International Center of Bethlehem – Dar al-Kalima College
“Dar al-Kalima” means “House of the Word” – but not the word of rhetoric and speeches.
It is the Word that became flesh and dwelled among us.
The International Center of Bethlehem (ICB) is an ecumenically-minded institution originally rooted in the Lutheran tradition. The programs of the ICB serve the entire Palestinian community, with an emphasis on children, youth, and women. Over the past ten years, the ICB has built Dar al-Kalima School and Dar al-Kalima Health and Wellness Center.
The third stage of this program is the building of Dar al-Kalima College. With over half of the Palestinian population under the age of 19, additional higher education opportunities are needed. Dar al-Kalima College is the first Christian college in the Middle East to focus on training in the arts, multimedia, communication, and tourism.
Dar al-Kalima College is committed to bringing about change by impacting economics, politics, and culture in Palestine. The college envisions equipping young people with academic and vocational skills as well as providing much needed jobs now. Dar al-Kalima College will provide young Palestinians with access to vocational training that meets international standards in fields such as tourism, media, music and communications. In addition, focusing on standards necessary to compete on the international market, arts and crafts courses will preserve and revive traditional Palestinian handicrafts that are slowly dying out. By creating a forum where young Palestinians can study with people from other religious and cultural backgrounds, the college will promote ideals such as tolerance and respect for the thinking and beliefs of others, and will encourage active communication and the establishment of a network between educators, theologians, journalists, musicians, and artists from Palestine and the rest of the world. The project is a chance to invest in the region’s renewal and sustainability in a time plagued by destruction and unemployment.
Even the college’s physical structure will be a model of sustainability. At the ground breaking ceremony, Director of the International Center of Bethlehem, Reverend Dr. Mitri Raheb noted, “It will protect the dignity of this creation and its resources. Every drop of rain will be collected to be reused in watering the plants and taking care of the parks. A significant part of its electricity will be generated by solar energy. For the first time in Palestine, we will be using the energy that is stored in the bottom of the earth to supply the establishments with the required energy in winter and in summer.”
The first class of 30 students from Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Ramallah began classes in September 2006 working toward two-year diplomas. Classes are currently held by using International Center of Bethlehem space. Ground breaking for new campus buildings took place during the spring of 2007 with the vision of studios, workshops, classrooms, library, and offices to meet growing student numbers and needs in coming years. Global Ministries has made a contribution to the building project. Programs offered will continue to grow as the physical capacity increases, with plans to expand to additional four-year diplomas in coming years.
- A gift of $1000 could help build needed studios, classrooms, etc.
- A gift of $400 could support on-going curriculum development and resource acquisition.
- A gift of $150 could help maintain the rain collection and solar power systems.
- A gift of $40 could help purchase essential supplies for the programs and classes.