Meet The Scientist: Dr. Yara Saifi
500 Women Scientists is thrilled to continue our Meet the Scientist blog series! In celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we’re excited to highlight Palestinian women scientists who are both living in occupied territories and beyond. Today, the spotlight is on Dr. Yara Saifi.
Dr. Yara Saifi is an associate professor of architecture at the Department of Architecture at Al Quds University in Jerusalem, where she has been the department head since 2015. She was previously the Dean of Hind Al Husseini’s Faculty of Arts at Al-Quds University. Her research interests are architectural aesthetics, design and conflict studies. Saifi is a member of different committees related to urban planning, restoration and conservation of historic buildings, and the Master’s (MA) program in Jerusalem Studies at Al-Quds University. She was also a local juror to the 2018 RIBA Awards for International Excellence in Palestine.
1. When did you first identify as a scientist?
2. What does your work focus on?
Architecture, urban planning, and the occupation itself.
3. What’s the best advice you’ve received over your career?
5. How did the current climate in Palestine impact your ability to work as a scientist?
I have received several refusals from various reputable journals to consider research that involves the Israeli violation of Palestinians’ right to the city, freedom, movement and to provide shelter to live. And being constantly asked to reduce “the political tone”!
6. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Besides teaching, I carry out an architectural practice, research and motherhood. I am always involved with projects that involve students’ participation in the protection of the Palestinian cultural heritage, narrative and identity. This also involves research and has other challenges. However, research and teaching are time-demanding, and do not leave me with time to participate in other activities that are centered on hobbies and other joyful events. I relax and unwind with my family and daughter.
[Written interview with Dr. Yara Saifi was coordinated by Dr. Rana Dajani; Edits by Farah Qaiser and Rosie Dutt.]