You are logged out -> Log in

1 February 2013

Bethlehem University Announces Intent to Purchase Additional Property in Bethlehem

Celebrating the Fraternal Partnership of the Custody of the Holy Land

Mount David Property signing

 Brother Peter Bray and Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa
sign the fraternal partnership agreement

On Thursday, 31 January 2013, the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and the Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University, Brother Peter Bray, signed a fraternal partnership between the Custody of the Holy Land and Bethlehem University toward the purchase of the Mount David property in Bethlehem. The cooperation of the Latin Patriarchate together with the generous support of the Custody and other donors, has thus far provided Bethlehem University with $8.3 million of the $13.8 million needed to complete the purchase of the Mount David property. Once the project is fully funded, this acquisition will enable Bethlehem University to provide expanded research and community service initiatives, new undergraduate entrepreneurial programs, and additional master and professional degrees in Governance and Public Administration, International Diplomacy and Foreign Service, and Social Work, among others. Through this expansion, Bethlehem University will continue to inspire and empower students to be successful scholars, leaders, professionals, and engaged citizens in building a free and vibrant Palestine. 

"This partnership will enable Bethlehem University and the Custody of the Holy Land to have joint ownership of this property, and that will be of benefit not only to the people here in Bethlehem, but also to the Palestinian People," said Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University.

Brother Peter Bray

Brother Peter Bray,
Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University

The contributions made by the donor organizations and the Custody of the Holy Land have brought Bethlehem University more than half the way through to the full purchase of this property, he said, adding that the faith people have in Bethlehem University is the main reason behind such support.

"The contribution of the custody to this has been significant, and the willingness of them to make this commitment to Bethlehem University shows that they have faith in Bethlehem University being able to serve the Palestinian people in a significant way," Brother Bray added.

The decision of the Discretory of the Custody to establish this fraternal partnership with Bethlehem University together with the support of other donors displays a strong commitment to the future wellbeing of the people of Palestine. Together with the Administrative and Executive Councils, this signing will be witnessed by Dr. Michael Sansur, Bethlehem University Executive Vice President, and Father Ibrahim Faltas, General Administrator of the Custody of the Holy Land. Present at the ceremony were the International Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees of Bethlehem University. Additionally, a host of Bethlehem area municipal officials, Church organizations, the Minister of High Education, and representatives of donor organizations participated in the signing ceremony at 5:30pm on Thursday, 31 January 2013 in Bethlehem.

Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa

Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos

"I would very much, very sincerely and very deeply express my gratitude to the Custos, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and Father Ibrahim Faltas, for the role they have played in enabling this to happen," Brother Peter Bray said. The Custos, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, said their driving force to be part of this project is their strong belief of the role of education in making a better future.

"We strongly believe that education is the key to the past, the present and also for the future; we have to think of the future of the generations, and the education is the key," Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa said. "The Palestinian society needs serious institutions that will help in building new motivated generation of people. Bethlehem University is a serious institution, well-known, important, and we think it is important to support this institution, for the development and also for this important project of the University," he said.

Bethlehem University will continue to seek U.S. $5.5 million to complete the purchase of the property, which will increase the University footprint by one-third its current size, so as to provide expanded services and new programs for Palestine.

In May 2012, Bethlehem University named the Shucri Ibrahim Dabdoub Faculty of Business Administration in honor of the late son of Mr. Ibrahim S. Dabdoub, Group CEO of the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK). "My wife, daughter and I could find no better way to honor the memory of our beloved late son than to give the young men and women in Palestine an opportunity to obtain a first rate business education and thus the opportunity to improve their lives," Mr. Ibrahim Dabdoub said

Mount David Property

Mount David Property in Bethlehem

In November 2012, Bethlehem University dedicated its new Education Building to accommodate the Improving Education in Palestine Project that involves 118 schools in the middle and southern West Bank from the private, UNRWA, and public government sectors. Upwards of 22,000 students and 1,100 teachers as well as 5,000 parents and 180 Bethlehem University students in training to be teachers are beneficiaries of this new four-year program. "We are highly appreciative of the effort invested by the Faculty of Education at Bethlehem University into this project," said Mr. Sami Maroua, Head of Bethlehem Directorate of the Palestinian Ministry of Education.

The International Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees of Bethlehem University have also be meeting this week in Bethlehem to engage with the developing Strategic Plan and the emerging Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan.  Members of these two Boards come from Asia, Europe, North America, Palestine, and other countries of the Middle East. 

Representatives from the other donor organizations who were present while Bethlehem Univeristy was celebrating this historic moment on 31 January 2013 include:

  • Br. Robert Schieler, FSC, representing the Lasallian Region of North America, Canada and United States of America
  • Prof. Dr. Heinrich Koller, representing the Association en Faveur de la Bethlehem University, Switzerland
  • Prof. Bart McGettrick, representing the Grand Magesterium of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchure of Jerusalem
  • Fr. Max Cappabianca, O.P., representing the Congregation of Oriental Churches, Vatican
  • Br. Thomas Johnson, FSC, representing the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, Rome
  • Br. Rafael Gonzales, FSC, representing the Frères des Ecoles Chrétiennes, Proche Orient, Beirut

We are grateful for your support of Bethlehem University at such a critical and hopeful time in the life of Palestine. Thank you! For more information, contact: Brother Jack Curran, FSC, PhD, Bethlehem University Vice President for Development, Click here to donate to Bethlehem University. Your gift is appreciated!

More about the event:


Photos by: Mohammad Al-Nayef & Christin Kattan (Bethlehem University Photography Club)

and more below


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