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7 December 2013

Bethlehem University Celebrates Christmas Tree Lighting

Hope and light for prosperous 40 years to come

With great joy and festivity, Bethlehem University ceremoniously lit its Christmas tree in a celebration attended by hundreds of graduates, friends, faculty, and staff on Friday, 6 December 2013.

The tree is located close to De La Salle Hall, the oldest building on campus, which dates back to 1893, and was decorated with special ornaments designed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bethlehem University this year.

The lighting of the tree was led by His Excellency Most Reverend Giuseppe Lazzarotto,  Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Chancellor of Bethlehem University, as well as two of the first graduates of the Bethlehem University class of 1977, Dr. Irene Hazou, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Fuad Bannoura, most recently Chair of the Chemistry Department until last year. The audience reacted with cheers and joined in singing Christmas carols with the Magnificat Orchestra and Choir of Jerusalem.

Dr. Qustandi Shomali, professor of Arabic Language, welcomed alumni and guests to the ceremony, including the Honorable Mrs. Vera Baboun, Mayor of Bethlehem, who is also a graduate and a former faculty member of Bethlehem University.

“Today the Bethlehem University community comes together to celebrate 40 years of its birth,” Dr. Shomali said. “We look back at what has been done, a tree of hope and light, living fruits that have the energy to and the power to build the future and to build Palestine. The University is the tree of new life, and it welcomes its children. And as the Christmas ornaments beautify the tree, those graduates make the future better.”

Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor, reflected on the 40th anniversary of Bethlehem University – recognizing its decades of service to the Palestinian people as well as looking toward the future. “What accomplishments do we want to leave to our successors to be proud of what Bethlehem University has achieved in the coming 40 years?” he asked. Bethlehem University will continue to be a beacon of hope and an oasis of peace for all its students for many years to come, Brother Peter said.

Others were recognized by Brother Peter Bray and Dr. Michael Sansur, Executive Vice President, for their part in the 40th anniversary celebrations, including Ms. Samar Ghattas, teacher of Fine Arts, who designed the 40th Jubilee mosaic mural; and Mr. Fadi Saleh, Bethlehem University class of 2013, who designed the 40th Jubilee logo and Father Armando Pierucci, Director General of the Magnificat Institute.

Following the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, attendees were invited for the opening of the photo exhibition “Gentes de la Terra.” Mr. Juan José Escobar, Consul General of Spain in Jerusalem, cut the ribbon for the exhibition, located on the first floor of De La Salle Hall. Attendees were invited to a reception hosted by the students of the Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism.

More Photos at our Flickr Account


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