28 September 2016
Distinguished Graduate Rima Canawati BU’86 wins International Leadership Award
The International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) has awarded Bethlehem University graduate Rima Canawati with the International Leadership Award for the outstanding service to ICEVI and children and young people with a visual impairment. The Award ceremony was held in Orlando, Florida in August 2016.
The ICEVI is a global association of individuals and organizations that promotes equal access to education for all children and youth with visual impairment, so that they may achieve their full potential.
Ms. Canawati graduated from Bethlehem University in 1986 with a major in English and a minor in Education. She established “The Vision Rehabilitation Department” at the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation (BASR; She is currently the head of Program Development at BASR, and has over 22 year experience in disability and inclusive development work.)
Despite being a Palestinian woman with total vision loss, and living under occupation, Rima has achieved so much for the people with vision impairment, not only ensuring that visually impaired students receive an appropriate education, but also integrating them into the job market.
In 2009, she was awarded the International Service Human Rights award for her contributions and long struggle for the defense of the human rights of people with disabilities.
Rima also helped establish a resource center at Bethlehem University to support students with vision impairment and offer them equal access to quality higher education by providing them material in an accessible format.
Rima defends the right of visually impaired children and young people to a quality education, and she plays a very important role in educating these young people and their parents to fight for their inalienable rights. As part of her advocacy and lobbying efforts for mainstreaming persons with disabilities into all aspects of development, she also lobbied the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education for the implementation of a national program on the educational inclusion of persons with impaired vision.
As a community at Bethlehem University, we are all are proud of Rima, and we will continue working together to protect the right of every person to a quality higher education.
Bethlehem University, the most accessible campus in Palestine for people with disabilities gives a lot of attention to students disabled and always strives to make their time on campus as fruitful and easy as possible.