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Department of Religious Studies

 Fr. Jamal Khader

Fr. Jamal Khader has held the post of Cardinal Hume and Cardinal de Furstenberg Endowed Chair in Religious Studies Chair (delete) since 2003. He has made it his mission to reach out to schools and churches throughout Palestine in hopes of standardizing and improving Christian religious education. "We absolutely have to work harder in this," Fr. Jamal said. "We are in the Holy Land. We can and must set the standard for Christian education." He has also put a lot of effort into providing the Department's students with as many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom in addition to what is learned inside the classroom. Fr. Jamal's regular responsibilities at the University include celebrating Mass in the University Chapel, directing weekly meetings with the Christian Youth Group, welcoming visitors, organizing lectures and pilgrimages and promoting the Department to students who have passed their Tawjihi exams (standardized exams taken upon high school graduation).

"Our students come from diverse faith backgrounds, including Catholic, Melkite, Maronite, Syriac, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian. Some belong to a religious order and are already teaching catechism, and others are here for their first time." Fr. Jamal said. "Nevertheless, all of our students come here because they feel education leads to positive change and promotes understanding among people with different beliefs and cultures." He added, "We are a tight-knit group. The Department really builds on the teachings of Jesus and tries to find creative ways to help its students put Jesus' teachings into action."

The 2007 International Religious Conference was Fr. Jamal's most recent activity within the University. Also in 2007, Fr. Jamal completed a five-state tour of the United States as a participant in the International Visitor Leadership Program, "Religion in America," organized by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US State Department.

Fr. Jamal teaches at the Latin Seminary in Beit Jala, the Emmaus Center in Beit Sahour, the Family Center in Bethlehem, and Mar Elias College in Ibillin. He also teaches Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Strategies for the master's in International Cooperation and Development (MICAD) program at Bethlehem University.

Fr. Jamal was born in the Christian Palestinian village of Zababdeh in the northern part of the West Bank. He has a Doctorate of Divinity from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he completed his thesis on the official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. He is a member of the Theological Reflection Committee of the Latin Patriarchate and of the Committee of Dialogue with Jews.

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