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ROME / BETHLEHEM – The International Board of Regents of the University of Bethlehem met at the Generalate of the Christian Brothers de La Salle in Rome on January 26 – 27, 2017, to evaluate the quality of teaching and educational development of the institution.

This assembly, the highest of the University, meet  twice a year with the participation of the 22 founding members and benefactors from different countries.  Once again, discussions and decisions focused on improving the standards and quality of education and to foster the development of a university that can take pride in its achievements.

Work during these two days was conducted by Professor Bart McGettrick, chairman of the Board of Regents, and Brother Peter Bray, FSC, Vice-Chancellor of Bethlehem University.  They were joined by academicians, law and finance specialists, and representatives of organizations that support the University:  the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem,  CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association), and ROACO (Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches).  Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo is ex officio member of the Board and representative of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land.

Members meet in committees to work more closely on issues such as the quality of education and methods of instructions, development, fund-raising and appointments.

This year, two issues dominated the discussions.  The first was how to keep the original identity and purpose of the University.  For example, the idea of setting up an Ethics Committee which would follow up and monitor teaching and research carried out at the University.  This initiative will be studied and specifically addressed at the next meeting.

On the other hand, members have worked on ongoing projects for the development of the Nursing and Tourism departments and a hospitality area to welcome large numbers of visitors.  These projects can only be completed  with financial support from various foundations and organizations.  Members of the Board of Regents have studied different ways of raising funds.

Despite the constant search for funding resources to sustain the institution, the University is doing well, with  almost 3,300 students registered this year.  This University was founded in 1973 and is proud that more than 16,000 young Palestinian students have graduated.

In a land divided by conflicts, where the horizon remains uncertain, Bethlehem University has fostered a deeper dialogue between Christians and Muslims and rekindled the hope for a better future among young Palestinians.  Bethlehem University has been and continues to be an oasis of peace.

Cécile Klos

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