Dr. Bishara Awad
Position: Founder and President Emeritus of Bethlehem Bible College
Bishara attended Dar Al-Awlad Elementary School in Jerusalem from 1948-1954. He attended St. George’s High School from 1954-1960. Following his high school education he attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD, USA from 1960-1964 and earned a BA in Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry. He then taught high school for several years from 1964-1970. From 1968-1970 he attended evening courses at Missouri State College and received his MA in Education in 1970. From 1981-1982, he attended Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, CA for a one year, special program.
Bishara has been very active in his career, in particular in the development and expansion of Bethlehem Bible College. He has traveled widely in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the United States. He has several accolades to his credit, from being awarded the most successful alumni of Dakota Wesleyan to being awarded three honorary doctorates (Korea, Jerusalem University College and Dakota Wesleyan University). In 1999, he was the recipient of the Bob Pierce Award for Christian Service, bestowed by World Vision, International. In 2012, Dr. Bishara passed the leadership baton to Dr. Jack Sara, but Bishara is still an active member of the community, seen in his organization of a Rotary Club chapter in Bethlehem and in spearheading the development of BBC’s new Master of Peace Studies program.
Dr. Bishara Awad was born in Jerusalem in 1939.
Bishara married Salwa Constandi Andria from Gaza in 1970 and they continued to live in the United States for two years, while he taught in Kansas City at Central High School. After the birth of his first son, Sami, in 1972, Bishara joined the Mennonite Central Committee as a volunteer at Hope School in Beit Jala, Palestine. He served as Principal for ten years. He and Salwa had two more children, Samir, born in 1973, and Dina, born in 1977. In 1979, Bishara felt led to start Bethlehem Bible College. With the support of other Christian leaders, he began this ministry at Hope School during evening hours. From 1979 until 2012, Bishara served as President of Bethlehem Bible College.
As part of a Palestinian Christian family with deep roots in the Holy Land, Bishara’s childhood was marked by the birth of the modern state of Israel and the ensuing wars. His father was killed by a sniper in 1948 and Bishara and his six siblings were raised by their devout and godly mother, Huda, while also being forced to spend time in orphanages as the family navigated their way as refugees through many difficult years of upheaval. The story of the Awad family is chronicled in “Palestinian Memories: The Story of a Palestinian Mother and her People” by Alex Awad, and can be purchased in our Gift Shop and other online retailers. You can also read about Bishara in Brother Andrew’s book, “Light Force,” a personal account of his experiences working with the church in the Arab world.
Bishara’s motto in life is fourfold: Faithfulness, Honesty, Service and Love. He desires for Palestinians to find hope and peace in their lives through reconciliation with God and their fellow man.