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For Immediate Release
27 July 2012

Bethlehem University receives prestigious international award for academic excellence in building the Palestinian state

Sciat vt Serviat Award affirms “interreligious dialogue and peace building” at Bethlehem University

Bethlehem, Palestine – The International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) “wishes to exalt the academic and social contribution of Bethlehem University” and highlight “the remarkable commitment of Bethlehem University in building a sustainable society in the Holy Land” declared Prof. Anthony J. Cernera, IFCU President, in awarding the prestigious Sciat vt Serviat Award to Bethlehem University at the General Assembly in São Paulo, Brazil on Thursday, 26 July 2012.

“It is an honour for the Bethlehem University academic community to be selected from among the 200 Catholic university members of IFCU to receive the Sciat vt Serviat Award,” responded Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University. “I am proud of the faculty and staff of Bethlehem University whose dedication provides a quality education and whose graduates contribute significantly to building the Palestinian state.”

Designed to enhance the mission of IFCU and of Catholic universities across the globe, the Sciat vt Serviat Award rewards creative initiatives that represent a significant and inspiring contribution to Catholic university culture.  Dr. Yousef Zaknoun, Director of The Cardinal Martini Leadership Institute at Bethlehem University, was among the 300 participants at the IFCU International Assembly in São Paulo, Brazil on Thursday, 26 July 2012 when it was announced that Bethlehem University was this year’s recipient of the Sciat vt Serviat Award. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis, President of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil; Mr. Júlio Semeghini, Secretary of Regional Planning and Development for the São Paulo government were also present for the IFCU Assembly.

Bethlehem University is the third such institution to receive the Sciat vt Serviat Award, being singled out for “the social commitment of its Faculty Members and Students in favor of the Interreligious Dialogue and Peacebuilding.” This is evidenced by the engagement of all students in an interreligious dialogue class during their fourth year of study; the prominent voice of Bethlehem University faculty, staff, and students at the “Christians in the Holy Land Conference” last summer at Lambeth Palace in London; the leadership of Bethlehem University faculty in the international discourse around the Christian presence in the Holy Land, such as through Kairos Palestine; and countless other initiatives.

Bethlehem University is one of the more than 200 member institutions of IFCU that are found on six continents.  IFCU holds consultative status and maintains an active presence with the United Nations; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); The Commission of Human Rights; and other international bodies.


Photos from the event can be found here: 

For More Information Contact:  
Patti Riippa, Communications Director, Bethlehem University
Tel. (U.S.) 202-526-6099
Skype: dcoffice.bethlehemuniversity

Loïc Roche, Communications Director, International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU)

About Bethlehem University

Providing quality higher education to the people of Palestine, Bethlehem University is the first university established in the West Bank. Serving as a center for the advancement, sharing, and use of knowledge, Bethlehem University traces its roots to 1893 when the De La Salle Christian Brothers opened schools in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Nazareth, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. Emphasizing excellence in academic programs and the development of students as committed people to assume leading positions in society, Bethlehem University was founded in 1973 through the joint efforts of Palestinian educators, community leaders, the Vatican and the international Catholic religious order of the De La Salle Christian Brothers. A founding member of the Palestinian Council for Higher Education, Bethlehem University is a member of the Association of Arab Universities (AAU), International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), and the Lasallian Association of Colleges and Universities (LACUP).

As a Catholic Christian co-educational institution of higher learning welcoming students of all faith traditions, Bethlehem University aspires to fostering shared values, moral principles and dedication to serving the common good among more than 3,000 students in undergraduate and post-graduate master degree and diploma programs in the Arts, Business Administration, Education, Nursing, Science, and Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism, as well as with continuing education and professional diploma students in the Institute for Community Partnership.

Communications Office

George N. Rishmawi

George N. Rishmawi
Communications Officer
+972 2 274 1241 Ext. 2421

Jenny Hodali
Communications Officer

+972 2 274 1241 Ext. 2314
Fax: +972-2-274-4440

Physical Address:
Rue des Freres No. 9
P.O. Box 9 Bethlehem - Palestine

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