Press Release

December 7, 2010 |ANERA and Al Quds Break Ground for New Engineering School

December 7, 2010 | Jerusalem – ANERA’s President Bill Corcoran and West Bank/Gaza Country Director Dr. Ken Lizzio joined ANERA donors Najjad Zeenni and Fawzi Kawash and Al-Quds University President Dr. Sari Nusseibeh today at the groundbreaking ceremony for the university’s new Najjad Zeenni Faculty of Engineering.

Thanks to Mr. Zeenni’s generous $3 million donation, ANERA will supervise the construction of the new engineering faculty and partially equip and furnish the school as well. Preparations got underway in November. Construction starts in December, following the groundbreaking ceremony. The project will generate a number of jobs in the coming months as construction activity picks up.

“We are here today for a noble cause,” stated Najjad Zeenni. “Perseverance and endurance when added to intelligence and education creates a successful formula. In order for us to develop our country, we must invest in education and educational institutes.” At 62, this is Mr. Zeenni’s first trip the Palestinian Territories. He was born on a boat heading to Beirut as his family was escaping the war in 1948.

The faculty, in a total area of 5,000 m2 (49,000 sq ft), will include a three-story building consisting of six teachings halls, 12 teaching and research laboratories, one spacious architecture studio, two multipurpose rooms, three meeting rooms, and an auditorium which can function both as a theatre and a teaching hall holding up to 200 students.

“Al Quds and Mr Zeenni, who is himself a successful engineer, have correctly identified that the future of youth and Palestinian society relies on creating a highly skilled workforce,” said ANERA President Bill Corcoran. “ANERA is pleased to work with them on this important and practical goal. With outside investors, the talent of Palestine can be put to work.”

The new faculty will offer four undergraduate programs, including new courses such as Communication Engineering, Biomedical Technology, Civil Engineering, and Architecture Engineering, as well as graduate programs.

“ANERA is one of the most giving and committed international organizations dedicated to Palestinians. Its successful partnership with Al-Quds University resulted in the establishment of the IT Center of Excellence and other projects, and today ANERA is our partner in building the Najjad Zeenni Faculty of Engineering,” said AQU President Nusseibeh.

The new facility responds to a growing demand for engineering expertise. Another important objective is to develop the existing programs that focus on electronics, computer, and materials engineering programs and to integrate them with computer science and information technology programs.