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15 September 2014

The 40th Jubilee Year Closing Ceremony, conferring Honorary Doctorate upon H.E. Ambassador Affif Safieh

Bethlehem University celebrated the end of the 40 Jubilee Year with a great ceremony held at the Furno Hall on Friday 12 September 2014.

The ceremony started with a welcome by Dr. Michael Sansur, Executive Vice President followed by a performance by “The Olive Branches Choir” who started their performance the Palestinian National Anthem, following a moment of silence for those who died in Gaza.

An official welcoming speech by Brother Peter Bray the Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University started the official Closing Ceremony of the Jubilee Year.

Brother Bray said “Bethlehem University is unashamedly a Catholic University where Muslims feel comfortable to come to…” and he added “what we are doing here in Palestine is to provide an environment where people can live life to its fullness.”

After the Bethlehem University Anthem, Dr. Sansur mentioned the names of the first Faculty and Staff and first members of the Board of Trustees who served Bethlehem University at its beginning in 1973, who are not present either because they have passed away or because they were not able to attend.  Then Brother Bray had a special recognition for the first members of the Board of Trustees, Faculty and Staff.

In his speech, Brother Peter expressed gratitude to those first Faculty and Staff and Trustees who decided to invest their time and energy to serve something that has just started, and we are very grateful for them because of what Bethlehem University is now.  He also expressed gratitude to those students who in 1973 decided to join something, they knew very little about.

One of the highlights of the event was the conferral of the Honorary Doctorate upon His Excellency Ambassador Affif Safieh, for his service throughout the past decades to the Palestinian People.  Among other positions, Ambassador Safieh served as the Palestinian Ambassador to London for several years before moving to the United States of America and other countries representing Palestine.

Dr. Irene Hazou, Vice President for Academic Affairs read the Citation of Honoris-Causa for Ambassador Safieh, mentioning the different important positions that he played as a representative of the Palestinians and a long-term advocate for peace and justice in Palestine.

On his part Ambassador Safieh addressed the audience and thanked Bethlehem University for this award.  “How would have education been in Palestine without Bethlehem University?!” Ambassador Safieh said in an indication to role Bethlehem University played as the first University in the Palestine.

A modest reception prepared by the students and staff of the Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism, followed the event where the invitees had a chance to chat and exchange greetings.

The closing ceremony has ended a year of festivities and activities organized through the year. The activities varied in type and nature.  The different faculties organized their own activities, the Advancement Office organized Gala dinner in Washington DC and Chicago in the USA, and the Alumni Office organized together with the Faculty of Science, an Alumni Gathering Day for the faculty’s graduates.

A special lighting of the Christmas Tree was one of the main highlights of the Jubilee activities in addition to the special Graduation Ceremony and many other activities flavored with the Jubilee year aroma.

Bethlehem University celebrated forty years of Knowledge, Empowerment and Liberation since 1973 and is now looking forward at the next forty years where it is seeking development, and progress for the benefit of the Palestinian People.

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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