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For Immediate Release
30 August 2012

First Palestinian Woman Appointed Vice President at Bethlehem University

Bethlehem University Appoints New Vice President for Academic Affairs

Bethlehem, Palestine – Dr. Irene Hazou has been appointed the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bethlehem University, effective 17 August 2012, marking the first time in the history of Bethlehem University that a woman and a Palestinian has held this significant leadership position.

In announcing the appointment of Dr. Irene Hazou, a 1977 graduate of Bethlehem University’s first class, to the highest academic position at Bethlehem University, Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor, stated, "Dr. Irene has a long association with Bethlehem University and over the past 10 years has been the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs. She brings to the Vice President's position a depth of understanding of Bethlehem University, a significant competence and expertise, and a deep awareness of the direction in which we need to move to ensure that the quality of what Bethlehem University offers students continue to improve." 

"I look forward to working with my faculty colleagues and University administrators in realizing the fullest capacities of Bethlehem University as we continue to provide a quality education in the service of the honorable goal of the building of the state of Palestine, I look forward to being able to put to service my long association and experience at Bethlehem University for its development and betterment," reflected Dr. Hazou. "Bethlehem University is fortunate to have talented and dedicated faculty and staff who are actively engaged with the students entrusted to our care. We have been and will remain committed to academic excellence and responsible citizenship." 

"Dr. Irene Hazou, with her breadth and depth of experience related to Bethlehem University, could not be more well-suited for this vital leadership role as she works to advance the quality of the academic environment at Bethlehem University," said Brother Robert Smith, who served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs for the past five years. 

Dr. Hazou has had the opportunity to know Bethlehem University through a variety of roles. She is a 1977 graduate of Bethlehem University who went on to earn her Master of Science ('80) and PhD ('86) in Mathematics from Oregon State University. She has served since January 2002 as the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bethlehem University, during which time she initiated and oversaw the Quality Assurance initiatives among the academic departments of the University and participated in the Strategic Planning processes of the University. Dr. Hazou is also an esteemed faculty member at Bethlehem University, first joining the faculty as an Instructor from 1980-82 and returning as an Assistant Professor in 1986, after the completion of her PhD. In 2010 she was promoted to Associate Professor and continues to teach in the Mathematics Department.

As Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Hazou is responsible for supporting, enhancing, and promoting the mission of Bethlehem University by fostering academic excellence and providing overall guidance for all academic programs of the University. Together with the Deans of the Faculties, Directors of the Academic Institutes, and Chairs of the Academic Departments, and the leadership of Dr. Hazou, Bethlehem University began its current academic year with the first day of classes on Thursday, 23 August 2012, joining in a long tradition of education at Bethlehem University since 1973.

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, International Federation of Catholic Universities, and the Lasallian Association of Colleges and Universities. 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
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