The WISE Awards


Mr. Marwan Tarazi

Position: Director of Center for Continuing Education, Birzeit University
Country: Palestine
Marwan Tarazi is the Director of the Center for Continuing Education (CCE) at Birzeit University. The mission of CCE is institutional capacity building with a focus on educational reform and community empowerment. For over a decade, CCE has been spearheading learning innovation in Palestine.

Marwan lived in North America in the 1980s and early 90s. Upon his return to the Middle East, he was struck by the alarming status of education in the region and the seeming hopelessness of reforming it. He recognized that the only solution is through innovation and outside-the-box designs built for the local context and engineered to work with the available capacities and resources.

To tackle this challenge, Marwan established the Unit for Learning Innovation at CCE in 2003. Since then, the unit has been researching, developing and constructing innovative educational models. It has implemented over 50 programs and projects in partnership with key educational stakeholders including schools, universities, community partners, the Ministry of Education, Cisco, UNRWA and UNICEF.  These projects have culminated in the current Schools.21 program, a multifaceted education re-development program designed to transform schools into model 21st-century schools. The program is currently being implemented in 10 schools in East Jerusalem.

One of the primary elements of Schools.21 is the Learning Objects Bank, an open learning initiative that intelligently encapsulates modern learning paradigms into the existing educational system, a necessary interim step for achieving systemic change and reform. Another element is community mobilization leading to community-driven educational initiatives and support. Marwan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from McGill University and an M.B.A. from Kellogg’s School of Management at Northwestern University.