The Shucri Ibrahim Dabdoub Faculty of Business Administration held “Bethlehem University Social Business Day” on Friday, 14 December 2018, to launch the Yunus Social Business Centre.

Master of Ceremonies Dean of the Faculty Dr. Fadi Kattan welcomed the attendees and the guests who were coming from the University of Florence.

Vice Chancellor Brother Peter Bray the importance of cooperation between universities in order to exchange expertise, research, and knowledge.

Brother Peter expressed his gratitude to the University of Florence which helped Bethlehem University to establish the Yunus Social Business Centre. Establishing such a center at the University is in line with Bethlehem University’s mission to better serve the Palestinian people.

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus in a recorded message expressed his delight to celebrate the launching of the Yunus Business Center at Bethlehem University.  

“It’s exciting news for me because it is opening a new space, not only physical but cultural, academic, and creativity space to let young people think about themselves, about the world they live in, the world they will inherit and the world they will build,” he said.  

The business social center is about giving freedom to the young people to imagine and to create things to change the world, he added.

Bethlehem University has joined the network of more than 60 universities around the world who have similar centers.

It is worth noting that Professor Yunus is a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist, and civil society leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance.

Head of the field office of the Italian Cooperation Agency in Jerusalem Dr. Cristina Natoli expressed her delight at the cooperation between both universities and called for more joint work to serve the Palestinian society.

Chairman of Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dr. Samir Hazboun congratulated Bethlehem University for launching this center.

He added that Bethlehem has a high unemployment rate of up to 30%, most of them are graduates of universities with academic degrees but lack of experience, so this center will be a quality addition to entrepreneurship in Palestine.

Dr. Fadi Kattan said Bethlehem University is constantly working to provide students with the skills that make them job creators not seekers.

He added that this is one of the most important goals of Yunus Social Business Center and will help to provide graduates with skills that make them productive and able to evaluate services for their community.

On behalf of the University of Florence, Prof. Mario Biggeri, Professor of Development Economics, said he was delighted with the Memorandum of Understanding between both universities which gives the opportunity for exchanging experiences.  

A round table session entitled “Social Business in Palestine: a new approach towards Sustainable Local Development” followed the speeches. The session was moderated by Dr. Enrico Testi, Director of the Yunus Social Business Centre University of Florence.

Prof. Gianni Vaggi, Professor of Development Economics at the University of Pavia, Prof. Mario Biggeri, Professor of Development Economics at the University of Florence, Prof. Luca Bagnoli, Professor of Accounting at the University of Florence, and Prof. Andrea Simoncini, Professor of Constitutional law at the University of Florence, presented during the round table session.

Successful stories of Social Enterprises in Palestine were presented at the end by Dr. Jad Isaac, Chairman of Arij – The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem, Giulia Schiro, Chairman of Vento di Terra and Prof. Maria Sassi, professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Pavia, and Mohammad Amayreh, Head of the Global Humanitarian Organization Action Against Hunger (AAH).

Launch of the Yunus Social Business Center