In May, Birzeit University achieved an impressive debut position in the Times Higher Education (THE) ‘Impact Rankings 2020’. The global performance table was launched in 2019 to provide an assessment of universities’ research, outreach and stewardship against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Overall Birzeit was ranked top in the Arab world, alongside three other institutions. In the category of SDG 4 – ‘Quality Education’, which measures universities’ contribution to early years and lifelong learning, pedagogical research and commitment to inclusive education ​- the university was placed 18 out 676 universities across 82 countries. 

According to the university administration, the achievement reflects a tradition of socially engaged education dating back to the founders​,​which recognises the importance of education in driving societal change.  Birzeit University has always ​had a strong sense of serving a national mission: to educate and support a people seeking their freedom from occupation. Rejecting the isolation imposed by military rule, Birzeit University has sought active membership of the international community​, drawing links between local issues and global themes of inequality.

Th​e THE ​achievement is all the more impressive in light of the daunting challenges Birzeit is facing today. Restrictions on movement for Palestinians and international faculty ​have led to a decrease in numbers of staff.  And the effects of Coronavirus on an already-struggling economy mean that even fewer students can afford tuition fees.

Nevertheless, the University community refuses to lose hope, ​moving forward with a ​determined sense of optimism. A senior member of the administration explain​s, ‘We all have professed values rather than being driven by gains or careers. This is our secret of success… working for our noble mission of providing quality education in a national institution.’

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