King’s College London (KCL) and Al-Quds University (AQU) will be uniting to provide various graduate degree programs after a meeting was recently held between representatives from both universities. The London meeting occurred between Alexander Downer, KCL Executive Chair of the International School of Government, and Imad Abu Kishek, President of AQU. Kishek was also joined by the AQU Vice President for Development and Communications, Laith Arafeh. Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, has also been credited for facilitating this arrangement.
Specific courses offered by KCL’s International School of Government will now be offered in the Masters of Development and Institution Building at AQU. The likely goal of these new academic programs is to encourage, expand and further improve upon graduate studies coursework for Palestinians.
Al-Quds University is a Palestinian university with campuses in Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank cities of Abu Dis and Ramallah (al-Bireh). Established in 1984, the university has approximately 2,000 students in over 45 different postgraduate level programs, and an additional 13,000 undergraduate students in attendance. The school maintains fifteen diverse academic faculties and currently has cooperative agreements with higher education and research institutions across the world including, but not limited to, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Representatives from AQU have been meeting with numerous British academic institutions in order to facilitate more of these partnerships. The school has a history of similar relationships with American academic institutions. Since February, 2009 Bard College (a relatively small private liberal arts college in New York) has offered dual degree programs with AQU. Between 1998 and 2013 AQU shared sister institution status with Brandeis University (a private research university in Massachusetts) however this partnership has since been suspended following a controversial campus demonstration (5 November, 2013) at AQU.
KCL’s International School of Government has politely declined to offer any comment on the development of the collaboration between the two schools at this time. Executive Chair Downer is both a former Australian High Commissioner to the UK (2014-2018) as well as Australia’s longest serving Foreign Minister (1996-2007).
The King’s College London Action Palestine Society has also not yet replied for comment.