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May 3, 2010

Workshop Helps People Recognize the Beauty of Water, Plant and Soil

Bethlehem University hosts Workshop on Horticultural Crop Productivity in Palestine

WorkshopClimate change has rung the bell of anxiety that more arid area will be formed. “Global warming and severe rainfall shortage have brought the nations of the area to the edge of a water crisis,” said Dr. Naim Iraki, Director of the UNESCO Biotechnology Center at Bethlehem University. “The worst effect of water shortages is that a decreased amount of water is devoted to horticulture crop production,” he explained.

“However, through research and development, water can be used most efficiently,” says engineer Qasem Abdo, General Director of Soil and Water at the Ministry of Agriculture.
“Research centers can help find ways to maintain adequate levels of water quality in agriculture,” added Dr. Iraki.

This three-day workshop held from 18-20 March gave the participants enough time for field trips as well as lectures and discussions to explore ways of more efficient use of water in agriculture in Palestine, through collaboration with Purdue University in the fields of research and education.

WorkshopOrganized in collaboration with the National Agricultural Research Center of the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, the first day included visits to Palestinian farms in the Jordan Valley.

Lectures featured by Palestinian, American and Canadian scientists were held at Bethlehem University during the second and third days. “Being here at Bethlehem University gives us the opportunity to find synergy for coordination between academic and research centers,” Mr. Abdo commented.

Lecturers offered their suggestions for agricultural management systems and agrotechnologies to combat the water and weather conditions that have challenged the Middle East for the past decade. Their focus was on creating systems that fit the Middle East context through educational and research collaboration between Purdue University and Palestinian Universities.

For Dr. J. Lowenberg-DeBoer, Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, the main idea of his visit to Bethlehem University is to “collaborate in the process of research, understand the opportunities, and engage with one of the most important Palestinian universities that helps people improve their lives.”

In his opening note, Br. Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University emphasized, “Continuous passion and dedication for research is an important actor for the development of Palestine.” He continues, “Bethlehem University contributes to education to help people recognize the beauty of Palestinian water, plant and soil,”

The workshop was sponsored and organized by the UNESCO Biotechnology Educational & Research Center at Bethlehem University, and the Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture at Purdue University, USA.


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