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School of Law

The School of Law at Queen Mary announces partnership with the Institute of Law at Birzeit University in Palestine

In the summer of 2023, two academics from the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London, Dr Thomas MacManus (Director of the International State Crime Initiative - ISCI) and Dr Tanzil Chowdhury (Co-Director of the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context - GLSGC) visited Birzeit University in Palestine as part of the FOBZU PALS Fellowship.

Dr Tanzil Chowdhury and Thomas MacManus with colleagues from Friends of Birzeit University

Dr Tanzil Chowdhury and Dr Thomas MacManus with others from the delegation to Birzeit University in 2023.

Since then, they have been in talks with the Institute of Law at Birzeit to formalise a partnership among the three research centres. Established in 1993, the Institute aims ‘to be a leading institution that produces high-quality, interdisciplinary theoretical and applied legal research.’ It is also home to the Palestine Yearbook of International Law, an ’unparalleled reference work for legal matters about and related to Palestine’.

However, Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza, which the International Court of Justice have ruled could plausibly amount to a genocide, created significant issues for the Institute. Every single university in Gaza has been, in whole or in part, destroyed by Israeli airstrikes and there have been significant restrictions, as a result, in delivering teaching at universities in the West Bank.

The partnerships between ISCI, CLSGC and the Institute of Law have now been approved by the School of Law and the Faculty. This will provide an exciting opportunity for all three centres to work on areas of mutual interest, across teaching and research, with the possibilities of future exchanges.

The Director of the Institute of Law, Reem Al-Botmeh said ‘our collaboration is at the heart of academic education, knowledge, and fostering spaces for critical approaches and research experiences.’

Dr Chowdhury, Senior Lecturer in Public Law at Queen Mary, said ‘I'm delighted that we have partnered with the leading law school in Palestine. Our commitments to scholarly inquiry and academic freedom are especially prescient at a time when Israel has killed academics, as well as destroyed libraries, archives and all universities in Gaza; as well as to impede the delivery of education in the Westbank. There is much we will be able to learn from one another through this partnership and we are really excited to include as many colleagues from both universities, as possible.’

Dr MacManus, Senior Lecturer in State Crime at Queen Mary, said ‘This partnership has come at a crucial time as we hope to contribute to resisting the scholasticide process underway in Palestine. With Gaza’s universities destroyed and nearly 5,000 students and some 100 professors killed, the need for meaningful academic and knowledge exchange has never been greater’.



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