Established in 1987 in Jerusalem, the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) is an Arab non-profit institution headed by its founder, Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi. PASSIA describes itself as a “financially and legally independent” entity “not affiliated with any government, political party or organization.” Its mission is “to present the Palestinian Question … through academic research” and to ensure “that research … be specialized, scientific and objective [as well as] … open, self-critical and conducted in a spirit of harmony and cooperation.”
PASSIA’s Research Studies Program has produced more than 90 separate studies — performed by researchers commissioned by the organization — on a wide range of subjects relating to the Palestine question. PASSIA publishes the results of these studies and distributes them both locally and internationally to academics, diplomats, professionals, and libraries. Some recent titles include: Economic Aspects of the Intifada by Dr. Andrew Rigby; Economic and Social Conditions During the Intifada by Dr. Hazem Shunnar; Israeli Planning and House Demolishing Policy in the West Bank by Rasem M. Khameyseh; The Intifada: Causes and Factors of Continuity by Dr. Ziad Abu-Amr; The Intifada: The Struggle Over Education by Dr. Andrew Rigby; The Intifada and the Arab Press by Ali Khalili; The Palestinian Islamic Movement and the New World Order by Dr. Iyad Al-Barghouthi; Palestinian Refugees by Najeh Jarrar; and From Religious Salvation to Political Transformation: The Rise of Hamas in Palestinian Society by Dr. Hisham H. Ahmed.
PASSIA commonly hosts seminars on Diplomacy and Protocol, Strategic Studies, the European Community, and Education on Democracy. The organization also sponsors workshops that address various issues vis a vis Jerusalem, such as the city’s holy sites and its viability “as [a] capital for the two [Israeli and Palestinian] States.”
Funding for PASSIA’s projects is provided by the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv, and the British and U.S. Consulates in Jerusalem.
PASSIA is a member organization of the Palestinian NGO Network, which was instrumental in producing many of the preparatory documents for the 2001 Durban Conference, including the document calling for embargoes against Israel. PASSIA is an active participant, along with many other anti-Israel groups, in the global campaign to boycott Israeli goods. It also trains professionals to lobby legislators on Capitol Hill for the PLO cause.