Although the Palestinians have been the focus of world attention for decades and resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is increasingly urgent, insufficient intellectual resources have been devoted to understanding the underlying issues involved in the conflict and to developing a multifaceted comprehension of the Palestinian people. There is a pressing need for pioneering research in virtually every field and discipline related to Palestinian studies. There is an equally pressing need to enable young scholars to study Palestinian issues, so that future inquiries can be better informed and provide greater depth of analysis than have writings in the past.

The Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) was formed in 1998 to meet this need for an American institution that promotes Palestinian studies and exchange among scholars interested in Palestinian affairs. Until then, American researchers in the field did not benefit from the assistance provided by American research centers and Fulbright commissions in other parts of the world. This has contributed to the paucity of dissertations relating to Palestinian studies: only two among 80 dissertations completed in Middle East studies in 1997 and only two of 174 dissertations in 1996. Moreover, Palestinian scholars have far fewer resources at home and less access to opportunities abroad than do American and other foreign scholars. And practical, policy-oriented research in the fields of public health, urban development, and environmental studies is critically important at this stage in Palestinian institutional development.

Overall, Palestinian, American, and foreign scholars have lacked the institutional infrastructure that provides fellowship funding, logistical support, access to local resources, and a network of academic contacts. PARC was established to fulfill these roles.

Our Goals

The primary mission of the Palestinian American Research Center is to improve scholarship about Palestinian affairs, expand the pool of experts knowledgeable about the Palestinians, and strengthen linkages among Palestinian, American, and foreign research institutions and scholars. More specifically PARC aims to:

  • Increase the range, quantity, and quality of scholarship about Palestinian affairs by providing research fellowships and a field research base for advanced graduate students and established scholars.
  • Improve the quality of scholarship by increasing access to research opportunities. Many research projects need more than time and expertise for their completion. They also need funding to permit access to archival material in distant locations as well as data collection and analysis, to promote interaction with colleagues in other countries, or to facilitate exposure to new research technologies. Unfortunately, the lack of funding for research has hampered scholarship on Palestinian affairs, particularly by Palestinians. Adequate funding for research provided by PARC can help to improve the quality of research by making it possible for scholars to afford more appropriate, though more expensive, research methodologies and to benefit from more training opportunities.
  • Strengthen linkages among Palestinian, American, and foreign scholars and educational, cultural, and research institutions through reciprocal library privileges, cooperative research projects, and other ventures. Scholarship is usually improved by communication, access, and collaboration. Palestinian scholars and their foreign counterparts will benefit from opportunities resulting from formal ties and collaborative programs facilitated by PARC that are designed to improve communication, support collaborative research programs, and facilitate access to research materials and training opportunities. Moreover, PARC aspires to serve as a focal point for these institutions by serving as a clearinghouse of information about research projects, funding and training opportunities, and research materials.
  • Encourage new generations of scholars to develop an interest in and expertise on Palestine through the availability of research fellowships. Choices made by graduate students about research topics and areas of specialization are driven, in part, by the availability of funding. By providing fellowships for dissertation research and to junior scholars, PARC has the ability to influence young scholars' choices as they ponder their dissertation topics and set the courses of their careers.
  • Develop library resources to facilitate research as well as provide a clearinghouse on current research topics. Internet technology makes such material both more accessible to wider audiences and cheaper to convey. PARC has the potential to develop its own home page on the World Wide Web into a searchable database of bibliographic materials on a wide range of subjects as well as to create a limited but useful collection of books, manuscripts, films, tapes, and other materials in its facility in Ramallah/El-Bireh.
  • Improve cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of Palestinian culture and society by organizing lectures, exchanges, film tours, art exhibits, and other events, thereby enabling Americans and other foreigners to become more familiar with Palestinian culture and exposing Palestinians to American and other cultures and scholarly approaches.