Columbia opens Palestine studies center


(JTA) — Columbia University opened its Center for Palestine Studies, despite a shortage of funds for the project.

The center, which was inaugurated Oct. 7 with a screening of Palestinian director Michel Khleifi’s “Zindeeq,” is the first of its kind in the United States, according to the student newspaper, the Spectator. It will be run out of the university’s Middle East Institute.

The center aims to promote and advance Palestine studies on subjects ranging from politics to the arts, the Spectator wrote. It also will promote scholarship and facilitate exchanges with scholars, students and academic institutions in the West Bank and Gaza, according to reports.

It was created to honor the late Professor Edward Said, who died in 2003 after teaching at the university for 40 years.

Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia and editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, and Professor Brinkley Messick, chair of the school’s anthropology department, will serve as the center’s co-directors.

Khalidi told participants at the inauguration that the center is sorely lacking funds to accomplish its goals.

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