AQB Students Receive OSUN Grant For Creative Writing Project


Al-Quds Bard College community is glad to congratulate our excellent students, Shadin Nassar and Ramez Hayek, on receiving a microgrant on their student-led-initiative project "Written Voices." On February 5th, 2021, the Open Society University Network (OSUN) proudly announced the recipients of its 2020 round of microgrants for student-led initiatives in the areas of community engagement and human rights, and the arts. Twenty-two awardees received grants totaling more than $17,000 for a diverse set of initiatives launching this spring and summer in Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

For the first time, OSUN's new Center for Human Rights and the Arts at Bard College awarded eight grants of $1,000 each to students leading work, research, or engagement initiatives located at the intersection of human rights and the arts. Recipients include Shadin Nassar and Ramez Hayek for their proposal, Written Voices, a project that develops creative writing in Palestinian schools and institutions through workshops and classes.

Shadin Nassar and Ramez Hayek, in the middle, at one of their Written Voices' workshops.

The Written voices project comes as a community-response to the urgent need for creative writing in Palestinian schools. Shadin and Ramez notice that many promising student-writers are neglected and not given proper assistance to improve their skills, especially those who want to pursue art in their future careers. With the significant impact following the implementation of this project, more people will accept the idea of having creative writing implemented in schools and educational institutions as part of the Palestinian educational system, which is the ultimate goal that this initiative works to achieve.

A part of the project's objectives is to change misconceptions about creative writing: such initiatives include the publishing of a book on creative writing, conducting a writing contest in Palestine, and organizing the second annual Written Voices Summer Camp.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Beginning My Master's


By: Ayat Kanaan
I thought I was prepared. I assumed that research and constructing the best study plan would be all I needed to be well equipped for my Master’s in Immunology at King’s College London. After all, it took me an entire year to narrow down locations, compare every university, and apply to scholarships. Little did I know this year would be the most testing of all.
When I was at Al-Quds Bard College, I was fortunate enough to be part of an innovative project about breast cancer with Dr. Zaidoun Salah. Although I had been a Biology major with a minor in Chemistry since 2013, going to a lab every day rejuvenated my love for Biology. This led me to volunteer at laboratories after graduation, and that was when I was introduced to Immunology. Studying how the immune system plays a crucial role in drug therapy illuminated potential career paths. Since I knew that an MSc degree would be a focused and specialized form of training, I decided that would be my next step.
To get there, I underwent a rigorous application process consisting of applications for both the scholarships and the universities. One must have support in this process. I was grateful for AQB professors such as Dr. Mahmoud Khalid and Dr. Zaidoun Salah for always being available to constantly edit recommendation letters. The process also included acquiring transcripts, writing personal statements, answering prompts, and attending interviews. I kept track by making lists within lists. I was grateful to end up being a joint Said Foundation and Chevening scholar. Once everything was coordinated, I prepared for take-off.
Ayat Kanaan at Kings College London.
 Before I left for London, I once again depended on making lists to organize information about the city, the food, the university, the courses, and the weather. Even so, nothing prepares you. Your MSc, regardless of what subject it is in, will challenge you. You will feel like a fish out of water and you might have a few missteps. No matter how many maps I perused, I still got on a few wrong trains. However, I was relieved that with each passing week, I settled into a steady routine. I found my favorite study spots, became acquainted with different teaching styles, and even started avoiding morning traffic. Then, COVID-19 hit.
I was told that every MSc experience is different but it is safe to say that every student felt the same loss this year. Whether it was stopping classes, preventing mobility, or terminating research, students everywhere had to re-adjust due to the pandemic. On the other hand, we gained the element of time. I was able to re-evaluate and reconnect. Being tugged away from everything I was familiar with provided me with clarity. Once we were forced to stop our research in the labs, we all accommodated change. Online meetings and email check-ins became the norm. We created our dissertations remotely and learned the value of independence.
Perhaps I would have been more prepared if I had my current knowledge about the city, the university, or the upcoming pandemic. However, this is what I wish I knew: I wish I knew to not attempt to control or predict my experience. I have learned to love the discomfort of uncertainty. One thing I am sure of is that my MSc in Immunology displayed its importance through its relevance in the present state of the world. I am currently writing for scientific magazines and pursuing my career in the pharmaceutical industry that specializes in immunotherapies. I aspire to spread awareness on relevant research through my writing and examine how immunology is a distinct thread to other fields in Biology such as cancer.

AQB Announces 
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding 
with Amnesty International - MENA


A sign that has a slogan that might belong to Amnesty International. The photo was taken from The internet’s source of freely-usable images.
Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences is glad to announce that during January 2021 has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Amnesty International – MENA. The main purpose of this cooperation is to offer one internship/volunteer position for AQB human rights students at the Amnesty International – MENA, Human Rights Advocacy Unit in Ramallah-Palestine. 
AQB Human Rights and International Law Program is continually working on building new cooperations and connections with local and international organizations and institutions in pursuing its mission and providing academic, intellectual, and practical experience to its students.
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