Jerusalem – U.S. and Palestinian officials concluded the first ever U.S.-Palestinian Higher Education Dialogue, an initiative that invests in viable and robust partnerships between American and Palestinian institutions of higher education and the private sector to strengthen institutional capabilities, enhance educational opportunities for young Palestinians, and foster critical workforce skills.
The U.S. delegation included Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson; Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs; Paige Alexander, USAID Assistant Administrator for the Middle East; and Consul General to Jerusalem Donald Blome. The 19-person Palestinian delegation was led by the Palestinian Minister of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE), Dr. Sabri Saidam, and included university presidents and vice presidents, representatives from the MOEHE, and private sector executives. The Palestinian delegation returned home from the United States over the last two days.
The Dialogue, which is part of a broader U.S. effort to invest in the Palestinian economy and civil society, aims to build sustainable relationships between these universities in which both sides benefit from knowledge transfers and private sector linkages. The decentralized U.S. education model means that U.S. and Palestinian universities can be creative, flexible, and dynamic in the ways they partner. During the Education Dialogue, the U.S. State Department announced three new educational initiatives:
- A $342,000 grant for An Najah University and Northwestern University to launch an apprenticeship program to provide students with the necessary practical training to make them more prepared for the workforce.
- A $352,000 grant for Atlas Corps to provide at least 12 young Palestinian businesspeople with one-year internships at U.S. companies.
- A USAID grant for AMIDEAST’s Leadership and Teacher Development project to strengthen digital literacy in classrooms and introduce basic software design in 450 Palestinian schools.
The U.S. Consulate General – through its Public Diplomacy Section (PD) and in partnership with the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested more than $30 million dollars in 2016 to support the Palestinian education sector.