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Bethlehem University Alumna Tells Her Story

Rawan Bannoura

My name is Rawan Bannoura (BU ‘09). I received my Masters in Public Administration in International Management and Development from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California in December 2011. Due to my experiences in the field, I would like to reminisce about how I got here.

Two and a half years ago I left my hometown, Bethlehem, to pursue my graduate studies. My journey began when I was awarded a scholarship from Bethlehem University to pursue my graduate studies. My experience at the Monterey Institute was phenomenal. I moved to the States with a desire to learn, explore, and make an impact. My passion for community development, conflict resolution, human rights, and social justice motivated me to excel. Being exposed to different cultures and perspectives have made me even more passionate about accomplishing my goals.

At the Monterey Institute I worked at the Office of Institutional Advancement, taught Arabic, and interned at multiple local organizations. These experiences benefited me and added to my knowledge especially that I have never worked for a US organization before.

Post graduation, I decided to move 120 miles north to San Francisco. I currently work for a nonprofit in San Francisco, where I manage a program, conduct marketing and outreach strategies. I have started a nonprofit with 2 of my colleagues from grad school, our nonprofit is still in the start-up phase and it focuses on clean water and sanitation. I am also volunteering for Bethlehem University as an Alumni outreach volunteer in the States, I will be launching an initiative to start an alumni chapter in the States.

The education that I received at Bethlehem University prepared me from my graduate experience. Also, the continued mentorship and support that I received from my professors at Bethlehem University has empowered me and gave me confidence. I shall always be grateful to my professors at the Shucri Ibrahim Dabdoub Faculty of Business, especially Dr. Fadi Kattan, and Mr. Karim Abdel Nour for expanding my horizon. I have continued to serve the development office at BU and have interned at both offices in Bethlehem and Washington D.C. The knowledge, experience and the great mentorship that I received from my colleagues during both of my internships were priceless.

As a Palestinian student in the US, I played a vital role in advocating about the Palestinian cause and telling stories that are not shown in the media. I was surprised to meet many people who have not met a Palestinian before and do not know much about the situation in Palestine. I caught their attention and told the story of the Palestinian people. The public speaking classes that were given to us, Student Ambassadors, at Bethlehem University definitely paid off; I was very comfortable talking in front of people, debating, and telling the untold stories. I participated in many cultural events where I showcased the beauty of the Palestinian culture, food, language, and tradition. I was selected to be the student commencement speaker for my graduation. My graduation speech was a blend of reciting the daily Palestinian struggle, my personal story, and hope for the future.

I will always be grateful to Bethlehem University and my sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Molly for giving me this amazing opportunity that changed my life.

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