17 October 2022

Al-Quds Bard College Graduates its 10th BA Cohort and 12th MAT Cohort for the Academic Year 2022

Al-Quds Bard College Graduates its 10th BA Cohort and 12th MAT Cohort for the Academic Year 2022

October 13th, 2022

JERUSALEM, ABU DIS | Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences celebrated the graduation of the undergraduate and graduate classes of 2022.

The graduation ceremony was preceded by the annual Al-Quds Bard College Coordination Council meeting. Dr. Imad Abu Kishek, President of Al-Quds University, Dr. Leon Botstein, President of Bard College in New York, and Dr. Daniel Terris, dean of Al-Quds Bard College, met with the Bard New York delegation and AQB staff to discuss diverse aspects of collaboration, and to unveil the Open Society University Network Social Entrepreneurship Project. The meeting concluded with the signing of the AQB a Master Agreement between Al-Quds University and Bard College.

The graduation ceremony was attended by the president of Al-Quds University, Dr. Imad Abu Kishek, the president of Bard College in New York, Dr. Leon Botstein, the dean of Al-Quds Bard College, Dr. Daniel Terris, and honored guest, H.E. Ambassador Hind Khoury, as well as the university’s vice presidents, deans, faculty, staff, the graduates and their families.

Dr. Rana Al-Surkhi, Assistant Professor in Applied Linguistics at AQB, welcomed President of Al-Quds University, Dr. Imad Abu Kishek to deliver his opening speech. Dr. Abu Kishek acknowledged “the great dream” that started fourteen years ago, of establishing the liberal arts in Palestine: “At the beginning of our partnership, no one believed that this crazy experiment in liberal arts education in Palestine would last. Now, fourteen years later, the college has not only survived, but it has thrived.” Dr. Imad Abu Kishek commended the graduates for making AQB come to life, through their studies, and through the implementation of their good ideas.

President of Bard College in New York, Dr. Leon Botstein, echoed Dr. Imad Abu Kish’s words of pride for the success of Al-Quds Bard, and its graduates. In the midst of so much bad news, Dr. Leon Botstein asked the crowd gathered, to indulge in this “rare example of good news. Of two educational systems working together, the Americans and the Palestinians, to create new educational opportunities for undergraduates and for teachers, in an effort to develop all the talent and ambition that resides in Palestine.”

Dr. Leon Botstein concluded with a message of hope: “We hope against all hope, and you represent that hope, that education is essential for freedom, for peace, and for understanding.” 

The dean of Al-Quds Bard College, Dr. Daniel Terris, welcomed the graduates and their families, and proposed a theme for the ceremony: freedom. Dr. Terris called forth many freedoms that are restricted in Palestine. Yet he reminded the class of 2022, that there is “one kind of freedom that is not restricted and can never be shut down. That is freedom of thought.  Freedom of the mind.  Freedom to inquire and ask questions. Freedom to develop revolutionary ideas and ideals.” Dr. Terris commended the class of 2022 for taking full advantage of this freedom as students at AQB. He praised their accomplishments across the disciplines and emphasized the lasting impact of their civic engagement projects.

Dr. Terris encouraged the class to continue their quest for freedom in their lives beyond the college, in Palestine, and throughout the world.

Dr. Terris’s speech was followed by a lively performance from The Association for Funonyat Folklore Dance Troupe from Ramallah.

The performance was followed by guest speaker, H.E. Ambassador Hind Khoury. Ambassador Hind Khoury first commended the partnership between Al-Quds University and Bard College: “This kind of education, that prepares our youth to connect more effectively with the world, armed with professional, modern tools, and knowledge, is highly commendable and necessary.”

MAT graduate speaker, Georgina Mukarker, spoke about the valuable tools and experiences she gained in the AQB MAT program. Ms. Mukarker expressed gratitude on behalf of the graduating class, for the support of their families and their professors: “AQB is a place where you learn from your experiences because every encounter here is to enrich you and to enrich your sense of self-discovery. The MAT program will always be a special chapter of our lives and a cornerstone for our next, bright future.”

BA graduate speaker, Raghad Afghani, spoke about the great impact AQB makes on the way students think, learn, and participate: “Al-Quds Bard College was the first place that asked for our opinions, perspectives, and doubts.” She thanked her professors for teaching her class how to “present debates, [and] negotiate our assumptions based on high academic standards and deep analysis.” Ms. Afghani emboldened her classmates to be doers, not only dreamers.

The speeches were followed by another performance from the Funonyat Dance Troupe. This was followed by the presentation of awards, degrees, and the Qatar scholarships.

Ghada Nabeel Suliman Katbah was honored as the MAT valedictorian, and Dan Abu Koash was honored as the BA valedictorian.

Dr. AmnehBadran, AQB Assistant Dean, called on the names of AQB MAT graduates, to receive their degree holders from the Presidents and the dean as well as to be awarded by Qatar Scholarship Director at AQB, Dr. Issam Khoury. 31 of MAT graduates are the recipients of Qatar Scholarship and to be the first cohort of this generous scholarship to graduate from AQB. Along with that, 32 BA graduates walked and received their degree holders from the presidents and the dean.

Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences is the only liberal arts college in Palestine. Graduates earn a dual US/Palestinian degree across eight programs: Molecular Genetics, Biology, Computer Science, Social Thought, Economy and Policy, Human Rights and International Law, Urban Studies and Spatial Practices, Literature and Society, and Digital Communications. AQB also offers a unique MAT program oriented towards teaching modern pedagogical techniques in five tracks: Biology, Math, General Science, English, and History.