The Program



This distinctive study abroad program offers intellectually curious students from North American colleges and universities an unparalleled academic experience:  the chance to study in the West Bank with Palestinian students at a college dedicated to the pursuit of intellectual inquiry, the promotion of critical thinking, and the open exchange of ideas and opinions.

The Al-Quds Bard College for Liberal Arts and Sciences – located in Abu Dis, a neighborhood of East Jerusalem in the West Bank -- is at the vanguard of liberal education in Palestine.  As a result, it is a dynamic and intriguing location to spend a semester abroad.


Participants in the Al-Quds Bard Study Abroad Program will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend academically challenging classes alongside Palestinian students, including courses on Middle Eastern politics, history, and culture
  • Sharpen Arabic language skills and acquire the vocabulary necessary to navigate daily life
  • Undertake an internship, putting into practice theories and ideas from readings and classroom debates
  • Live in a homestay located in Ramallah, a culturally vibrant Palestinian city, or in other cities in the West Bank
  • Participate in excursions to important historical sites and cultural events

Al-Quds Bard College

Al-Quds University and Bard College have joined forces in a comprehensive partnership that provides Palestinian students access to a world-class liberal arts education as one way of preparing them to assume the responsibilities of leadership and self-governance in a future democratic state.

A pillar of this partnership is the Al-Quds Bard College for Liberal Arts and Sciences (AQB).  The college offers a four-year undergraduate program for Palestinian students leading to a dual B.A. degree.  Both partners seek to realize the principles and practice of liberal arts education by educating the whole person, encouraging critical thinking, and providing broad knowledge of diverse disciplines alongside in-depth knowledge in the student's chosen field.

The college, established in 2009, is housed in the Al-Quds Bard Center at the heart of the main campus of Al-Quds University.  The college currently serves a tight-knit community of about 150 Palestinian students.  Over the coming years the student body is expected to grow to about 400.

Al-Quds University

Al-Quds University is the only Arab university in Jerusalem.  Established in 1984, it was consolidated after 1995 under the presidency of Dr. Sari Nusseibeh.  It has close to 12,000 students and comprises 13 academic faculties: Arts, Business and Economics, Da’wa and Religious Studies, Dentistry, Education, Health Professions, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health, Qur'an and Islamic Studies, and Science and Technology. It has more than 30 centers and institutes: (Math Museum, Prisoners Affairs Museum, and an institute of Modern Media, Institute of Forensic Medicine, Center for Jerusalem Studies).

Institute for International Liberal Education

The Al-Quds Bard Study Abroad Program is managed by the Institute for International Liberal Education (IILE) at Bard College.  Through study abroad programs grounded in meaningful international partnerships and run as joint endeavors incorporating local students and faculty, the IILE seeks to inspire civic engagement and contribute to the just and realistic solution of global problems.  In addition to the Al-Quds Bard Program, the Institute runs study abroad programs in Germany, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and South Africa.  For more information about the IILE's work, please visit our website

The Institute for International Liberal Education is a member of the Forum on Education Abroad and adheres to the Standards of Good Practice.  The IILE also holds memberships with Diversity Abroad and the Institute of International Education, and participates in events sponsored by NAFSA (Association of International Educators) and the Council on International Educational Exchange.  Information on the current Clery Report for Bard College may be found at the Dean of Student Affairs website.


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