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9 August, 2011

United States Public Television Channel (PBS) Features Bethlehem University Community, Local Christian Leaders

PBSMs. Kim Lawton, an award-winning reporter, producer, writer and editor who has worked in broadcast media and print for more than 20 years covering religion, ethics, and culture – was recently on the Bethlehem University campus to investigate the situation of the Christians in the Holy Land.

Ms. Lawton is the Managing Editor and Correspondent of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, a series which, according to its website, sets itself apart from the mainstream media by providing distinctive news coverage and analysis of national and international events in a constantly changing religious world.

Ms. Lawton’s latest story features two Bethlehem University students, Mary Abu Ghattas ’12 and John Tawil ’12 and also Brother Neil Kieffe, Director of Instructional Technology. The story was aired following the “Christians in the Holy Land”  Conference, jointly hosted by the Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace during July. Several Bethlehem University representatives attended the conference. In step with the theme of the Lambeth Conference, Lawton’s story was focused on the situation of Christian Palestinians, whether they are a student, professor, or Bishop, and how their different roles combine to make part of the reality that is life in the Holy Land.

For young people like Mary and John, the desire to live full lives and reach their potential seems to conflicts with the stubborn Occupation, which places a multitude of barriers in their way. John stated, “I would like to stay here, but I see that the peace, the peace process that they are moving in, will not achieve itself within the coming few years or within the coming 200 years. So why to suffer and struggle? Living under the occupation is not a normal life. It’s a [stressful] life, and we have to get out of this.”

Mary, for her part says “…it’s not that easy to make [my dream] come true considering our situation in Palestine. It’s very tempting to leave. Do we try? Yes, of course we try, like basically, obviously no one wants to leave their country, but it is hard. It’s a challenge.”

Br. Neil confirmed that it is not easy to encourage local students to stay in the Holy Land but that “Our goal is to try and encourage people to stay in the Holy Land. That’s why we’re here to start with.” To learn more about how you and Bethlehem University can help students obtain an education and strengthen the local population, click here.

Click here for a link to the story and click here for extended excerpts.

Bethlehem University is proud to have assisted PBS in its ongoing efforts to be America’s largest stage, classroom, and window to the world.

* Photo taken from


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