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Department of Religious Studies

Lucy Talgieh

Lucy Talgieh (BU '03) is probably one of the only graduates of the Religious Studies Department who did not want to study religion when she entered the bachelor's program and she definitely did not want to teach it. The Director of Wi'am, an intra-Palestinian conflict resolution center located in Bethlehem where Lucy works, urged her to join the program after noticing the difficulties she was facing with finding affordable programs she was interested in. "It's a new program and it will help you with your work here," Zoughbi Zoughbi said to Lucy. "I had been studying law at the American University of Beirut (1997) through correspondence and realized I could no longer afford to continue, so I opted for a bachelor's degree in Religious Studies at Bethlehem University a few years later," Lucy said. "It wasn't my interest from the beginning, but as time went on, I began to like it more and more." She added, "I became enthralled with the subjects I was studying and so attached to my professors and my classmates. The professors in the Department are incredible. They are very academic and involved with current research." She remembers taking a course on Judaism with Fr. David Neuhaus, S.J., and archaeology with Fr. Louis Hazboun, who took his students to Amman, Jordan to visit the holy sites and meet with the students from the Jesuit Center, which, at the time, offered a two-year diploma in Religious Education as part of the Religious Studies Department at Bethlehem University. 

Lucy began at Wi'am as a volunteer in 1999 and continued throughout her studies. Upon graduation, she was hired at Wi'am as the Youth and Women Coordinator and she is responsible for the International Youth Exchange program, which requires her to travel abroad for conferences and meetings. From the outside one would think that her degree diverges from her work, but Zoughby Zoughby was right. "I've been able to implement my degree through my work here," Lucy said. "We are a Melkite organization, but we employ people of all faiths, including Muslims. The Department focuses very much on interfaith issues and I have been able to apply their teachings at Wi'am and in my daily life." She went onto say that her work is important to her because she feels that she can and is changing her society little by little. "A democratic and human rights approach has become so important in today's world and I truly feel my community is benefiting from the information, knowledge and practice within their own homes even," Lucy said.

Lucy is currently working on her M.A. in Human Rights and Democracy at Birzeit University in Ramallah, Palestine. She commutes an hour each way twice a week to make it to her classes. "The program is most closely related to law for me, because all my life since I was small, I wanted to be a lawyer, so studying Human Rights and Democracy has been a Godsend for me," Lucy said.

 


Bethlehem University Foundation
Email: brds@bufusa.org
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
E-mail: info@bethlehem.edu
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine