A team of scholars and students led by York Professor Saeed Rahnema, from the School of Social Sciences, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, has been awarded funding from the federal government's Canada Corps University Partnership Program. The award is one of only 10 awards in a competition which was open to all Canadian universities. The York University project is targeted towards establishing undergraduate programs in public policy and administration at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem for the purpose of training future Palestinian civil servants.
Left: Saeed Rahnema
Canada Corps is an initiative developed by the federal government's Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to promote good governance and institution-building in developing countries and fragile states. It combines new and existing programs to send Canadian expertise overseas under one umbrella organization. The initiative mobilizes citizens, non-governmental organizations and all levels of government.
In the first phase of the Canada Corps University Partnership Program, two York students were awarded funding for international internships in developing countries to do research related to public policy. A third internship has just recently been offered to York as part of this same program. (See June 30 issue of Yfile.)
The second phase of the Canada Corps program was a competition for funding towards a major international project to be carried out by a team of university faculty and students. The York team is comprised of Rahnema and Greg Albo and Robert MacDermid, professors from the Faculty of Arts' Political Science Department, and two graduate students and one undergraduate student, all with backgrounds in public policy and administration coupled with a familiarity with the region.
"This is an excellent opportunity for our students to participate in the design of educational programs that assist the establishment of good governance in Palestinian territories," said Rahnema. "Al-Quds University's plan to establish public administration programs aims at training of future Palestinian civil servants, and the York team hopes to have an important contribution in this process."
Right: View of Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, at night
The Canadian team will work with professors and students at Al-Quds University as well as with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to design degree and certificate programs to educate future public employees and politicians in critical aspects of democratic governance and administration.
Al-Quds is one of the largest Palestinian universities with campuses in East Jerusalem and Abu-Dis. Two students and one faculty member from Al-Quds University will be involved in all aspects of the projects and curriculum development. The Palestinian team will visit York University and identify and work with Canadian government agencies at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. The Canadian students will work with the Al-Quds Department of Political Science, and Palestinian National Authority Ministries, and gather information and documents needed to develop a curriculum tailored to Al-Quds and the PNA's needs.
The extensive knowledge of the York faculty members involved with the project as well as their background in the area of public administration and knowledge and expertise in Middle Eastern countries will help make this excellent program a success. Faculty involved with the project have been involved in advising during the establishment of University programs in a number of different developing countries including Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Iran, Jordan, Vietnam, South Africa and the Palestinian National Authority.
The goal of the project is to provide field experience for Canadian students so they can learn about development administration and good governance. The project will also contribute significantly to the development of good governance and university capacity which will eventually allow these efforts to become self-sustaining.
Visit the on the Canada Corps Web site for more information initiative.