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December 10, 2010

Inauguration and Blessing Ceremony at Bethlehem University

Enhancing Education in Primary and Secondary Schools and Construction of a New Education Building Underway

Inauguration“Bethlehem University is honored to have the support of so many local and international donors in its efforts to serve the Palestinian people through quality education,” said Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor, on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 at a dual ceremony of celebration of inauguration and blessing that was held at Bethlehem University to:

  • Inaugurate a new and expanded project of the Faculty of Education at Bethlehem University designed to improve the quality of education in primary and secondary schools and
  • Bless the construction of a new education building to house this project and also to provide additional classrooms and faculty offices for the expanding enrollment at Bethlehem University.

Inauguration“Inspiring innovation and creating the future” is the motto of Bethlehem University, the first university founded in Palestine.  Since the University’s opening, it has maintained its dedication, through word and deed, to provide quality higher education to the people of Palestine and to serve them as a center for the advancement, sharing and use of knowledge.

Brother Peter Bray opened the celebration expressing gratitude to the faculty, representatives of the Palestinian Authority, and the many donors who work together with Bethlehem University to provide even greater teaching, research, and professional community to the Palestinian people and society.

Gathered at the ceremony of blessing and inauguration at Bethlehem University were members of the Board of Trustees, Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Representatives of Local Municipalities, US Consulate, Latin Patriarch Archbishop Fuad Twal, Headmasters and Teachers from Primary and Secondary Schools, University faculty, staff, students and administrators, and many local community dignitaries.

InaugurationAs the Master of Ceremonies for the celebration, Mr. Mousa Darwish, Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, invited Dean of Education Rizek Sleibi to introduce the enhancing education in primary and secondary schools project and Ms. Macarena Cotelo from the Fundacion Promocion Social de la Cultura (FPSC), the primary benefactor of the project, to speak of the value they place on the educational service of Bethlehem University.

On behalf of the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Mr. Basri Saleh, Assistant Deputy Minister for Planning and Development of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, spoke about the strategic importance of education for the Palestinian society and offered praise and appreciation for the steadfast quality work and leadership of Bethlehem University with this new enhancing education project and with the many other educational programs that enrich the professionalism of the Palestinian society in so many realms.

InaugurationBr. Neil Kieffe, provided an overview of the construction of the new Educational Building that is underway (click here for the presentation of the construction of the building) and expected to be completed by January 2012 and His Beatitude Foud Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, blessed the new project and the construction of the Education Building, calling upon God’s blessings for all of the work of the faculty and students at Bethlehem University and throughout the local community.

Thanks to the generous funding support from the people of Spain through the Fundacion Promocion Social de la Cultura (FPSC), the German people through the German Lieutenancy of Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and the Church of the Archdiocese of Cologne, the American people through the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) section of USAID, the Wick Foundation, and additional organizations and individuals who have pledged support, Bethlehem University is building upon its educational successes and expanding its educational outreach and expertise to more than 100 local Palestinian primary and secondary schools, thousands of students, parents and teachers involved in the project to improve the quality of education in primary and secondary schools in Palestine (2010-2014).

The education project will involve teachers, students, parents, and local community leaders in a variety of programs and activities to enhance the quality of education in the primary and secondary schools. The project will engage more than 100 local schools and is built upon a previously successful program that engaged 15 schools.  Among the goals of the project are to promote education for gender equity, human rights, democracy, cultural identity and diversity, as well as environmental protectionism.  The project will provide local schools with equipment and the necessary training for the students and teachers so that the most effective use of the technology and media will enhance education. A special focus will be placed on strengthening collaborative networks and the acquisition of effective learning and teaching skills. Workshops on pedagogy and teaching methodologies will be given, helping teachers to fully utilize the theory and power of education to create critical and dynamic young minds. The project will partner directly with 50 schools and indirectly with 60 schools in the middle and southern West Bank (i.e. Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and northern Hebron directorates) and include private, UNRWA, and public schools.

The new Education Building that is under construction will have eight classrooms, all equipped with the latest in educational technology and media, a new Teacher Resource Center with adjoining classrooms, office space for 18 faculty members and the Dean of Education. The basement level of the building will provide accommodation for University security guards as well as a water cistern and faculties to reserve and store supplies and materials for the University.

Click here for more pictures of the event.


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