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First Catholic university for Jordan

AMMAN (AsiaNews): “By transmitting knowledge and instilling in students a love of truth, it will greatly enhance their adherence to sound values and their personal freedom... The result of this process will be a university that is not only a platform for consolidating adherence to truth and to the values of a given culture, but a place of understanding and dialogue,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of the Madaba University, the first Catholic tertiary educational institute to be opened in Jordan on 9 May 2009.

After four years in the making, the university was inaugurated on May 30 in the presence of Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; the king of Jordan, Abdullah II; Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, the prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches; and hundreds of young, Christians and Muslim students.

The brainchild of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the American University of Madaba has its headquarters in New Hampshire in the United States of America. A Jordanian prince is the chairperson of the board of directors, which first opened its doors in 2011.

At the launching ceremony, Cardinal Sandri urged the students to “grow together in mutual respect for the religious sensibilities of each other, in reciprocity concerning practical matters, in courageous healing of historical wounds.”

He continued, “As the primary agents of interreligious dialogue, you have the best chance to build a society truly worthy of man. This university is a sign of the interest of the local and universal Church, not only in the individuals who are fortunate enough to attend, but in the greater Jordanian society.”

In the words of Pope Benedict, the patriarch of Jerusalem pointed out, “The intellectual nature of the human person is completed and must be supplemented by wisdom, which gently draws the human mind to seeking and loving what is true and good.”

He added, “This philosophy of education has been applied in all the Catholic schools of the Latin patriarchate since the mid-19th century. Our first school was opened in Salt, followed by others in the poorest rural areas of Jordan, until their number reached more than the 100 which are currently active in Jordan, Galilee and Palestine.”


He concluded by saying, “The founding of the University of Bethlehem 40 years ago and, today, the American University of Madaba, is the natural continuation of our efforts and further proof that we believe in the ability of education to create a real and positive change in the hearts of the younger generation.”

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