A Palestinian From Bethlehem Visiting Wellington
A PALESTINIAN FROM BETHLEHEM
Dr Bishara will speak about the situation under the occupation and will give a first hand account on the lifes of the palestinian people.
Where: Meeting room, Mezzzanine floor
Public Library, Victoria Street, Wellington
When: 6.00pm Friday, 11 October 2002
Introducing Dr. Bishara Awad
Born in Jerusalem in 1939, Bishara's life changed forever in 1948 when his father was killed by a stray bullet during the conflict surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel. Bishara's mother and her seven children joined the estimated 750,000 Palestinians who lost their homes and became refugees. Unable to support her children, she placed them in an orphanage where Bishara spent the next 12 years of his life.
After graduating from high school he was awarded a scholarship to Dakota Wesleyan University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics.
Bishara returned to Jerusalem in 1971 where he served as principal of a boys' school.
During these years Bishara worried about the growing exodus of Palestinian Christians from the Holy Land. (The percentage of Palestinian Christians has dropped from 17% at the turn of the century to less than 2% in 1999.) To help stem the tide, in 1979 Bishara founded Bethlehem Bible College to educate Palestinian Christians and encourage them to stay and serve in their homeland. Of the 250 students who have graduated from the college, 98% have remained in their homeland.
Bishara is widely respected for his peace-building work, bringing together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. He was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the Jerusalem University College. He is also founder of Bethlehem's first public library.