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Media Studies at Birzeit University (West Bank, Palestine) can be dated back to 1963 when the University began offering journalism courses. In 1993, the University began to expand its journalism activities, and decided, under the will of Nabil Khatib, Aref Hijjawi, and Walid Omary, to establish substantially in 1996 the "Media Institute" first as a Radio and Print Media Training Program.

The Center Expands
In September 1999, the Institute completed the construction of new facilities on Birzeit University's campus, which enabled and eased the delivery of large-scale education programs and training courses, as well as the production of Al Hal newspaper and the broadcasting of radio programs for Birzeit Radio. The new facilities also included a fully equipped TV Training Unit (created in 2000).

In 2006, after the preparation of its first strategic plan in November 2005, the center changed its name to "Media Development Centre" (MDC) and became a full-time mid-career journalism training centre and a broader facilitating agent for media development and press freedom in Palestine. Hence in the recent years, the MDC has acquired the reputation to be an institution focusing on excellence-driven curriculum development and training delivery, and influencing Palestinian decision-makers by co-drafting media laws favorable to operation of a free press.

Supportive Partners are Imperative
The development of the MDC's capacity and sustainable activities has mainly been made possible through continuous close relationship to partners such as the German Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Swedish Fojo Media Institute, and through projects' funding from SIDA (Swedish Development Agency), UNESCO, or for example the BMZ (German Federal Ministry of Cooperation and Development). Since 2006, the MDC has therefore broadened its areas of work. At the same time it has supported the University's academic BA programme in Media Studies, has carried out a major pilot Media Literacy project to prepare children and youth to become active and critical media consumers, and has been involved with projects focusing on gender and women-oriented issues.

Despite the troublesome years in the history of the Palestinian people and country, the MDC has managed to carry out more than 20 training courses each year targeting more than 1500 journalists and media workers. Also, the MDC has succeeded in delivering trainings in Gaza under extreme conditions proving a high degree of determination and strength.

Eventually, due to the glaring need for professionals in the field of mass media in Palestine, the MDC has expanded to a full-fledged institute comprising of four units specializing in the fields of Radio, New Media and Press, TV, and Media Research (created in 2011).