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20 July, 2011

Bethlehem University Alumni Relations Office Awarded IYF Grant, Kicks Off Summer Training Program

IYFBethlehem, Palestine - Bethlehem University is one of three Palestinian universities which were awarded grants from the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Program, a program designated by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) to provide entrepreneurship and employment skills to Palestinian students.

IYF, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission to the West Bank and Gaza and Bethlehem University, aims to introduce, cultivate, and strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit among Bethlehem University students, and to prepare and nurture a new generation of young Palestinian business and social entrepreneurs.

IYFBethlehem University has begun implementing the project, kicking off with the first activity, the orientation, on June 11th and the first actual training session took place during July, where students learned about service learning, a hands-on approach to mastering subject material while fostering civic responsibility by combining service to the community with classroom curriculum. Raneen Al-Arja, Career and Entrepreneurial Skills Project Coordinator-Alumni Relations Office, Bethlehem University, says that the students are committed and enthusiastically participating in the sessions, showing more increasing sophistication in their application of the new skills set; for example noting how students quickly began developing power point presentations for their assignments. See advertisement here.

USAID’s Mission Director Mr. Michael Harvey has expressed support for youth programs, saying “USAID is proud to provide support for programs which prepare young people for their future careers.  Whether they choose to be doctors or business people, public servants or entrepreneurs, today’s youth will be the leaders of tomorrow. Through these initiatives, we will help provide them with the tools they need to succeed.”

Since 1994, the US government, through USAID, has provided more than $3.4 billion in economic assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.  USAID coordinates closely with the Palestinian Authority to support projects that reduce poverty, improve health and education, build infrastructure, create jobs and promote democracy and good governance.

IYF, founded in 1990, builds and maintains a worldwide community of businesses, governments and civil society organizations committed to empowering youth to be healthy, productive and engaged citizens.  IYF programs are catalysts for change that help young people obtain a quality education, gain employability skills, make healthy choices and improve their communities.

Service Learning Sessions
Service learning is defined as structured youth-led activities that serve a dual purpose: to improve local communities and to provide participating youth with improved professional and personal skills. These programs include conducting community needs assessments and implementing specific youth-led actions with employability and entrepreneurship related training and experience integrated into the program design.

Life Skills Sessions
The participants of the program need to develop new and essential life and entrepreneurial skills to help them on the transition from university life to work.  Skills such as creativity, leadership, teambuilding, and communications will help the participants to advance in their study at the University and also to enter the work market with more confidence.

Business Plan Development Sessions
These sessions will focus on explaining to the participants the importance of business planning, define and describe the components of a business plan, provide access to sample plans and resources that can help them develop a very good business plan.

Social Venture Sessions
The participants of the program need to develop new and essential life and entrepreneurial skills to help them on the transition from university life to work.  The participants will be presented with some key information and resource on how to develop a social venture proposal.

For more information on the project at Bethlehem University, contact Ms. Haneen Musleh, Alumni Relations Officer at Raneen Al-Arja, Project's Coordinator at

For more information on the IYF in general, click here.


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