|Students||approximately 15,000 (as of August 2012)|
|Location||Ariel, West Bank|
|Colors||Teal, Navy and White|
Ariel University (Hebrew: אוניברסיטת אריאל), previously a public college known as the Ariel University Center of Samaria, is an Israeli university located in the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the West Bank.
The college preceding the establishment of Ariel University was founded in 1982 as a regional branch of Bar-Ilan University. Originally located in the settlement of Kedumim, it moved to Ariel where it built a larger campus and went on to become the largest Israeli public college. In the 2004–05 academic year, the affiliation with Bar Ilan ended and it became an independent college.
On 17 July 2012, the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria voted to grant the institution full university status. This move was praised by the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Education Gideon Saar, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and some Knesset members as well as Nobel Prize in Economics winning mathematician Robert Aumann. The Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities condemned the move. A survey in 2013 found that 65% of the public in Israel supported the recognition of Ariel University as Israel's eighth university.
Ariel University has 26 departments for B.A., B.Sc. and B.Arch. studies, in three faculties and three schools. In addition, Ariel University offers a master's degree programs for M.A., M.B.A. and M.Sc. In 2014, Ariel University initiated a Ph.D. programs for Doctorate studies also. In 2011, it had a student population of 14,000, with a branch in Tel Aviv. All degrees are recognized by the Council for Higher Education in Israel.
Ariel University cooperates with international organizations and universities all over the world. The university and its staff have been the target of boycotts, both in Israel and overseas, for its location beyond the Green Line, in the Palestinian territories.
In 2005, the Israeli government supported upgrading the college to university status. The change of status was not immediate since the Council for Higher Education in Israel must approve such changes. In July 2006, the Council rejected a proposal to merge several regional colleges in the Galilee. Based on the findings of a committee appointed by the Council, it was decided not to approve the establishment of any new universities in Israel for the next five years.
Upgrading the college to university status was controversial. Settlements such as Ariel are considered illegal under international law by the international community, and Palestinians see them as an obstacle to peace, but the Israeli government disputes this. Said British Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt: "We are also deeply disappointed in the decision to upgrade Ariel’s university centre. Ariel is beyond the Green Line in a settlement that is illegal according to international law. (...) We reiterate our call on Israel urgently to reverse these decisions".
In August 2007, prior to achieving official university status, the college was renamed the "Ariel University Center of Samaria." Although Prime Minister Ehud Olmert endorsed the change, both Minister of Education Yuli Tamir and the Council for Higher Education said they would block it, with the latter announcing in 2008 that they would not recognise degrees awarded by the college. The name change was recognised in 2010, although the college remained without university accreditation until it was approved in July 2012.
In January 2014, Czech ambassador Tomas Pojar visited Ariel University. Pojar was the first ambassador from an EU country to visit the school.
Students and faculty
Current enrollment at the university is about 14,000, including Jewish (secular and Orthodox), Arab, Druze, and Circassian Israeli students. It also has the largest number of Ethiopian-born students in any Israeli university. As of 2011[update] there are 600 Israeli Arab students. Arab students have generally not felt any racially or politically motivated discrimination at the university. In addition, several faculty members with left-wing views teach at the university.
In December 2011 the Ariel University Center of Samaria held a special conference entitled "Best Plans for a Peaceful Israel/Palestine", jointly with the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism and the organization's president Kamal Nawash to promote solutions to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. The conference was attended by Israeli Arabs, Israeli Jews and Palestinians from the PA-controlled areas of the West Bank.
The organizer of the event, Israeli Doron Tzur, said he wanted to "create a reality where Israelis and Palestinians participate in presenting their own ideas of peace. [We want] a more detailed plan, one that is transparent, that everyone can explore, ask questions and expect a response. The way to build confidence, create some sort of agreement, where a majority of both nations agree; let's do a referendum, let's make it a reality."
AUC hosts visiting lecturers from universities around the world. In 2010 University of Hartford communications professor Don Ellis taught the course "Communication Issues and Political Conflict." He said: "My only goal is to help them improve their critical thinking skills. I don't expect that either side will acknowledge the other side as being right." British professor Geoffrey Alderman is also a guest lecturer at Ariel University, and has said that those British members of parliament who oppose the university, did so because the university "is Jewish. If it was a Palestinian university they wouldn’t object. For heaven’s sake, this is an educational establishment with many Palestinian as well as Jewish students."
International cooperation and programs
Ariel University Center has signed academic cooperation agreements with over 51 higher education institutions around the world, including the United States, Russia, France, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Argentina, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Taiwan and Armenia. There is a partnership between the University of Toronto and the Ariel University on the master's degree in Business Administration (MBA).
In 2008 Global Association of Risk Professionals established a branch in the University Center which conducts operator courses and international conferences in university center.
In 2011 Ariel University Center and Ural Federal University signed a cooperation agreement with the Skolkovo innovation center, a high technology business area near Moscow. The agreement is intended to provide Israeli companies with access to capital resources and manpower. In addition, the Center serves as a representative of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Ariel University participates in the project Masa Israel Journey in which Jewish students all over the world come for the time between a semester to a year study in Ariel, about 30% of students coming to study in Ariel immigrate to Israel at the end of the project.
In 2009, the Spanish Housing Ministry disqualified the university from taking part in an international architectural competition in 2009. The Spanish government explained that their decision to ban the university was a result of it being located in Palestinian occupied territories. The Anti-Defamation League asked the Spanish Government and the US Department of Energy to overturn the disqualification of Israeli researchers from an international solar energy competition in Madrid.
In early 2011, 165 Israeli academics announced they were boycotting the university to protest Israeli settlement expansion. They wrote in their petition, "Ariel is not part of the sovereign territory of Israel, and we therefore cannot be required to go there."
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ariel University Center of Samaria.|
- Ariel University official site
- Friends of Ariel University
- Ariel University R&D Company Ltd, the technology transfer company of Ariel University Center, israel