Bard College and Al-Quds University to Open Joint Campus

February 08, 2009

Jerusalem — Bard College, in New York, and Al-Quds University, in East Jerusalem, will open a joint college in September, modeled on the college Bard opened in Russia with St. Petersburg University a decade ago.

The Al-Quds Bard Honors College for Liberal Arts and Sciences, as it will be known, will eventually accept 100 new students each year for the four-year course. The first 60 students are expected to enroll this fall and will be awarded joint degrees from Al-Quds and Bard. The self-standing autonomous college is recruiting an entire new faculty and will occupy a building on the Al-Quds campus originally built to house the Palestinian Parliament and Yasir Arafat’s office. Applications for the founding dean of the new college, who is expected to speak both English and Arabic, have been requested by the end of February.

Bard and Al-Quds are also planning a joint program offering a master of arts in teaching (M.A.T.) and a model high school. “The honors college and M.A.T. programs are to be launched in summer 2009 and will be located on the Abu Dis Campus of Al-Quds University. The model school is scheduled to open in fall 2010,” according to a job announcement for a project coordinator advertised on Bard College’s Web site.

“Al-Quds and Bard College are initiating partnerships with public schools in the West Bank and Jerusalem representing different models of student learning,” Bard announced in its search for a director of the M.A.T. program. “Teachers in the pioneer schools will be the first cadre of students in the M.A.T. program and will serve as mentor teachers for future apprentice teachers.”

Plans for the new college were made final in a joint memorandum signed by Bard’s president, Leon Botstein, and Al-Quds’s president, Sari Nusseibeh, during a visit to Bard by Mr. Nusseibeh and his senior colleagues in August 2008. Half of the $3-million budget for the first two years is being donated by the George Soros Foundation, with the balance coming from Bard’s fund-raising programs. —Matthew Kalman