Rooting Development

in the Palestinian Context


About us Blog


The Project Rooting Development in the Palestinian Context integrates and builds on the developmental challenges, experiences, and popular strategies of various segments of the Palestinian population in the Westbank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan and Lebanon. It derives from the particularities of the Palestinian people and the specific challenges faced as a result of the fragmentation and territorial displacement from decades of Israeli rule.
Through bridging the divide between academic knowledge producers, community-based knowledge and development strategies, the project aims at building alternative knowledge and practices of development that move beyond Eurocentric, Western models.

CDC Zarqa

About us

Founded upon the previous APPEAR project, the Center for Development Studies (CDS) at Birzeit University (BZU) and the Department of Development Studies (DDS) at the University of Vienna continue to deepen and articulate an alternative vision for development.

The project integrates and builds on the developmental challenges, experiences, and popular strategies of various segments of the Palestinian population in their different locations, in order to bridge the divide between academic knowledge producers and community-based knowledge and development strategies.

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  1. To work out the Palestinian development agenda Rooting Development by establishing a community of critical knowledge producers (researchers, intellectuals, activists, political actors).
  2. To train new fieldworkers from Palestinian communities in Jordan and Lebanon.
  3. To establish an advanced training programme at CDS.
  4. To build an academic network for a young generation of researchers and fieldworkers from the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Austria.

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trainees Lebanon


Jour Fixe in Vienna: Turkey and the war in the Arab world

IMG_4573June 17th 2016

with Dr. Hakan Akbulut, Scientific Researcher, Austrian Institut for International Affairs

The projects research cluster ‘Conflict and Development’ regularly invites interested colleagues to discuss current developments in the Middle East. After a first event in the beginning of April which revolved around developments in Syria, the latest session questioned the role of Turkey in the region.


In the course of the last years both media as well as academia focused increasingly on Turkish foreign and domestic policy. In the center of attention is the involvement of Turkey in the wars of Iraq and Syria, the escalations in the Kurdish territories, the repression of scientists, intellectuals and journalists, as well as the agreement on the regulation of the movement of refugees between the EU and Turkey. Within our Jour Fixe these dynamics and their potential interconnectedness had been discussed. Designed as an open forum, the Jour Fixe is a place to exchange ideas, questions and common reflections.

Workshop: Rethinking research in/on Palestine

25th of June, 2016
The research cluster Conflict and Development based at the Department of Development Studies (DDS) organized a workshop to “Rethink research in/on Palestine”.

Since the Oslo accords, scientific research in/on the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) has been reshaped by transformative Israeli occupation practices, the implementation of a neoliberal development agenda, and processes of societal restructuring of Palestinian communities. Shifting power relations through conflict and war also highly influenced and reconfigured knowledge production and its political implications. At the same time, many Palestinian scholars have been formulating a longstanding critique on orientalised, Eurocentric and top down research agendas and argue for alternative research methods, methodologies, and epistemologies.
The workshop provided a space for advanced MA students, PhD candidates, and early career researchers from European universities to critically discuss their research projects regarding the following questions:

    • What are the main methodological, epistemological, and political challenges we are confronted when researching in/on Palestine?
    • What are the main contradictions we are facing when doing research on Palestine at
      European universities?
    • What does it mean to decolonize knowledge production on Palestine?

The fruitful workshop was a starting point to establish a network of PhD students and researchers that can be further elaborated due to a lacking of institutionalisation of Palestine Studies at European universities.


Project Launch at Al Azhar University

The Deanship of Planning and Quality Assurance, represented in the Dean Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Okasha and his assistant Dr. Ali Abu Zaid, organized an introductory meeting for the selected researchers to participate in the activities of “Rooting Development in the Palestinian Context” Project.

With funding from APPEAR (Austrian Partnership Program in Higher Education & Research for Development), the project is executed in partnership with Birzeit University and the University of Vienna. The project’s objectives included providing an alternative vision of development based on the integration between the different sectors of the Palestinian society and striving to reduce the gaps between academic theory procedures and methodologies based knowledge in order to preserve the Palestinian identity and consolidate the Palestinian development status that is different from the international models.

From Birzeit University, Mr. Ghassan Abuhatab, Projects Coordinator in the Development Studies Center stressed the specialty of this project on connecting together the researchers from the Gaza strip, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and the researchers at the University of Vienna. From AUG, Dr. Abu Zaid, the project coordinator said that the Deanship will supervise the application of the project’s activities which will be implemented for 3 years.


Original post at AUG