The Bard Palestinian Connection
(formerly the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative) is involved in the
building of civil society in the West Bank. Through education, cultural
and exchange programs, sports and literacy camps, the building of
children's libraries, and hands on service and construction projects,
Bard students and staff contribute to the creation of a viable and
sustainable Palestinian state.
BPC is dedicated to the building of civil society in the West Bank.
Bard students study the history and culture of the Middle East. Many of
them study Arabic. They have traveled to Washington DC and met with
leaders from all the constituencies involved: Americans, Palestinians,
Israeli's and both Muslim and Jewish organizers. One of the conclusions
they have reached, and that has been corroborated by many, especially
the Palestinians, is that that creating a strong, working Palestinian
civil society is the best way to resolve the challenges of the region.
are working closely with the Village Council in Mas'ha to create
programs that are mutually beneficial to Bard and to the Palestinians.
These are all based in education and cultural exchange. In the spring
of 2011 a small representative group from the Village Council will visit
Bard and their town, Red Hook, NY. The idea is to establish formal
relationships between Bard-Red Hook-Mas'ha, with the hope of including
local area residents in BPC programs. This might take the form of
homestays for Palestinians visiting in the future and local teenagers
from Red Hook participating in Mas'ha.
college, through its students, intends to raise money for and help
build a children's library in every West Bank town, one at a time. Of
course this will require the development of partnerships with each
village, and the development of long term funding sources.
Some of the innovative aspects included with this program are:
Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative (BPYI) is the only entirely
student-run Palestinian engagement program in the United States.
2009, the BPYI sponsored and arranged for the first Palestinian
educational group to visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in
In 2010, the
BPYI working hand in hand with village craftsmen built the first
children’s library in Palestine. The ribbon on the new library was cut
jointly by the Governor of Salfit Province and the American Consulate.