American and British Students Visit the University, Nablus city and its Refugee Camps



A group of students from Harvard, Princeton and Sussex universities visited An-Najah National University, the city of Nablus, and its refugee camps on April 3, 2007. 


The students arrived at An-Najah National University on April 3rd and were welcomed by the Public Relations Department with warmth. They were given a full tour of both the old and new campuses by a delegation of student volunteers. The most impressive part of the tour was the new campus, which is still being expanded.  All of the laboratories are fully equipped with the necessary equipment and the university buildings and grounds are in remarkably good shape, particularly considering the economic difficulties that are facing both the university and its students as a result of the siege that has been placed on Palestine. The campuses are incredibly beautiful and they are made even more so by the multitude of students that pass through the halls, fill the classrooms and socialize in the courtyards. 


To a visitor, the most remarkable aspect of the university, and of the city of Nablus as a whole, is the vitality of its students and people. Disheartening news reports may lead most foreigners to conclude that Nablus is a city defeated by its occupation.  However, this is anything but the case. Though Nablus and its people have suffered and continue to suffer greatly from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, it does not show in the life of the city. Nablus and its people are very much alive and they are the first to say so. 


A visit to the old city reveals buildings that were constructed over hundreds years ago and are still inhabited and bustling today. The most ancient and modern nestle side by side in a city which is of incredible diversity. The natural setting of the city is unparalleled in its beauty. The city is strung along a narrow valley between two mountains. Its buildings, which are made of magnificent local white limestone, in contrast with the verdant green of the land, grace the steep slopes of the opposing mountains. 


Furthermore, the people of Nablus are unfailingly kind and hospitable. Visitors are never treated with anything but the utmost kindness and warmth and the strength of the landscape is reflected in the indomitable pride and quiet grace of the people who inhabit this blessed place. Despite its troubled history, Nablus proves that life continues, and even thrives, through the grimmest of circumstances. One leaves Nablus with regret, but comfort comes from knowing that Nablus will not only persist, it will flourish.


Christian Millian, Princeton University, American University in Cairo