American Consul General in Jerusalem visits Bethlehem University,
Discusses Future Cooperation
June 17, 2016
His Excellency Donald Blome, US Consul General in Jerusalem, visited Bethlehem University on Thursday, 9 June, 2016. He was accompanied by Mr. Christopher Hodges, Public Affairs Officer, Ms. Gina Cabrera-Farraj, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer, and Mrs. Maureen Marroum Bajali, Academic Affairs Specialist.
The delegation was greeted by Br. Peter Bray, FSC, EdD, Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University, Br. Stephen Tuohy, FSC. Vice President for Advancement, and Dr. Michael Sansur, Executive Vice President, in addition to a number of student ambassadors from the various faculties at Bethlehem University.
The group then met in the conference room at Bethlehem University so that they could learn about Bethlehem University’s mission and hear first-hand the experiences of Bethlehem University’s students.
Br. Peter Bray welcomed the Consul General and stated that his presence here matters a lot to BU’s students, who sometimes experience a feeling of alienation due to the realities of the region. Br. Peter also briefly spoke of Bethlehem University’s history in the area and its primary mission in addressing the needs of the Palestinian People. He also stressed that despite the harsh reality that students in Palestine frequently face, their time at Bethlehem University allows them to experience an Oasis of Peace that stands out amidst the turmoil surrounding it. He also thanked the Consul General for the support of the American People through charities and governmental organizations. He stressed that this support is vital to Bethlehem University’s ability to expand and deliver quality higher education to the Palestinian Community. Br. Peter also spoke of the role that the De La Salle Brothers have played in achieving these objectives, and commented that the first three De La Salle Brothers to serve at Bethlehem University were American; while the majority of the Brothers throughout Bethlehem University’s 40 years have also hailed from the United States of America.
His Excellency, Donald Blome, stated that education is an enormous priority for him, as well as being a personal interest. He commented that the Consulate of the United States is always allocating resources to education and that they are thankful to have so many partners throughout the region with which they can work hand in hand to help advance higher education. He also mentioned that he frequently runs into Bethlehem University Graduates in his line of work.
The deputation then viewed a short film about Bethlehem University, which touched upon its impact on Palestinian society, its history, the challenges faced by operating in a region that frequently suffers from turmoil and Bethlehem University’s mission and goals, as well as the University’s role in bringing peace to the region.
Br. Stephen Tuohy then spoke of Bethlehem University’s history and its humble beginnings, as well as giving an overview of just how important the aid that the American People provide was to the continuation of Bethlehem University. He also gave an overview of Bethlehem University’s future expansion plans and upcoming projects that aim to respond to the needs of the local community.
His Excellency then listened to the stories of Bethlehem University’s students, who shared with him their experiences at Bethlehem University. They spoke of Bethlehem University’s role in fostering an atmosphere of tolerance and love. In addition, they shared the hardships they face while trying to pursue their education, specifically the issues of mobility and occupation.
The delegation then toured the Campus in order to learn more about its individual faculties and facilities, after which they proceeded to have lunch with their hosts at the training restaurant of the Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism.
American Consul General in Jerusalem visits Bethlehem University, Discusses Future Cooperation added by Administratore La Salle on June 17, 2016