This discussion, with remarks by Father Mark Bosco, Vice President for Mission and Ministry, is co-sponsored by:
The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
The Catholic Studies Program
Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor (President) of Bethlehem University, will share his reflections on the daily challenges faced in operating the only Christian University in Palestine. Bethlehem University, a work of the Vatican and the De La Salle Christian Brothers, opened its doors in 1973 to serve the Palestinian Community as a center of education. A number of Manhattan College alumni have lived and worked at Bethlehem University since its founding and through to today. Located in the heart of Bethlehem in the midst of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the University seeks to create peaceful minds and hearts. With a student population that is 75% Muslim and 25% Christian, the University stands as a place of encounter and dialogue between members of the two faith groups.
Once a vibrant minority community, Christians today number less than 2% of the population in the Holy Land. The University, through its academic and employment programs, is one of the few hopes of sustaining the dwindling Christian population. With 46% of the student population living in Jerusalem, Brother Peter will share the experience of those students who each day must pass through the separation wall and military checkpoints that divide Bethlehem from Jerusalem. Having a student population that is 76% female, the University serves as a major educator of Palestinian women.
Dr. Cory Blad of Manhattan College and Dr. Jamil Khader of Bethlehem University have co-created an on-line Lasallian Research Platform for scholars across the 64 Lasallian colleges and universities on 5 continents to share and to discover research projects and collaboration opportunities.
An Exhibit of the Museum of the Palestinian People, founded by an alumnus of Bethlehem University, was hosted at Manhattan College in February 2018 under the direction of Dr. Marisa Lerer.
Dr. Brennan O’Donnell, President, Mr. Ken Rathgeber, Board Chair, and a number of the Manhattan College Trustees and spouses visited Bethlehem University and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) representatives for the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza as part of the Lasallian Catholic Core Identity Mission Formation Pilgrimage for Trustees during October 2019.