Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Bethlehem University Hosts Legacy Dinner in DC

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Bethlehem University Hosts Legacy Dinner in DC

Article excerpt

Friends and benefactors of Bethlehem University gathered at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, DC on Nov. 2 for a dinner in celebration of the university. Proceeds from the evening helped fund the university's library renovation project.

The $3.8 million library project is part of a comprehensive plan to improve the school's facilities over the coming decades. Thus far, about $2 million has been raised for the library. Once complete, the renovated library will feature a rooftop café, a quiet study area, Wi-Fi and other technological enhancements.

Brother Peter Bray, FSC, vice chancellor of Bethlehem University, opened the evening by noting that operating a university in occupied territory poses many challenges. For instance, he noted that students from Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank often have difficulty reaching campus due to checkpoints and other so-called Israeli "security measures."

That being said, Brother Bray chose not to dwell on the negative, and devoted the majority of his talk to discussing Bethlehem University's uplifting mission. Founded in 1973 by the Vatican and the De La Salle Christian Brothers, the university is devoted to enhancing the lives of Palestinians, he said: "We want to raise to distinction these young people that we have."

Bethlehem University is an unashamedly Christian school in a Muslim-majority country, Brother Bray said. This, however, does not mean that the school forces its student population to accept Catholic theology. …

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