Birzeit University has been named as one of the top universities in the world, according to international rankings.
Birzeit was ranked in the top 2.7 per cent of universities worldwide, an improvement on last year’s ranking when it was listed among the top three three of higher education institutions. Birzeit was the only Palestinian university to be included in the rankings, which surveyed 26,000 universities from 85 different countries.
The rankings were published by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British company specialising in collecting and analysing higher education data. QS graded the universities based on six metrics, including academic reputation, faculty-student ratio, employer reputation, citations per faculty, international student ratio and international faculty ratio.
President of Birzeit University, Abdullatif Abuhijleh, congratulated the university’s community on the achievement and applauded efforts to distinguish it, according to Wafa. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Birzeit’s Board of Trustees, added: “This recognition […] is a reflection of the efficiency, excellence and creativity of the Palestinians and our national universities. This distinctive accomplishment also highlights the academic history of Birzeit University and constitutes a success felt by the entire Palestinian nation.”
Located north of the West Bank city of Ramallah, the university has faced repeated repression by Israeli occupation forces. In March, undercover Israeli soldiers assaulted and abducted Birzeit student council leader, Omar Al-Kiswani, after they entered the campus pretending to be journalists. Al-Kiswani was detained in the Israeli Al-Moskobyia Detention Centre and his detention repeatedly extended. In a statement, Birzeit said that Israeli occupation forces “systematically invade the university’s campus – even though it is specifically protected under international humanitarian law – and constantly harass students, faculty members, and staff.”