On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, An-Najah National University held the fifth live webinar about constitutions and the state of exception, as part of the "Palestine During COVID-19: Impact, Response, and Co-Existence" series of webinars, which have been organized by An-Najah University to tackle both the immediate and long term effects of COVID-19 on the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
A selected international high level group of experts and professors of constitutional law, politics and philosophy participated in the webinar; namely, Simon Mabon, Professor of international relations, Chair in International Politics at Lancaster University, and Director of the Richardson Institute, Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, Dr. Francesco Biagi, Senior Assistant Professor of Comparative Public Law at the Department of Legal Studies of the University of Bologna, Asem Khalil, Professor of public law, and Chair of H.H. Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Constitutional & International Law at Birzeit University, and Sanaa Alsarghali, Assistant Professor of Constitutional Law, and Director of the Constitutional Studies Center at An-Najah University.
The webinar started with a presentation by Dr. Al-Sarghali titled: “Introduction to Constitutions and State of Exception: Main Focus Palestine”. She said:" The question of whether ‘States of Emergency are fast becoming the rule and not an exception in the MENA region during COVID-19’ is pertinent. Thus, we would like to explore in this Webinar if Palestine’s response to COVID-19 demonstrates what Giorgio Agamben calls ‘the State of Exception,’ wherein exceptional laws and powers become normalized."
Also, the webinar included several presentations, titled: " state of exception and MEANA region", “The Evolution of Constitutionalism and Emergencies in the Arab World”, “Arab constitutional courts in times of emergency”, and “Beyond the COVID-19 Palestinian Internal Emergency Debate: Permanent State of Exception, Multiple Emergency, and the Absent Sovereign” given by Prof. Mabon Prof. Brown, Dr. Biagi, and Prof Khalil respectively.
The webinar was attended by lawyers from the Palestinian Bar Association, professors, and current undergraduate students of law from local and international universities who are interested in the webinar.
At the end of the webinar, Dr. Al-Sarghali engaged in a question and answer session with the webinar's speakers and participants. It was moderated by Dr. Mona Demaidi, Computer Engineering Assistant Professor at An-Najah National University.