Birzeit University students walking on campus. (Photo courtesy of Birzeit University)

Birzeit University (BZU), north of Ramallah, was among the top three percent of the best universities in the world, according to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Rankings, a BZU press release said on Monday.

For the first time, Birzeit University has been listed in the 14th edition of the QS World University Rankings 2018 and chosen among 26,000 universities worldwide to be on the top three percent of the best universities in the world. The list included about 950 universities.

This is an annual ranking of the top universities around the globe, according to WAFA correspondence. Birzeit University is the only Palestinian university to enter the QS World University Ranking this year.

The University was among 32 other prominent Arab universities from 12 different countries. The universities were chosen among 500 other Arab universities.

Birzeit University President Abdellatif Abuhijleh expressed his pride in this unprecedented achievement. He said that this international recognition is shaped by the university’s combined efforts to push the boundaries of research and provide innovative educational opportunities.

The university’s strong performance in this year’s ranking is a reflection in the quality of education and research offered by BZU, in addition to its local and international impact.

The QS rankings gave Birzeit University the highest weightage of 40% to academic reputation, followed by a 20% to the number citations per faculty, 20% for the student to faculty ration, 10% for the employer reputation, 5% for international faculty and 5% for international students.

Birzeit University has scored 1314 citations. Around 258 researches were published in the past five years (2011-2016) in different subjects.

In a domestic comparison, BZU surpassed all other institutions within the Palestinian territory. BZU places 1st in overall performance, academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty student, citations per faculty, international faculty, and international students, according to a BZU press release.

Birzeit University retained its title as Palestine’s best university in all the previously mentioned indicators, while exceeding a number of well-known regional and international universities in terms of academic reputation.

“Despite the political thwarts imposed by the Israeli occupation, and the fact that we are facing many obstacles due to our financial crisis, the university will never stop its efforts to empower its academic excellence, develop new programs, and enhance its educational and research infrastructure,” Abuhijleh commented.

In a related context, QS ranking will soon announce its new edition of the rankings of the top universities in the Arab world. In the past two years, Birzeit University was ranked first among local universities, and was ranked 50th among Arab universities in the last edition of QS.

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member and Birzeit University Board of Trustees member, congratulated Birzeit University for making the Quacquarelli Symonds Rankings of the world’s top universities.

Ashrawi, whose connection to Birzeit University goes back to 1973, said: “This global ranking affirms Birzeit University’s distinction in the top echelons of the world’s universities. Such an achievement for the University attests to the efficiency and creativity of the Palestinian people and their national universities, and it also emphasizes the history of the University and its academic success. Birzeit University, with its outstanding students, alumni, faculty, and staff, provides a unique academic experience that integrates both research and community involvement. Indeed, this great accomplish constitutes Palestinian success with distinction.”

Ashrawi said that the QS ranking “will strengthen the reputation of the University as a leader of key educational indicators in Palestine and throughout the Middle East. Birzeit University, where excellence is nurtured, pursued, and celebrated, will continue to produce emerging leaders who will shape Palestine’s future and encourage Palestinians to create the change needed to help Palestine grow and thrive in the many years to come.”

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