A former Lancaster University PhD student has been appointed the new Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.
Prof Rami Hamdallah, 54, the president of An-Najah National University in the Palestine West Bank city of Nablus since 1998, was appointed to his new role by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, and has been asked to form a new cabinet.
Prof Hamdallah has a PhD in English-Linguistics Research from Lancaster University after studying in the city in the 1980s. His direct supervisor was Dr Gerry Knowles (now retired) and his secondary supervision was Emeritus Professor of English Linguistics Prof Geoffrey Leech.
Prof Leech said: “We always said “hello” to one another and had a short chat now and then. He was quiet and courteous, but he gave me the feeling of hidden strength.”
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Prof Tony McEnery met Prof Hamdallah only recently.
“I had the very real pleasure of meeting him recently in Nablus - around 25 years after we last met!” said Prof McEnery, who was a student in the department at the same time.
“He was typically kind and gracious, and greeted me like a long lost brother - that friendliness and humanity is typical of Rami.”
Prof Hamdallah studied at Lancaster from November 1985 to February 1988 when he was awarded his PhD. His place was sponsored by the British Council and Lancaster University. It is understood his research was in Arabic Phonetics.