Dr. Bishara Awad
Bethlehem Bible College, President
Dr. Awad was born in Jerusalem in 1939 and was just 9 years old when his father was killed by a stray bullet during the height of the Arab/Israeli conflict. With his mother and six siblings, he joined hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes and became refugees. Following his high school education in Jerusalem, Bishara attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics with a minor in chemistry in 1964. He then taught high school for several years, and during that time, he earned his master's degree in education from Missouri State University. Later he also attended Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California for a one-year program. Bishara taught in Kansas City at Central High School in the early '70s, and in 1972 he joined the Mennonite Central Committee as a volunteer at Hope School in Beit Jala, Palestine. He served as principal for 10 years.
In 1979, he founded Bethlehem Bible College and began this ministry during evening hours while still at Hope School. Today, Bethlehem Bible College is a fully accredited institution that serves approximately 170 young men and women each year and Bishara has served as its president since the beginning. He is considered a true peacemaker, leading an institution that educates Jews, Muslims and Christians who go on to serve their communities as pastors, Christian educators, counselors and youth directors.
In 1989, Bishara was named the Dakota Wesleyan University Alumnus of the Year. He has received two previous honorary doctorates, and in 1999, he was the recipient of the Bob Pierce Award of Christian Service, bestowed by World Vision International. In April this year the Dakota Wesleyan University awarded Bishara with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.