Al-Quds University (AQU), through the Centre for Jerusalem Studies, is in the process of establishing a Jerusalem Research Program (JRP) which embodies the AQU role of offering a vibrant learning environment while creating a hub for creativity, exchange of ideas, and freedom of expression and innovation of research. JRP shall also manifest the vision of Al-Quds University to continue to provide the best possible education with values that enable engaged citizenship, openness for new ideas, cooperative endeavors, and respect for world cultures. Currently, the Centre for Jerusalem Studies has three main programs. The first includes awareness field tours and taught Arabic as a foreign language; the third is the MA program in Jerusalem Studies. The proposed Jerusalem Research Program complements the existing programs by generating knowledge and advancing interest in the city and its society on a broader scope becoming an address and a hub for advanced academic focused research on Palestine in general and on Jerusalem in particular.
Over thousands of years, with the succession of generation one after another, Jerusalem has been assembled stone by stone, layer over layer, each situating itself, carrying the next. It is a built experience signifying a monument that has withstood hardship and drastic changes. It is no wonder that the old city has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1981. Looking at the facades of some old buildings in the Old City, one sees each nuanced-lime in the tapestry of time, telling a story - a caption of history. The diversity, the holiness, the fascinating mix of simplicity and complexity, of peace and struggle, of hope and despair, portray a multi-layered representation of civilizations that penetrate the human senses.
This urban life forms a unique dialectical dynamic of daily life in Jerusalem's inhabited space. Yet these combined compose part of the everlasting affiliation, affection, and yearning to cup, if but a gulp, of the distilled thought, conviction, knowledge and wisdom flowing from it. Indeed, Jerusalem shapes both those who revere its existence, and those who wish to unlock and harness its metaphysical powers according to their design. Jerusalem ever-standing presence out-lives them all.
Jerusalem and its society is a focal point for Al-Quds University (AQU), which is the biggest Palestinian institution in it. The Centre for Jerusalem Studies (CJS) is one of AQU’s several facilities located within the Separation Wall and pivotally in the Old City. Consequently, it seeks support to create a research program integrated with the other programs of the Centre for Jerusalem Studies to advance knowledge, promote academic research of students, researchers and faculty members, and to generate the growth of educational programs with a multi-disciplined orientation. This would also aim to encourage and engage a young generation from Jerusalem (and the globe) to research issues concerning the city and its society beyond the conflict particularly since the number of students who complete advanced university studies in Jerusalem is decreasing as youth rely heavily on employment in Israeli job market.
AQU is the best environment for engaging in such a dynamic institutionalized knowledge production of and about Jerusalem, its society, its history, its present and its future across approaches, disciplines and fields. Research, being an important means for advancing knowledge, understanding and examining ideas, is crucial for making informed decisions, inspired by vision and drawing from the resevoired richness of Jerusalem. This with the purpose of generating fresh ideas and themes related to Jerusalem and for the benefit of the society of Jerusalem, the country, and potentially communities of the globe.