For the Full Integration of Palestine into the Global Learning Community

We are pleased to announce the launch of The Bisan Lecture Series (BLS) in concert with Scientists for Palestine and the Bisan Center for Research and Development. It will take place every second Wednesday of the month at  7pm Palestine time (6pm Central European Time, 12noon US Estern time) during the academic year.

The BLS aims at the full integration of Palestine into the global learning community. It sponsors discourses on subjects of cultural, scientific, and societal importance by leading research experts and public intellectuals of varied heritage and viewpoint. The interactive webinars are free and open to the public, and recordings of each will be posted soon afterward.

The first lecture will be given by Prof. George Smith (University of Missouri, Nobel laureate in chemistry in 2018) on March 9, 2022. The second lecture will be given by Dr. Honaida Ghanim (Director of the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies “MADAR”, Visiting Professor at Birzeit University) on April 13, 2022. The titles and abstracts are available here and here.

The Bisan Center for Research and Development which sponsors the BLS and which gives it its name, is a non-governmental, nonprofit, democratic and progressive Civil Society Organization (CSO) that seeks to enhance Palestinian abilities and potentials for building an active civil and democratic community. It was established in 1989 and officially registered with the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in 2004. The Bisan Center aligns itself with the poor and marginalized in Palestinian society, as it works to support their struggle in advancing their socioeconomic rights and builds partnerships with other progressive institutions. Among other activities, the Bisan Center regularly produces research reports centered on various problems of development, gender, youth, and social justice. These reports are published (in Arabic) in its annual journal Al-Taqadomi, which is peer-reviewed and focused on issues of development.

The Bisan Center is one of the six prominent Palestinian civil society organizations designated by the Israeli Defense Minister “terrorist organizations” on October 19, 2021.   This baseless defamatory accusation targets organizations recognized for their professionalism and competence in the field of human rights through research, exchanges, advocacy and training activities. Their work is frequently cited by United Nations experts and major international NGOs. The Israeli decision to declare them “terrorist”, with the intention to defund them and make them cease to operate, is a new step aimed at criminalizing Palestinian civil society actors. It constitutes a new violation by Israel, the occupying power, of international humanitarian law and of its obligations as a state party to the various human rights conventions to which it has acceded.

The BLS is a response by the international academic community to the Israeli attacks on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular their rights to education and academic freedom. We stand in solidarity with the six Palestinian NGOs targeted by the Israeli government, and through them with all Palestinian civil society, in particular with Palestinian academics and students.

The BLS website is accessible here. To receive BLS announcements, you can subscribe to the mailing list here. Zoom registration for the first lecture by Professor George Smith is open here.

The BLS Steering Committee: Ahmed Abbes (CNRS & IHES, Paris), Ubai Aboudi (Bisan Center for Research and Development), Michael Harris (Columbia University), Islah Jad (Birzeit University), Assaf Kfoury (Boston University), Mario Martone (King’s College, London), Anat Matar (Tel Aviv University), Haynes Miller (MIT), George Smith (University of Missouri).