On 8 January 2007, the Academy held a meeting, titled “The role of the Palestine Academy for Science and Technology in the international dimension towards developing S&T in Palestine", at PALAST's premises in Ramallah.
The Academy was much honored to have the PALAST Honorary member Professor. Dagfinn Føllesdal, Professor at Stanford University and former President of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences, and Professor Sari Nuseeibah, former President of Al-Quds University, as the keynote speakers at the meeting. Scientist from Palestinian universities, Norwegian counselor Ms. Signe Guro Gilen and Deputy Norwegian Representative Ms. Grete Løchen have attended to meeting.
The former Academy secretary general, Dr. Imad Khatib, welcomed Professor Føllesdall, Professor Nusseibe and the participants and gave a brief information about the Academy current work and activities.
In his speech, Professor Føllesdal presented his reflection after visiting the Palestinian territories saying that he found the situation as rapidly deteriorating and this includes also the educational system which is affected by Israeli occupation measures either through physically targeting the educational system infrastructure or though the withholding of the PA tax revenue and other countries aid which in turn reflected on the people who could not get their salaries for months. Professor Føllesdal stressed that those countries who voted for the establishment of the state of Israel in 1947 have responsibilities and obligation to help and support the Palestinian including their educational system. The illegal Israeli settlements and the separation wall and the military check-posts have all adversely affected educational system and that the Israeli people should be aware of the hardship their government imposes on their neighbors. Professor Føllesdal quoted an old saying: “If you want to destroy the future of a country, then destroy its educational institutions.”
Professor Sari Nusseibe gave a brief speech about the problem facing the educational system in Palestine. In particular he described the effect of the separation wall on the educational institutions and how it is hard for students, academic staff, and people to commute freely. Professor Nusseibe stressed that there should be more cooperation on the academic level between international academic institutions and Palestinian academic institutions in doing joint research, mobilization and exchange of staff, etc. Speakers were also Dr. Radwan Barkat, dean of scientific research at Hebron University and Professor Munther Dajani, dean of political science at Al-Quds University.
The participants discussed several cooperative ideas that may be initiated between the Palestinian academic institutions from one side and the international concerned academic institutions. The head of the Norwegian Representative Office the PA mentioned that the Norwegian Center for International cooperation in Higher Education have several programs for supporting joint collaboration and that the program could be reached through the Norwegian Embassy. In addition cooperation with the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters could be established in areas related to organizing scientific symposia, hosting Palestinian researchers at Norwegian research centers, in addition to hosting university students for special training courses and seminars. On the school level, a recommendation was also presented to build up close ties between Norwegian schools and Palestinian schools (a system of Friendship Schools).
The Academy welcomes the significant ideas and suggestions made by the distinguished participants and hopes to aptly follow up with these.
The Academy also took the opportunity at the meeting to hand over an award to Professor Dagfinn Føllesdal to celebrate his Honorary Membership to the Palestine Academy and as an appreciation to his support to human rights issues.