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.


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.


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.


Become a student at Al-Quds Bard College, a unique place to find your voice & purpose!

Do you want to start a civic engagement project? Contact us NOW!

Contact our Civic Engagement Coordinator: Christopher Wedeman at email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Do you want to start a civic engagement project, but you're not sure how to begin? Below you can find resources to help you design and implement a successful project

Visit the civic engagement resource library.

Connecting with the OSUN and Bard International Networks

Al-Quds Bard College belongs to a larger network of partner institutions that promote and coordinate civic engagement programs. Civic engagement is at the forefront of many international activities conducted by Bard Center for Civic Engagement (Bard CCE) and the Open Society University Network (OSUN) assisting young voices in shaping and envisioning the future of their communities with wider societal change. These activities are implemented through the values of access and inclusivity encompassing diverse voices working to empower marginalized and underrepresented groups. AQB plays a central role in organizing a number of unique activities targeting students from across the Bard and OSUN networks: 

The Annual Get Engaged Conference

The ultimate purpose of this conference is to bring together young change agents and social entrepreneurs with civic engagement projects from across the network to engage in skill-oriented workshops with a highlighted focus on leadership, public speaking, networking, community partnerships, innovation, fundraising, and emotional intelligence. A number of AQB student leaders have participated in this conference taking place in Turkey and Hungary for eight years, bringing their unique civic engagement projects ranging from educational projects to environmental sustainability projects to light and building partnerships with changemakers from networking institutions.

The Global Fellowship Program

This program brings together a group of exceptional student leaders from different partner institutions in the Bard and OSUN networks to supervise and coordinate thematic civic engagement projects and empower other students to become active members in their communities. Three ambitious students from AQB have participated in this program and managed to help organize open exchanges and valuable workshops for student leaders across the network.

The Global Debate Program

This program consists of a network of students, faculty, and staff creating meaningful pathways of exchange and collaboration across the network by engaging in inter-collegiate competitive debating, public debates, virtual debates, and classroom debates alleviating students’ academic performance, critical thinking, active listening, and public speaking skills. The AQB Debate Club plays a prominent role in helping organize different tournaments across the network, as well as professional critical thinking and public speaking workshops for young debaters.


Mailing Address

Main Campus, Box 51000 

Beit Hanina, Jerusalem, Palestine