Since its founding as an interdisciplinary Women’s Studies Program in 1994, the Institute of Women’s Studies has been committed to teaching, research, gender intervention, policy outreach and community involvement. IWS is the first academic Institute that offered a graduate program (Master’s program) in Gender and Development in Palestine and the region. Evolving from a long history of Palestinian women’s activism, the Institute provides an academic underpinning to activism and local and international debates around women’s rights, gender relations and social policy at the local as well as the regional level.
As a recognized leader in terms of its academic program it has also started the first undergraduate minor in women’s studies in 2014 . The graduate program aims at expanding and deepening students’ knowledge of existing theory and concepts related to gender and development at the international, regional and local levels. In addition, the program develops students’ analytical and critical skills and enable them to use gender as a cross- cutting issue in development in addition to successfully conduct gender planning in their own work. On another note, the Program aims at developing students’ abilities to conduct research that contributes to the identification of the needs of the community and the women’s sector and integrating gender in development by understanding and addressing obstacles hindering it.