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07 February, 2011

Journeying Together

Bethlehem University Institute of Hotel Management & Tourism and the University of Houston - Conrad Hilton College Join Forces

HoustonNew faces are appearing on campus this semester in the hospitality department – but you won’t catch a glimpse of them unless you’re enrolled in the Institute of Hotel Management & Tourism’s latest course offering, HOTM123 – Tourism. The University of Houston – Conrad Hilton College, will be participating in a joint course, which is putting 22 B.U. students together with 34 U.H. students through joint teleconferenced lectures that seek to expand upon the knowledge and skill sets of the students in the international tourism sector.

HoustonMr. Nabil El Mufdi, Director of the Institute and responsible for facilitating this exciting new program, is excited to see where this course, which will be taught jointly by local and U.H. lecturers, will go. He emphasizes that “This is quite an honor as the Conrad Hilton College is a prominent institution with some of the best standards.” He described how the college representatives, who had originally considered setting up a new regional hospitality college, felt that the existing program at Bethlehem University was professional, solid and could be enhanced through such partnership projects.

The U.S. Palestinian Partnership (UPP) in partnership with the Telos Group, two organizations which understand the implications for tourism in Palestine, aim to promote sustainable growth in the highly educated Palestinian private sector, through programs that enhance entrepreneurship, investment and economic partnerships. Other great people we have to thank are:

  • Mr. Nabil El Mufdi, Director of Bethlehem University Institute of Hospitality and Tourism
  • Mickey Bergman, Director, US-Palestinian Partnership, Aspen Institute
  • Kristin Ivie, Program Manager, Social Innovation, Case Foundation
  • Dr. John Bowen, Dean, Conrad Hilton School of Hospitality, University of Houston
  • Dr. Jerald Strickland, Vice Chancellor for International Studies and Programs, University of Houston
  • Greg Khalil, Co-Founder, The Kairos Project
  • Todd Deatherage, Co-Founder, The Kairos Project
  • Lydia Westbrook, Director of International Programs, Conrad Hilton School of Hospitality

We also thank the many others who worked on behalf of Bethlehem University and the University of Houston to bring us this great new program.

HoustonLydia Westbrook, director of international programs for the college says about the course, still in the pilot stage, its implications for today’s increasingly international flavor of travel are important, "This class will cover the business of travel, the impact of travel, not only on countries and destinations, but the host communities as well, the people that  live in the tourism destinations.” She also hopes that her students will get to learn more about this part of the world. For Bethlehem, as a historical destination for pilgrimage, tourism plays a vital portion of the economy and its development is essential.

Future projects of the partnership, depending on the outcomes of the current stages, are further training opportunities, faculty and student exchanges, internship opportunities and Masters programs for Bethlehem University students as well as possible opportunities in hospitality establishments in the region.

* Photo of Ms. Westbrook taken from: UH Moment: "International Education Week"


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