The Centre for Development Studies (CDS) was established in 1997 as a research programme specializing in development studies. Having lived under occupation since 1967, Palestinian society’s right to development remains severely restricted. The CDS aims to deepen and engage development concepts through theoretical and conceptual frameworks that explore and contextualize Palestinian development within the reality of occupation. This includes studying the interactions between the economic, social and political determinants of development as well as the structures of power and dominance that preclude sustainable development. In addition, the CDS seeks to provide an institutional framework within which all development-related issues can be considered, researched and discussed, with a view to providing practical guidance and assistance for relevant decision makers.
The CDS reinforces theory with practice through its various academic research and community-oriented activities. These include seminars, workshops, survey research, evaluation studies and needs assessments. The Centre coordinates a number of academic research projects in the area of development with local and international institutions. It is also involved in community-based projects that seek to empower marginalized groups and integrate them in the development process. The Center’s activities are supervised by a committee of academic and administrative staff members from Birzeit University, who provide it with both technical and academic support. Over the years, the CDS has built an extensive network of relations with grassroots organizations, the Non-governmental sector, international organizations and the government. The Centre has also executed projects in neighboring countries, particularly in relation to Palestinians in the Diaspora. The CDS has been supported in its activities through funding from numerous local and international donors.
To be a key and independent resource for understanding development through both collating and contributing to greater knowledge about development theory and practice in the Palestinian context. To this end the CDS sees a role for itself at the local, national and international level, where it can be accessed by different communities, including scholars, practitioners and others.
CDS aims to promote the study of development and contribute to its conceptualization. The CDS also endeavours to work with various Palestinian communities, policy makers and local and international institutions and academics to create and disseminate sound knowledge, dynamic ideas, innovative tools and practical solutions that empower individuals and institutions to contribute effectively to the development of our society.