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Vision and Mission

An-Najah Constitutional Studies Centre (Hereinafter NCSC) is a new and innovative centre. ‎

The centre focuses particularly on the separation of powers; the scope of legislative, ‎executive, and judicial powers and on the structure of constitutional democracy; the ‎freedoms of speech, gender studies within constitutional agendas, press, and religion. In ‎sum, the centre is devoted to the development of constitutional building in Palestine. ‎

The NCSC grows out of the long and distinguished desire of An-Najah University to create ‎a new form for constitutional law scholarship and studies. It seeks to carry on this ambition ‎through a programme of conferences, lectures, informal “Constitutional Conversations,” ‎and fellowships.‎

The centre has no politics and takes no sides on controversial cases, but it is committed to ‎the rule of law and the idea that the constitution can be studied and interpreted objectively ‎in light of its text, history, and purposes. It advances this mission through events and ‎activities that foster scholarships, it also generates public discussion, and provides ‎opportunities for students and scholars to engage in analysis of the constitution across the ‎ideological spectrum.‎

Constitutional law in Palestine is still new and creates a rich area for research. When ‎constitutional law is taught in Palestine, the first line that first year undergraduate students ‎hear is that:‎

‘The Basic Law is not worth the paper that [it] is written on’.‎

Hence, law students start studying constitutional law with the idea that their own document ‎is worthless. They do not begin by learning the true meaning of a constitution or the reasons ‎why it is a superior law. They only hear and remember this line, which gives the impression ‎that constitutional law does not matter. For some it may seem that the Basic Law (BL) or ‎any constitutional developments in Palestine are not as pressing compared to the political ‎instability that Palestine is facing, or that there are more immediate matters to build or ‎focus on rather than a constitution. With respect to this view, constitutional law matters; it ‎matters especially in a country that faces a double transition like Palestine; a transition to ‎democracy and a transition to statehood. A constitution may not build a school or educate a ‎child, but it guarantees the right to education and worthy facilities. A constitution also ‎paves the way for the application of these rights. If the constitution only guarantees rights ‎without applying them, then it is worthless in this case.‎

Through establishing this centre, we aim to change the stereotypical idea of constitutional ‎law in Palestine, and we aim to educate a generation that understands its constitutional ‎rights, duties and freedoms. With the lack of constitutional materials that are easy to read, ‎we aim as well to produce constitutional law articles and books that are easy to read and ‎concerned with the Palestinian Constitutional framework. ‎