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2 January 2013

Yasmeen Khoury ('08): Once an Ambassador, Always an Ambassador!

With her smile, beauty, perfect English, and brains, Ms. Yasmeen Khoury, Bethlehem University graduate ('08), makes a powerful impression on all who meet her. And when she unleashes her sense of humor you understand completely why people love to be in her company!Ms. Yasmeen Khoury

At Bethlehem University, Yasmeen studied Computer Information Systems in the Faculty of Science, in the second class to graduate from the CIS program, and also earned a minor in Business Administration. She felt this would give her two directions to travel career-wise, two options for employment, and two ways of viewing the world. "From the computer science program at Bethlehem University I learned how to think logically, and this has benefited me in so many ways," Yasmeen said. 

Though forever appreciative for the education she obtained, being a Student Ambassador was the best thing that happened to her during her studies at Bethlehem University. The Student Ambassador program draws together some of the best and brightest students to lead tours and talk with guests and pilgrimage groups who come to the University from all around the world. Guests are able to interface with and ask Student Ambassadors questions about not only the University, but also their lives and conditions living in Palestine under occupation.

"The Student Ambassador Program was a wonderful opportunity for me," Yasmeen said. "It gave me self-confidence, broadened my communication skills, helped me feel free to speak up, and added tremendously to my personality. As a Student Ambassador I was able to open up others eyes so they could see through my window... I learned to use language in a way that could make a real difference in how others saw our country and conditions, and our hopes and dreams for the future. I learned to use language so that others could see all the colors I see when I talk about my country," she said. 

Though initially Yasmeen planned on a career in IT, volunteering in the Bethlehem community led her down a different path, and she found that she had more to offer than she had first imagined. 

"I participated in small projects aimed at revitalizing areas of Bethlehem in terms of economic development," Yasmeen said. "Some projects were funded by USAID; all of the projects were aimed at ensuring a better life for Palestinian people," she said. "I learned that I was most interested in these sorts of projects, even though they were voluntary work, than I was in other types of work. I’m a very social person and I love to build networks of people, to link together people who are working toward a unified goal – this is what I am passionate about."

So she embraced this passion and found employment in several arenas: the United Nations; the Wi'am Conflict Resolution Center; the European Youth Centre; and Kairos Palestine, which she joined in 2010 and has contributed to their efforts to end the occupation and bring peace to the region. Ms. Yasmeen Khoury

The Kairos Palestine document, "Moment of Truth," was co-authored by Dr. Jamal Khader, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Bethlehem University. The document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about the military occupation of Palestine, which is described as a sin against God and humanity. "Moment of Truth" calls upon all churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in the region, and calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people.

"I was drawn to Kairos Palestine’s ecumenical voice and to the way it expands the Christian circle, bringing us all into solidarity, and allowing us to speak in a universal voice," Yasmeen said. "What are also especially moving for me are the youth and youth gatherings we have held. The youth in Palestine give clear expression to this cry of freedom through their demands, aspirations, and hopes for the future. It is moving to listen to and work with all the people working together to end the occupation," she said.

As for her future, Yasmeen sees a shift in her career and academic interests. "I love communications and public relations and I am able to use both in my job," she said. "In fact, if I was to consider doing a Masters degree I think it would be in this field because I see how these skills can really have a big and life-changing impact."

Yasmeen carries big hopes for her future and credits Bethlehem University for much of her success. "There is so much we can each do to have an impact on life and on those around us," she said. "Bethlehem University showed me what was possible and then I went for it and I hope every generation of Bethlehem University’s students will do so too!"


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