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
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.
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
the range, quantity, and quality of scholarship about Palestinian
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.
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.
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.
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.
cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of Palestinian culture
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.