Nazareth Academic Institute opened its second academic year in the fall of 2011 with a student enrollment that had more than doubled since its first year. The enrollment figures proved that the college—the first academic college begun by the Arab Palestinian community in Israel—had found an audience and was meeting a genuine need.
Despite its origins as an effort to expand higher education access in the Arab Palestinian community, NAI is not designed to perpetuate the separation that so often exists between Israel’s Arab Palestinian and Jewish citizens. Instead, it combines sorely needed training opportunities with a multicultural orientation and a vision of cooperation among all people.
The college’s unique general education core prepares students for equal participation in Israeli society and governance by integrating theories of multiculturalism and skills for coexistence into the general education curriculum. The core education in peace and multicultural studies encourages students to evaluate regional issues from multiple perspectives and conflicting cultural narratives. It also fosters the skills in critical thinking, negotiation and conflict resolution students need to create solutions in a diverse society.
Specialized academic programs target specific job preparation needs, fusing liberal arts education with career training in areas of strong market demand. This combination educates students for both critical thought and concrete improvement in their earning potential, leveraging academic support for economic growth in the underdeveloped Galilee region. With a majority-female student body, NAI also promotes Arab Palestinian women’s labor force participation and economic empowerment.
During its first year, NAI offered two degree programs accredited by the Israeli Council for Higher Education (CHE)—Chemistry and Communication—with 30 students completing their first year of studies. Second-year enrollment stands at 73 students in the two degree programs. Two additional programs in Computer Science and Occupational Therapy are currently under review by the CHE, with an anticipated start date of November 2012. The college is also preparing to submit a premedical studies curriculum developed in a Fulbright-funded partnership with a professor at Cornell University. It will be the first English-language baccalaureate degree in the country.
NAI has overcome tremendous challenges for its very existence, and the college continues to address a critical funding shortfall. Despite the end of its initial ineligibility for public funding, NAI has yet to receive any funding commitments from the Council for Higher Education, despite being the only non-funded academic college in the Galilee region.
Nazareth Academic Institute speakers:
Abed A. Ali, D.Sc
D.Sc. 1992, Physics, Department of Physics, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
M.Sc. 1988, Physics, Department of Physics, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
B.Sc. 1985, Physics, Department of Physics, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
• Nazareth Academic Institution
• Engineering Team Lead, Intel Corp., Santa Clara, California, USA
• Senior Member of Technical Staff – Team Lead, KLA-Tencor Corp., San Jose, California, USA
• Senior Scientist, PRI Automation, Inc., Sunnyvale, California, USA
• Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CASE Western Reserve University and Kent State University, Cleveland and Kent, Ohio, USA
• Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Max Plank Institute, Mainz, Germany
Suher Reihani-Bisharat, D. Sc.
Born in Nazareth, Dr Reihani-Bisharat completed her D.Sc at the Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine at the Technion in Haifa. She perused her post doctoral research studies at the Carmel hospital. She has taught human biology and general biology at the Mar Elias Branch of the University of Indianapolis (Ebillin). At the same time she leads a team for preparing the occupation therapy program. She is currently the Dean of Students at the Institute of Technology, Haifa.
In addition to her work at NAI, Dr Reihani-Bisharat is the Director of the Experimental Center for Civil Society Program at the Comprehensive High School of Nazareth, and won a Teacher’s Distinction Award from the Ministry of Education for her work on this project.
Dr. Reihani-Bisharat is an Israeli living in Yaffia-Nazareth with her husband and three children.
1983-1987 B.Sc-Dept. of Biology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
1987-1990 M.Sc.-Dept. of Biology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
1991-1997 D.Sc.-Dept. of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel, Institute of Technology, Haifa
1987 B.Sc., Hebrew University Jerusalem
1990 M.Sc., Hebrew University, Jerusalem
1997 D.Sc., Technion-Israel, Institute of Technology, Haifa
2000-2002 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Carmel hospital, Technion, Haifa
Iman Said Nijim
Iman, 19, is a student at the Nazareth Academic Institute majoring in Communications. She began attending the Institute in 2011 after graduating from the Galilee High School in Nazareth. She speaks Arabic, American English and Hebrew.
Iman is looking forward to sharing her thoughts on education in Israel with emphasis on the Arab sector in the State of Israel.