Palestine Works hosted the Young Palestinian Lawyers Fellowship (YPLF)centered on the theme of legal and political considerations in rebuilding the Palestinian National Movement, on 1-5 August, 2016 at Birzeit University in Birzeit, West Bank, Palestine. The Conference, and Fellowship as a whole, was supported by German Cooperation in partnership with Deutsche Gessellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

As the inaugural event of the Fellowship, the Conference empowered the next generation of local, diaspora, and international leadership devoted to the question of Palestine to lay the groundwork for breakthroughs and change in the current discourse on Palestine.

Our young professionals learned to demonstrate competence and effective, in-depth engagement in their advocacy through an immersive space for career advancement, skills training, networking, and engagement: equipping young Palestinian professionals and their global colleagues with a foundation to make meaningful contributions to the advancement of international law, human rights, and Palestinian self-determination.

Attendees participated in any or all three Conference Programs, catered to advancing their careers and developing projects that exemplify the principles of service, innovation, efficacy, and Palestinian agency. These programs are the Speaker Series, Writing Workshop, and the Moot Court. 

The YPLF Fellowship continues with the YPLF Conference Journal and the YPLF Legal Advocacy Projects. The Journal memorializes the participants' successful completion of the Conference, and through publication of their work, encourages them to pursue future scholarship. The writing competition thus provided participants with an excellent opportunity to add published scholarship to their resumes and to work with prominent and legal academics. 

Within the YPLF legal advocacy projects, many of our Conference participants (both Palestinian and international) have committed to ongoing participation in various civil society organization (CSO) legal advocacy projects, which will introduce a hands-on, practice oriented element to the YPLF experience, which could not be reproduced in any conference setting. 

Please come back early 2017 for information about next year's YPLF. 





The YPLF Speaking Series was composed of daily keynote speeches, discussion panels, and interactive workshops by lawyers, legal academics and public figures with distinguished records of scholarship on the question of Palestine.

Speakers addressed the legal and political considerations involved in rebuilding the Palestinian national movement. These considerations positioned young professionals to develop unique and informed approaches to advancing discourse on Palestine.

Attendees also had the opportunity to engage with the speakers in a less formal setting to learn from their experiences and build professionals networks.




Young lawyers and law students attended the Conference and participated in the inaugural YPLF Moot Court Competition where their oral argument skills were tested and strengthened.

The YPLF Moot Court was an oral argument-only competition modeled on the Jessup International Law Competition. It featured an original legal problem set in post-Oslo Palestine: a fictional, but plausible, contentious case between Palestine and Israel before the International Court of Justice.

The competition problem required competitors to grapple with issues of self-determination, permanent sovereignty over natural resources, denunciation of international agreements, good faith in negotiations, and other international law concepts relevant to the question of Palestine. The YPLF Moot thus challenged young lawyers and law students to sharpen their advocacy in an exciting,
English-language, public international law simulation.

At the outset, YPLF moot court competitors were divided into teams of balanced legal experience, and worked collaboratively with their teammates over the Conference’s first three days to develop their oral argument. Competitors had access to expert advisors to help them practice and craft their case arguments.

The preliminary rounds took place on Thursday, 4 August. The semifinals and finals were held on Friday, 5 August. On the final day, teams conducted live oral arguments in front of an audience of conference attendees and simulation judges comprised of top legal scholars and practitioners on the subject of Palestine and international law.


Congratulations to all competitors and to our first-place team and best oralist. Scholarships will be awarded to members of the first-place team, with team members and their arguments profiled in the Conference journal. 

1st Place

Elias al-Hihi, Amjad Abu Lafi, Thaer Aliwaiwi

Best Oralist

Elias al-Hihi

Pictured from left to right: competitor Saif Ansari; best oralist Elias al-hihi; and competitor Amjad Abu Lafi.  

Pictured from left to right: competitor Saif Ansari; best oralist Elias al-hihi; and competitor Amjad Abu Lafi.  


Conference participants interested in developing original scholarship related to the Palestinian national movement participated in the YPLF Writing Workshop. Conducted in both English and Arabic, the Workshop was a comprehensive platform to support the development of this scholarship from the idea phase to publication.

Participants were encouraged to submit a topic proposal before the Conference. Over the conference, participants refined their topics and developed paper abstracts over the Conference’s first four days in consultation with expert advisors, who guided the development of the papers throughout the drafting and editing process. Through individual advising sessions, authors had the opportunity to develop relationships with their advisors, which currently continues beyond the Conference. Workshop participants presented their paper abstracts on the Conference’s final day.

Participants, along with their advisors, have had access to an online platform through which they receive feedback on their topics and abstracts from other Workshop participants.

Upon completion of the papers, Palestine Works staff and the expert advisors will work with Workshop participants to maximize the visibility of their scholarship. Select material will be translated (English-to-Arabic and Arabic-to-English) and published in the bilingual YPLF Conference Journal. The Workshop thus provided participants with an excellent opportunity to add published scholarship to their resumes and to work with prominent lawyers and legal academics who are engaged on the question of Palestine.

Scholarships of up to USD 1500 will be awarded for the three most outstanding papers, as judged by Palestine Works staff and the expert advisors.