Beyond Walls: Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Speaker: Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor, Bethlehem University
Brother Peter Bray, FSC, EdD is a De La Salle brother and the 8th Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University - the first university, and only Catholic university, established in Palestine providing higher education to the Palestinian people (both Christians and Muslims).
Brother Peter assumed leadership of Bethlehem University in February 2009 after working for 11 years as the director of the Wellington Catholic Education Centre in New Zealand. He brings more than 30 years of Catholic education experience as a teacher, consultant, administrator, and expert in leadership and educational systems. Brother Peter complements his practical experience with a doctorate in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego with a focus on leadership approaches that facilitate change in educational institutions.
After 8 years of living and working within the walls around Bethlehem, Bro Bray is well aware of the curfews, travel restrictions, military checkpoints and the negative impact of the Israeli military occupation throughout the West Bank.
In an interview in September last year, Bro Bray said:
"The faculty, staff and students face the reality of the occupation everyday, particularly in relation to the restrictions on movement. Our students from East Jerusalem have to come through the Wall each day and experience the humiliations and delays associated with that. People from Bethlehem or Hebron face difficulties in getting permits to travel into Jerusalem and are not allowed to leave the country through Ben Gurion airport, but must go across the Allenby Bridge to Jordan which can take them from two to eight or nine hours. There is, however, a resilience among our students that brings them together and leads to a deep identification as Palestinians striving to live life as fully as they can."