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From: UNRWA - United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

19 January 2017


Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank Scott Anderson meets with Brother Peter Bray, Vice-Chancellor of Bethlehem University, and Negib K. Nasser, an engineer with the University, to discuss the implementation of the Saudi-funded ‘Developing, Furnishing and Equipping the Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism’ project at Bethlehem University. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Nanna Hansen


Brother Peter Bray, the Vice-Chancellor of Bethlehem University, and Scott Anderson, Director of Operations in the West Bank for the United Nation Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), met today to discuss the details and implementation of the project, ‘Developing, Furnishing and Equipping the Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism’, at Bethlehem University.

UNRWA will implement this project through a US$ 10 million donation generously provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). The project is part of a larger Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between UNRWA and SFD on 27 November 2016.

The project will is an important step in the long academic history of the Institute. Through this project, the Institute will be expanded and moved to a different location on the main road that leads to Manger Square in the centre of Bethlehem city. The new Institute will include a tutorial hotel, and the facilities and the curriculum will be developed and improved as part of the University’s strategic development plan adopted back in 2013 during the celebration of the University’s fortieth anniversary.

Speaking about the announcement, Brother Peter Bray expressed sincere thanks and his deep gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abd Al-Aziz; the Saudi government; and the Saudi people for the generous donation. He noted that the donation comes within the context of the Kingdom’s continuous efforts on all levels to support the Palestinian people and strengthen their steadfastness by boosting the education sector, such as this project, which is expected to provide job opportunities for the Institute’s graduates. He added that the tourism sector is among the most active sectors in the Palestinian economy, in spite of all the challenges and obstacles that make developing it very difficult.

Highlighting the importance of this project, Mr. Anderson said: “The generous donation provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will enable us to further improve education in the West Bank. By significantly improving the quality of education at the Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism, the employability of these young Palestinians will similarly increase.”


UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.


For more information, please contact:
Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724

Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine