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Patriarch’s speech at American University of Madaba inauguration

MADABA – Here we publish the speech of His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal given this Thursday, May 30 afternoon at the Inauguration ceremony of the American University of Madaba to His Majesty King Abdulla II and all participants.

abdullah_ii (1)

American University of Madaba

Inauguration ceremony

May 30, 2013

 

Your Majesty, King Abdulla the second,
Your Eminence Leandro Cardinal Sandri,
Dear and honourable Guests and Friends,

I welcome you to the Inauguration ceremony of the American University of Madaba!  It is a historical celebration, thanks to the presence of our beloved King, who has rightly given priority to the task of extending and improving education in Jordan.

Thank you, your Majesty, for accepting our invitation despite your tight agenda.

I extend my gratitude to the Jordanian Government and especially to the Ministry of Higher Education, which allowed our dream to become a reality.  I express our appreciation for Cardinal Sandri’s presence as representative of His Holiness Pope Francis, to our numerous supporters from the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher and I greet our countless friends from Jordan and from distant shores, to you who are present here and to those who were not able to join us.

His Holiness Benedict XVI, who was the guest of His Majesty in May 2009, encouraged and supported the foundation of this university. As he blessed the foundation stone, he shared with us his vision of education, which finds its perfection in wisdom:

“Humanity’s intellectual nature, he said, finds its perfection ultimately in wisdom, which gently draws the human mind to seek and to love what is true and good” (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 15).  The use of scientific knowledge needs the guiding light of ethical wisdom. … And consequently, that university where the quest for truth goes hand in hand with the search for what is good and noble, offers an indispensable service to society.”

Pope Benedict defined the university as “a place of understanding and dialogue.” Indeed, “While assimilating their own heritage, young Jordanians and other students from the region will be led to a deeper knowledge of human cultural achievements, will be enriched by other viewpoints, and formed in comprehension, tolerance and peace.”

One important aspect in education is creating an environment for interfaith relations.  Education leads not only to the shaping of identities, but also  to respecting the distinct identity of others,(…) “In fact, there is no contrast between the need to be well-rooted in one’s own religious and cultural tradition and being, at the same time, open to others’ identities.”[1]

This philosophy of education has been applied in all the Catholic schools under the Latin Patriarchate since the middle of the nineteenth century.  Our first school was opened in Salt, followed by others in the poorest rural areas of Jordan until our number reached more than one hundred, currently active in Jordan, Galilee and Palestine. The foundation of Bethlehem University 40 years ago and of the American University of Madaba are the natural continuity of our efforts, and further proof that we believe in the capacity of education to make a real positive transformation in the hearts of the young generation, and to build up a prosperous society and a strong nation.

Following the path of the Hashemite Leaders, the American University of Madaba is open to diversity.  We look forward to forging collaborations and alliances with local, regional, European and American universities and organizations.

Your Majesty, dear Friends,

As we come to the end of a successful second academic year, I thank all of you for the progress thus far achieved.

I convey my profound gratitude to the Jordanian authorities for your on-going collaboration; to our staff and teachers for your dedication, your professional commitment to our mission and vision; and to you, our dear students, who are our hope for the future of this country.

At this point, I feel a sacred duty to mention two persons, worthy of our deep gratitude, because they believed in education, and worked relentlessly to achieve their vision of a modern university in Jordan.  They are my predecessor Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah and Bishop Emeritus Salim Sayegh.

Your Majesty, honourable guests,

We are living today, a historical and memorable event that will inspire us, and with God’s blessing, fulfil our commitment towards the younger generation.  With your support and encouragement, we, as civil society and private university, are looking forward to working hand in hand with our government and other civil institutions, to promote scientific knowledge, ethical wisdom, intercultural dialogue, human development, tolerance, peace and progress in the region. Together, let us build a strong, joyful, compassionate, dedicated and collaborative community of educators and students.

Mabrouk to you all.

+ Fouad Twal

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

[1] Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Human and Religious Values Shared by Christians and Muslims for a Common Education Colloquium, Rome, May 18, 2011