Grand Opening of the Biodiversity Center

The Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University organized an opening ceremony for the recently established Biodiversity Center on Monday, 21 June 2021, within the Unity and Diversity in Nature and Society project funded by the European Union.

Project Manager, Linda Majaj, welcomed the guests and gave introductory remarks.

Vice Chancellor Brother Peter Bray expressed his gratitude to the organizers and supporters of this project, especially the EU Peacebuilding Initiative.

The project, which began in January 2020 and aims to increase respect for humans, nature and each other, will continue for a period of three years, ending at the end of 2022.

Founder and Director of the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability, Professor Mazin Qumsieh said this Biodiversity Center has molecular labs and resources for studying and conserving the rich biodiversity in Palestine. It is also one of the three centers: the Education Center at Galilee society and the Human Diversity Center at the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People (PCR).

Prof. Qumsieh thanked the Institute’s staff, the project staff, the partners, the Bethlehem University administration and the European Union for their continuous support.

EU representative Joris Heeren, Head of Governance Section, said “Last year the EU launched the EU’s biodiversity strategy for 2030, which is a comprehensive, ambitious and long-term plan to protect nature and reverse the degradation of ecosystems with an investment of 2.6 billion euros.”

He added we are looking forward also to the opening of the other two centers; the Human Diversity Center in Beit Sahour with PCR and an Education Center near Haifa with the Galilee Society.

H.E. Dr. Jamil Mtoor, Chairman of the Environment Quality Authority, expressed his happiness to attend this ceremony and to open such a center, stressing that caring for the Palestinian environment is no less important than any of the resistance tools, as the Israeli occupation continues to sabotage the Palestinian environment on a daily basis.

Dr. Mtoor emphasized the partnership that links the Environment Quality Authority with Bethlehem University, as the University is currently preparing, through the Institute, the sixth annual report of the Environmental Quality Authority.

The ceremony was also attended by the Palestinian businessman Munib Al-Masri, a friend of the Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability, who praised the work of Bethlehem University, the institute that provides important services to the Palestinian people.

Brother Peter Bray, Prof. Qumsiyeh, and Minister Dr. Jamil Mtoor cut the ribbon announcing the opening of the Biodiversity Center and the attendees toured the center and the museum to get acquainted with the facilities of the center and the Palestine Museum of Natural History.