As part of the Estonian – Palestinian governmental cooperation program coordinated by the Palestinian Ministry of Telecom and IT, a delegation from the Estonian e-Government Academy visited the Palestinian e-Government Academy in Birzeit University on Monday, the 12th of September. Among the Estonian delegation was Dr. Arvo Ott, the executive director of the Estonian e-Government Academy and Mr. Hannes Astok member of the Estonian parliament and expert in e-Government. The meeting was also attended by the consultants of the Minister of Telecommunications and IT in addition to the directors of the e-Government and training departments in the Ministry of Telecommunications and the director of the Estonian – Palestinian governmental cooperation program, Mr. Waseem Abed-Allah. From Birzeit University, the meeting was attended by Dr. Ali Jaber, the dean of the Faculty of Information Technology in addition to Dr. Wasel Ghanem, Miss Majd Al-Ashhab, and Dr. Mustafa Jarrar, the director of the Palestinian e-Government Academy.
During the meeting, Dr. Jarrar presented the Palestinian e-Government Academy. The academy is established by Birzeit University as part of the TEMPUS-funded Pal-Gov project. The academy aims at building the capacity of the Palestinian private and public sectors in e-Government technologies. In particular, the academy intends to fulfill the needs of the Palestinian society in the technical and legal aspects necessary to build and maintain a Palestinian e-Government. This is done via (1) Training Programs (tutorials and academic courses), which cover the areas of Interoperability, Security, and Legal Informatics, (2) Consultancy for the private and public sectors in the area of e-Government and e-Governance, (3) Research, by which the academy aims to highlight and promote research problems and solutions and incorporate them to renovate and enhance the e-governance field, and (4) Publications that cover topics related to e-governance in order to make the exchange of technical knowledge and information possible.
Furthermore, Dr. Jarrar presented the Palestinian e-Government Interoperability Framework ‘Zinnar’. Zinnar (http://zinnar.pna.ps) was developed by six ministries and governmental institutions (in cooperation with the Palestinian e-Government Academy): Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology (MTIT), Ministry of Interior (MOI), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of National Economy (MNE), Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). Zinnar serves as an organizational/semantic mediator between heterogeneous governmental information systems and is also seen as framework/infrastructure upon which seamless e-government services are implemented.
During the meeting, the participants discussed further cooperation opportunities especially between the Palestinan e-Governemnt Academy and the Estonian e-Government Academy, particularly, on the topic of Information Security. Also, Mr. Astok presented a proposal of Training workshops where the Estonian Academy is to provide training to transfer know-how and skills to Palestinian governmental employees. The proposal comes as part of the Palestinian- Estonian cooperation program.