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25 April 2013

Spanish Diplomatic Delegation Visits Bethlehem University, Supports Education Project

Spanish Foreign MinisterOn Monday 22 April, Bethlehem University welcomed a delegation of 50 diplomats, officials, and civil society organizations from Spain. Sr. Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, Spanish Foreign Minister, led the delegation, which also included Mr Alfonso Portabales, Spanish Consul in Jerusalem, and Mdm. Pilar Lara Alen, President of the Foundation for the Social Promotion of Culture in Spain.

The Spanish Agencies provided around €3.5 million to support the construction and the furnishing of the Zurub Teacher Resource Center, the implementing body of the Education Project in the Faculty of Education at Bethlehem University. The project has been made possible with support from Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which contributed to the new Education Building and implementing the Education Project, which is aimed at improving the quality of teaching in 58 elementary and secondary schools in four districts in Palestine. Approximately 4,300 teachers students, parents, supervisors and school principals are benefitting from the project, in its three interrelated components; Pedagogy, Special Education, Technology in Education.

The Spanish Foreign Minister, Mr. Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, spoke about the role of Bethlehem University and the Faculty of Education in preparing for a better future for Palestine, and he affirmed his commitment to this partnership with the University.

Traditional DanceThe Spanish delegation was welcomed by Dr. Michael Sansur, Executive Vice President of Bethlehem University, Mr. Rizek Sleibi, Dean of the Faculty of Education, Mr. Abdel Fattah Hamayil, Governor of Bethlehem; a number of Bethlehem University faculty, staff, and students; and representatives of the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education and other Palestinian Officials.

Dr. Sansur emphasized the importance of the Spanish support of Bethlehem University from the civil society organizations, and the official support from the government to the peace process through its role in the European Union.

"By helping countries less fortunate than your own, including Palestine, you not only show an exemplary act of generosity in difficult times, but you also make a social investment in the future," Dr. Sansur said. "The Education Building in which we are gathered this evening is one such example, and the project of Improving the Quality of Education in Primary and Secondary Schools is another example. You have contributed to ensuring a better future for young Palestinians, and in so doing you are investing in your future and, consequently, contributing to global well-being."

On his part, Mr. Rizek Sleibi, who is also the Director of the project gave an overview of the project highlighting the goals and the geographic coverage of the project and the impact made so far on the quality of education in the partnered schools. (See Booklet about the Project)

A tour of Bethlehem University included a panoramic view of Bethlehem looking at the nearby separation wall and settlements, especially the settlement known as Har Homa, which is built on Abu Ghneim hill. Bethlehem University students performed the traditional Palestinian folk dance, and then proceeded to the new Education building. The visit concluded with a reception prepared by the students of the Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism at Bethlehem University.


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