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Photo of Dr Nadia Naser-Najjab

Dr Nadia Naser-Najjab

Lecturer in Palestine Studies

BA, Birzeit University. MA, University of South Carolina. PhD, University of Exeter.

I joined the European Center for Palestine Studies in 2011 as an Honorary Fellow and as an Associate Research Fellow in 2013.

Before I started my job with the University of Exeter, I worked at Birzeit University as an assistant-professor, Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, MA program in Arab Contemporary Studies and Department of Education and Psychology. 
In spring, 2010, I was a visiting scholar at Georgetown University, The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. In the same year, I was Awarded AMIDEAST “Teaching Excellence Award” that recognizes teaching commitment to teaching and non-traditional class methods.

I have an extensive teaching experience at Birzeit University in Palestine. My experience in teaching at Birzeit University raised my awareness to the need of more studies and academic research on issues related to Palestine and Palestinians. For example, teaching European Civilization to Palestinian students was an inspiring experience.

Discussions in classes drew my attention to the reaction of the students to Western theories on democracy and liberty. I noticed that students have mixed up views on the meaning of modernity and compare it to Islam teachings. This encouraged me to conduct research on Arab youth and critical thinking in relation to the current revolutions in the Arab world.

My research work is related to Palestine and the Palestine-Israel conflict with emphasis on peace process, resistance, reconciliation, civil society. My research is based on first-hand experience and original data collection. My areas of research include Palestinian women and youth.

My PhD thesis analyzes obstacles and difficulties that impede communication between Palestinians and Israelis. I explored the role People-to-People program as part of Oslo II agreement to encourage cooperation and contact as an effort to change attitudes, eradicate misconceptions and negative stereotypes among conflicting groups.

I evaluated the roles and agendas of the parties involved in the program and shed a light the asymmetry between Palestinians and Israelis that led to the failure of the program. I analyzed the discrepancy between the Palestinian and Israeli participants in such projects within the wider political situation and conflict. I discussed the international donor’s role in the joint projects. I showed that how the program minimized the conflict into attitudes and attitude change, ignoring facts on the ground related to the Israeli occupation and its practices against Palestinians.

While my own background in Social Psychology was of some help in enabling me to understand the theory, my own personal experiences (in my personal engagement with People-to-People Diplomacy Initiatives) helped me to understand how poorly attuned this theoretical framework of reference was to the practical realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

In shifting towards an alternative framework of reference, I have increasingly drawn upon the paradigm of settler colonialism. 

Research group links

Research interests

  My research is focused on deconstructing the Palestine-Israel discourse of peace and peace process since Oslo interim agreement in 1993 using settler colonialism paradigm. I focus on related issues to the peace process such as the role of the international community, including the EU in solving the conflict. I also study the changing role of Palestinian political parties and civil society in resistance. I focus, also, on the role of Israeli and international solidary groups in Palestinian struggle and resistance.

Given the rapid changes on the ground that is diminishing the prospect of the two-state solution, my research is aimed at providing alternative peaceful settlement. In my research I challenge solutions endorsed by the international community and the Palestinian leadership as the only available trajectory to peace. My recent book, Dialogue in Palestine: The People-to-People Diplomacy Programme and the Israeli-Palestinian ConflictBloomsbury Publishing, 2020. The book examines the political failure of face-to-face civil society peacemaking between Palestinians and Israelis.

Using the settler-colonialism lens will provide alternative outlook to the conflict and the solution and provide the concerned partners an alternative way of thinking. My recent publications are based on extensive interviews with Palestinian leaders of the first intifada, Palestinian Authority and civil society actors. 

Research supervision

I supervise undergraduate and MA students. At present, I supervise 6 PhD students. They work on wide variety of topics related to Palestine-Israel.

One of my undergraduate students, Alejandra De Barcena Myrsep was nominated for the Global Undergraduate Awards, 2017. Her dissertation is entitled ‘Analyse the role of Zionist movement in the reconstruction of the Jewish collective identity’. Her work was ranked in the top 10% of 6,432 submissions from students in 299 Institutions across 47 countries.  

Research students

I am second supervisor to six PhD students. My research students work on variety of topic, including history, historiography, refugees and more contemporary topics related to resistance and facts on the ground. 


One of my PhD students, Gabriel Polley published a peer-reviewed article in Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies, April 2019. The article is entitled’ From Karm al-Khalil to Kerem Avraham: A British Settler-Colonial Outpost Near Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century’.


European Center for Palestine Studies creates opportunities for our PhD students to explore and develop their research skill. In 2016, I organized and led a workshop on Palestinian Oral History in cooperation with the Jafet Library Archives at the American University of Beirut (AUB). The Archives include interviews with first-generation Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Our PhD students visited the Archives and Special Collections at the AUB and were introduced to the archive and the significance of the project. 


I am from Palestine and went to Birzeit University for my undergraduate education. I completed my PhD in Middle East Studies (Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Exeter. My thesis entitled: Palestinian-Israeli Encounters: Impact and Future Outlook.  After I earned my PhD, I worked at Birzeit University as an Assistant-Professor from 2004-2012.

I also worked with Palestinian NGOs and International organizations on Palestinian-Israeli activities and programs. I worked with international donors on evaluating People-to-People and reconciliation programs. I coordinated and chaired series of workshops on “Palestinian-Israeli Public Debate on People-to-People Program: An Evaluation”, 2006 Jerusalem Media & Communication Center.  I served as a co-editor of a special issue for Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture on ‘The Future of People-to-People, Vol.12-13 No.4 2005/6


I publish newspaper and online magazine articles in a regular manner on issues related to political events.

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