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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Learning should be a university-wide activity

Published: November 13, 2009
Section: Editorials

Last week, The Hoot editorial board lamented the lack of actual learning opportunities on campus in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This week, it appears there is a cure to the aforementioned problem in the form of the 13 Palestinian students, faculty and staff visiting Brandeis from Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem. Unfortunately, no one knew about this opportunity until it was too late.

In 2003, Brandeis formed a partnership with Al-Quds University intending to “foster cultural understanding and provide educational opportunities for students, faculty and staff.” The last time students from Al-Quds came to Brandeis was in 2006, with all the subsequent exchanges occurring when Brandeis students visited the Palestinian university.

While Israeli-Palestinian relations is certainly a hot-topic on campus, oftentimes debates and arguments take place in an academic setting, and result in the two sides clinging to their ideals without tangible progress toward understanding their differences. And even when the debate occurs outside of the classroom, the results are much the same.

The visit from the Al-Quds community members, who will leave the university today, marks a great learning opportunity for members of the Brandeis community not only to discuss the conflict in a real-world arena, rather than an academic one, but also allows community members to hear a point of view not often available at Brandeis.

However, the arrival of our Al-Quds partners was virtually unadvertised to the community at large, with many events involving the Al-Quds students being restricted to only those Brandeis students who participated in the exchange.

How can students be expected to learn from the Al-Quds visitors if the are unaware of their presence? You can’t have an open mind with closed doors.