Possible Research Projects

Preservation of, and historical research on the UNRWA family files
The peace process in the Middle East has put UNRWA's future into a new context. It is UNRWA's desire to make information related to the history of the Palestine refugees and UNRWA's programme activities fully available to the Palestinians. A research project based on the family files would require two stages:
  1. preservation of the material; and
  2. historical research.

With proper treatment, the family files could constitute the backbone of an historical archive whose main tasks would be to:
  1. Receive, preserve and keep in order archive material from Palestinian institutions;
  2. Facilitate for the public and the research community as far as possible the use of its material; and
  3. Promote historical research.

The immense amount of information, partially as hand written documents in various languages, spread around in several countries, and of bad physical quality represent an extraordinary challenge for researchers. A pre-requisite for research on the family files would be establishing a centralized storage of the material at new premises. To make this unique historical data accessible for researchers and the public the files should be stored centrally and electronically.

Proper storing would allow the next stage of research which would be historical or other research about the background and history of Palestine refugees.

In any case work should start using small test samples of the material. It is not clear to what extent permissions have to be obtained from the host countries to work in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Due to the decentralized storage of the family files such a project require extensive field work to be conducted in several Middle East countries.


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