain experience and knowledge with those working for social and economic justice in Palestine. When possible, AQB students have access to enriching experiences interning with Palestinian civil society organizations.
  • Qatar Connection: The Education Above All Foundation (EAA) in Qatar offers scholarship opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to facilitate access to high-quality US and Palestinian-accredited undergraduate and graduate education. All scholarship recipients are required to complete civic engagement hours (35 hours for undergraduates and 10 hours for graduates each semester), and to participate in various Qatar Connection activities.
  • Community Action Awards/OSUN Fellowships: Outstanding civic engagement projects are recognized by Al-Quds Bard, and students receive assistance to develop and carry out effective and influential initiatives on campus and in their communities.

STUDENT-LED INITIATIVES

Al-Quds Bard College encourages Student-Led Initiatives (SLI) whereby students design and manage projects based on their curiosity, passion, and personal and communal needs. Student-led initiatives are a way for students to connect, build relationships, and gain first-hand experience in community organizing, activism, and topics of their choice.


Al-Quds Bard College offers professional workshops, strategic counseling, and connects students with community partners and experienced individuals in order to equip students with the necessary skills to lead and sustain civic engagement projects that can range from simple campus activities to initiatives that impact an entire village, neighborhood, or the international arena. Below are some examples of active student-led initiatives on campus:


 

  • The Brains Club: this initiative aims to play a crucial role in addressing and treating mental health challenges caused by the prolonged military occupation of Palestine and resulting intergenerational trauma. The project aims to counteract the stigma around psychological treatment in Palestinian society by spreading awareness regarding mental health and guiding students to form healthy habits, nurturing relationships, adopt effective study techniques, and integrate neuroscience and psychology into various aspects of their lives.

  • Womenity Club: this initiative aims to challenge and change prevailing societal mentalities that perpetuate discrimination against women. Through educational sessions and outreach initiatives, Womenity Club seeks to create awareness about the social, economic, and political rights of Palestinian women, and to empower Palestinian youth and mobilize them to assess gaps in legislation, provide feedback for the improvement of laws related to women's rights, and contribute to fostering a society free from gender-based discrimination and violence.

  • The Debate Club: a continuation of multiple years of intra-campus activities nationally and internationally. The Debate Union is one of AQB's most influential initiatives as students have participated in local debate tournaments in other Palestinian universities, as well as international tournaments in countries like Hungary, USA, and Spain. It encourages students to stay alert and always think on their feet as they develop the skills of debating academically about all types of topics using solid and structured tools to stay focused and coherent.

  • EcoAQB for Eco Footprints: an environmental sustainability club that aspires to organize unique eco-friendly activities, skill-derivative workshops, and environmental campaigns to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues in Palestine. The club assists students in identifying environmental problems in Palestine and strives to use the available resources to come up with creative solutions to these problems, and to introduce mitigation practices, recycling, reduction, and reuse method, and contribute to AQB community building via inclusive activities that benefit both staff and students.