Philosophical Readings in Times of Corona
Approaching the third month of quarantine, Al-Quds Bard College (AQB) is coping very well with the new situation by working hard to make the best out of it. AQB Second Year Seminar Course (SYSEM) which is a core philosophical requirement course taught at the College by AQB Dean Dr. Dan Terris, Dr. Nicolas Veroli, and Dr. Sobhi Samour has brought a new perspective to the students regarding the status quo. During a Zoom plenary session/roundtable discussion on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, AQB Community - students, staff, and faculty - discussed Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality, v.1, featuring a very controversial text from Part 5, "Right of Death and Power over Life".
A Magnified Digital Image of New Coronavirus on the Left, and A Portrait Photo of the French Philosopher, Michel Foucault on the Right.
In this text, Foucault analyzes how political power intervenes in our daily lives in the form of a "bio-power," a force to control life, even down to the biological level. Students shared thoughts on the biopolitical dimensions of the current pandemic and their effects on everyday life, whether in Palestine or globally, and the extent to which these bio-powers affect - or even constitute - emerging debates around Coronavirus. In the event, students, faculty, and Bard network community members wrestled with such questions as to how will the COVID-19 crisis end? Who will we be when this is all over, and what kind of world will we be living in? These kinds of virtual discussions, which are common currency in the AQB classroom, can open our community's eyes to different ways of looking at the contemporary world.
Molecular Genetics Program is Now at AQB
Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences (AQB) is thrilled to announce to its community the recognition and the accreditation to its brand new program "Molecular Genetics" (MG) by the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education. With this recognition, the Molecular Genetics becomes the only bachelor program of its kind in the West Bank, Palestine. What differentiates AQB Molecular Genetics from other disciplines is its curriculum that adopts a liberal Arts approach. In the classroom, students would read philosophical texts such as "The Republic", by Plato or novels such as the Plague by Camus; at the same time conducting intensive lab experiments on bacteria and writing academic research about viral diseases.    
AQB Students from the Left to  the Right, Ra'isa Khalil, Jenan Khalil, Anfal Abu Hilal, and Laila Jabber, Conducting Experiments at the Lab. 
Also, the program uses English as the teaching language, the universal scientific language. This lead to highly proficient molecular biologists who can communicate well and can produce well written scientific papers and proposals which is a significant challenge for international scientists. 
 According to AQB vision, this program would pave the way for Palestinian students to conquer new job fields. Since AQB encourages interdisciplinary tendencies, the program aims to graduate biotechnologists, genetics and biology specialized technicians, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and medical research specialists. Additionally, allows the graduates to be national and global health specialists who can perform efficiently in times of international pandemics; as well as, bioinformatic technicians who can apply mathematical techniques and computational biology to solve biological problems such as gene sequencing.
AQB Students Reflections on the Study Aboard Experience
By Loaa Aldarawish

As a Human Rights student, I believe that the best approach to know and feel the suffering of others and be able to defend their rights is to deal with as many people as you can; the poor, the weak, the starving, the sick, etc. A human rights advocate could deal with these groups by living in their communities, understanding the pain from their perspectives. 

My first step towards being a Human Right defender like the one I described above was when I spent a semester at Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) in Belgium which is considered one of the most prominent places that have international diversity. I went for academic experience and knowledge, but I received so much more than that. It was a great time to spend with friends from other nationalities and cultures. We all met different cultures, distinct thoughts, and diverse perspectives. We had a lot of joyful moments, and we created our memories.

AQB Student, Loaa Aldarawish, in France as a Part of Her One Semester International Academic Exchange Program at Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) in Belgium.
Studying abroad widened my experience and opened new windows in my soul to what pain, happiness and what success can be. Studying abroad has exceeded all of my expectations. I came back home with a completely new perspective about European culture after I have travelled around Europe during my residence in Belgium. Honestly, I can say that it was the most delightful experience of my life so far, and I'm so grateful for everything I've learned!
For now, after I came back home, I am working on my senior project, which is discussing gender-based violence from an international view. I will concentrate on my research on domestic violence happening against women; meanwhile, domestic violence is recognized in international law as a violation of human rights. I will try to figure out why gender-based violence persists around the world until now, even though there are lots of international conventions and declarations made to protect them. Such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1945, CEDAW convention 1979, Declaration of the Elimination of Violence against Women 1993, and Istanbul Convention 2014, all still come to nothing in protecting all women's rights from domestic violence.

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