The Launch of an Alumni Country Chapter in Palestine

Haneen Salameh, Tony Bero and Wafaa Saadeh

— Alumni Board of the Palestinian UNU-GEST Country Cha…
Haneen Salameh, Tony Bero and Wafaa Saadeh — Alumni Board of the Palestinian UNU-GEST Country Chapter —

The UNU-GEST developed an Alumni Strategic Plan for the period of 2016–2018. Its purpose was to strengthen and formalize such communication among former UNU-GEST fellows by enhancing their interaction and by recognizing the importance of an alumni community for exchanging views, resources and knowledge related to gender equality.  UNU-GEST sees its role in the Alumni Network as a sponsor of action plans and as being responsible for their advancement. For the alumni community to function for its own benefit, fellows in each country shall have a major role and organize the work of the local alumni network according to their needs.


Dr. Irma Erlingsdóttir, the Director of the UNU-GEST programme, visited Palestine in June 2018 where she, among other things, met with former UNU-GEST fellows. At an annual country meeting, three fellows were chosen to form the first Alumni Board for the Palestinian UNU-GEST Country Chapter: Tony Bero (Project Manager at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Haneen Salameh (Legal Researcher at the Palestine Government’s General Attorney Office) and Wafaa Saadeh (Legal Researcher at the Office of the Quartet- Rule of Law Team).  For the next two years, Bero will act as the Chair of the Board whose role is to ensure that alumni’s views and needs related to the Alumni Network are taken into consideration as well as to organize annual country alumni gatherings. At a follow-up meeting the Alumni Board decided that the Country Chapter would focus on the following:

Immediate Objectives

  • To create a support system between former alumni and fresh alumni. The alumni will support new students enrolled in the GEST programme and provide them with information related to the programme, courses, benefits and challenges.
  • To serve as a platform for former fellows/alumni to discuss gender-related issues through sharing thoughts, skills, knowledge and experiences.
  • To advocate within the Palestinian communities and organizations for gender issues in Palestine.   
  • To enhance UNU-GEST alumni visibility among key stakeholders in Palestine.
  • To strengthen the partnership between UNU-GEST alumni in Palestine and UNU-GEST.


Action Plan for 2018–2019

  • The Palestinian alumni will create an online platform where all former UNU-GEST fellows are able to share their views, knowledge, and new tools related to gender studies.
  • The Country Board will organize the next Alumni Annual meeting. The meeting will be organized as a one-day event with two different parts: (1) a conference and (2) as a workshop/short course. At the conference, 3–4 former fellows will present the implementation of their UNU-GEST final assignments or other projects they have led or been part of where gender is a core issue.  The workshop and/or a short-course will be on a theme of relevance to the alumni members. Two issues were specifically discussed at Dr. Erlingsdóttir meeting with former alumni: (1) Gender and Climate Change — a Palestinian Issue?  And (2) Is Gender Budgeting a Tool That Might be of more Use in the Palestinian Communities? The theme will be chosen later this year through the alumni platform.  
  • UNU-GEST will invite Palestinian alumni to participate in the design and/or the implementation of UNU-GEST projects (collaborative projects, research and/or short courses) in Palestine.  (1) UNU-GEST projects to conduct a short course on gender budgeting in Palestine in 2019. Interested alumni will be invited to join the course with the aim of gaining expertise in the area and to use this expertise in their field of work; (2) A project on justice for victim-survivors of sexual violence is also planned in collaboration with former alumni.”