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Mahmoud Hawari Named Director of New Palestinian Museum

Mahmoud Hawari, a research associate at Oxford University’s Khalili Research Center, was appointed the new director of the 37,000-square-foot Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, which will open its doors in May, Gareth Harris of the Art Newspaper reports.

A visiting academic at the British Museum and a director of several archaeological excavations at sites such as Khirbat al Mafjar in Jericho, Hawari said, “This will be a museum that overcomes political and geographical borders, and links Palestinians together, at home and in exile, wherever they may live.”

According to a museum spokesperson, Hawari is replacing former director Jack Persekian who stepped down in December over differences in management.

The $30 million institution will feature the history and culture of Palestine from 1750 to the present. Designed by Heneghan Peng, a Dublin-based architectural firm, the building was constructed on property owned by Birzeit University.

“It has been very difficult to construct a museum under the Israeli military occupation, but the building will be ready on time,” the acting director, Omar Al-Qattan, said. Al-Qattan is the chairman of the London-based AM Qattan Foundation, which is one of the museum’s main funders.