Four years after Pope Benedict blessed its cornerstone during his apostolic journey to the Holy Land, the first Catholic university in Jordan held its inauguration ceremony.
The American University of Madaba, an initiative of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, is legally incorporated in New Hampshire. A Jordanian prince chairs the board of trustees of the university, which opened its doors to students in 2011.
King Abdullah II joined Church leaders at the May 30 event.
“Grow together in mutual respect for the religious sensibilities of each other, in reciprocity concerning practical matters, in courageous healing of historical wounds,” said Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. “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,” he added. “The Church is eager to contribute to the good of every nation in which she finds herself, without threatening the culture and heritage proper to each.”
“I extend my gratitude to the Jordanian government and especially to the Ministry of Higher Education, which allowed our dream to become a reality,” added Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem. “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.”