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July 9, 2012

Bethlehem University Celebrates 36th Commencement Ceremonies

Graduation 2012Just a couple of weeks ago we marked the 36th commencement ceremonies at Bethlehem University – graduating nearly 700 students who now join the ranks of more than 14,000 Bethlehem University alumni around the region and around the world! We delight in their success and this reward for all of their hard work over the years!

This year’s commencement ceremonies, held on the 28 and 29 June, included graduates from the Faculties of Science, Arts, Education, Nursing and Health Sciences, the Institute of Hotel Management, as well the first ever graduates from the newly named and blessed Shucri Ibrahim Dabdoub Faculty of Business Administration.

John KellyBethlehem University also honored Professor John Kelly of University College Dublin, a dear friend of Bethlehem University, with an Honorary Doctorate. Since learning of Bethlehem University some 30 years ago, Professor Kelly has been a tireless advocate for Bethlehem University and the people of Palestine, authoring a number of articles highlighting issues of justice such as the right of all Palestinians, including those from Gaza, to pursue their education at Bethlehem University. Over these past 30 years, Professor Kelly has been engaged, along with colleagues from University College Dublin and other European universities, in working collaboratively with many Bethlehem University faculty to enhance the academic development and enrichment of the research efforts of the faculty. 

Professor John Kelly's Writings:

Please click here to read some of Professor Kelly's articles:

“I have no doubt that when the history of these days is told, Bethlehem University will be seen as one of the great universities of these times,” Professor Kelly said. “I have marveled at the peace and tranquility within the walls of this University… Bethlehem University has indeed been an oasis of academic and political peace in this troubled land.” He continued, “I have seen at first hand, the important and vital contribution which graduates of the University have made to the ongoing industrial, economic, social, artistic, and medical infrastructures of Palestine, despite this cruel and illegal occupation.”

In addition to Professor Kelly, we were honored to welcome families and loved ones, and distinguished guests, such as Dr. Muna Matar (BU ’81), Master of Ceremonies, Chair of the Department of Computer Information Systems; H. E. Archbishop Antonio Franco, Chancellor of Bethlehem University; Brother Peter Bray, FSC, EdD, Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University; Mr. Fuad Kattan, Chair, Board of Trustees; H. E. Dr. Ali Jerbawi, Minister of Higher Education; Dr. Ibrahim Masri, President of Palestine Polytechnic University; H.E. Abdel Fattah Hamayel, Governor of the Bethlehem Governorate; Bishop Marcuzzo of Nazareth; Mr. Raji Zeidan, Mayor of Beit Jala; and Ms. Dympna Hayes, Representative to the Palestinian Authority from Ireland.

Graduation 2012We are proud of all of our graduates as they reach this milestone in their lives. During the commencement ceremonies we heard speeches from the top two students in the Bethlehem University class of 2012, Salutatorian Ms. Maysa Imad Eddin Sayed Qutteineh (English Literature, ‘12) and Valedictorian Ms. Berat Huseyin Alisan Barakat (Computer Information Systems, ‘12). Ms. Barakat, originally from Turkey, achieved academic excellence while raising a family of two children with her husband, and while facing several barriers to her education due to her religion. Before coming to Bethlehem University, Ms. Barakat began her studies first in Turkey and later in Cyprus. However, as a Muslim woman, she was forbidden from wearing her hijab headscarf while attending university in those countries. Because of this, she was unable to continue her studies in spite of earning a 4.0 GPA in the Computer Engineering Department at the university in Cyprus.

After meeting and marrying a Palestinian man, she decided to once again find an opportunity to complete her studies. Eight years later, after her two children started school, Ms. Barakat enrolled at Bethlehem University – the first Catholic university in the Holy Land, a place where she was empowered to excel in her studies while being accepted and embraced as a Muslim!

“I love Bethlehem University, and I am honored to be graduated from Bethlehem University,” said Ms. Barakat, now 33 years old. When asked what is her favorite part of Bethlehem University, she responded, “I did not face with any kind of discrimination, neither because of my nation, nor my beliefs, nor any other factor… After the struggles I had in Turkey, I could complete my university education in a Catholic university.”

Ms. Barakat’s story is indeed inspirational and a true testament to the religious harmony at Bethlehem University. We are so thankful each and every day to live the mission set forth by St. John Baptist de La Salle!

Slideshow of Graduation 2012:


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