The vice-rector of the only Catholic university in the Holy Land has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the Australian Catholic University (ACU).
On Friday, 17 February 2023, Br. Peter Bray, originally from Taranaki, New Zealand, received the title of Doctor of the University (Honouris Causa) for advancing the values and principles of education in the Catholic tradition in Australia and abroad.
At the end of 2008 Br. Peter Bray became the eighth Vice-Chancellor of Bethlehem University, pledging during his 15-year in office to make the university welcoming also to young Palestinian students.
Born out of an agreement between the Vatican and the Brothers of the Christian Schools and founded in 1973 in the West Bank, Bethlehem University is the first and only Catholic university in the Holy Land. Although less than 1% of the Palestinian population is Christian, the university is also committed to providing quality higher education to the Palestinian people.
Br Peter Bray accepted the honorary degree from the ACU on behalf of his inspiring students. “I am particularly aware of the suffering our students, so I greatly admire the fact that their resistance is expressed in a non-violent way, simply by moving forward and doing ordinary things,” he said.
“The fact that the ACU recognised me with this degree means that through me it also recognises Bethlehem University and all its young students who are not so forgotten. This helps to keep hope alive,” said Br Peter Bray.