The Friends of Bethlehem University in Ireland was launched in February 2008 in Newman House, University College Dublin, by Dr. Garret FitzGerald, the Chancellor of the National University of Ireland, Nobel Laureate Dr. John Hume, and Professor Robert Smith, the academic Registrar of Bethlehem University, with the supporting message of Dr. Mary Mc Aleese, President of the Republic of Ireland who said:
“I am delighted to send my warmest good wishes to the FBUI on the occasion of its forthcoming launch.
The FBUI will offer the University vital support through the network of academic links it makes available, enhancing the educational reach of this institution as it carries out its vital work under the most testing conditions. The efforts of the FBUI extend an important message of solidarity and friendship in these difficult times.
I wish all associated with this initiative every success, and join you in wishing Bethlehem University every success in its continuing work.”
The FBUI is a Registered Charity in Ireland, (CHY 6868) and is authorized as an “eligible charity” for the purposes of Section 45 of the Finance Act, 2001’s provision of Tax Rebates on donations of €250.00 and over.
Bethlehem University is the only Catholic university in the Holy Land. The town of Bethlehem is circumscribed by an 8 metre high Wall so that mobility by the Palestinian staff and students into or out of Bethlehem is very difficult, often impossible with closed Israeli checkpoints. In these extraordinary circumstances, Bethlehem University, is a co-educational institution in the Lasallian tradition and carries out its mission to provide higher education to the people of Palestine of all creeds and nationalities, in the most difficult of political, academic, and financial circumstances.
The mission of FBUI is to assist Bethlehem University by establishing an academic co-operation programme with the Irish university world and thereby to assist in the overall development of the international programmes of all the universities involved. It has been established by the Friends of Bethlehem University in Ireland to provide a programme of visiting scholarships & fellowships to enable Bethlehem University staff make short visits out of Bethlehem to Irish universities, and conversely, to enable staff from Irish universities visit Bethlehem University in order, for example:
- to promote the establishment of teaching, research and other academic co-operative links,
- to explore opportunities for collaboration in student mobility under the European Union ERASMUS MUNDUS and in other student oriented programmes,
- to discuss the possibility for joint Masters or other degree programmes supported by the European Union, and
- to examine the various university administrative structures for such programmes as research development, e-learning, international development studies, etc..
“I am very pleased with this excellent initiative of our friends in Ireland on behalf of Bethlehem University. I thank you for your generosity in supporting this most vital project. We need and appreciate your assistance. This project which will develop professional academic relationships between Irish universities and Bethlehem University is of great value to our staff and the students we are privileged to serve. I offer you prayerful gratitude and blessings from the Holy Land.”
Brother Daniel Casey, FSC, Vice Chancellor and CEO, Bethlehem University in the Holy Land.