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Board of Directors

Officers

Ghassan Salameh

Chair and Patron

Chairman and CEO, Rubix Holding
Director since 2017

Mr. Salameh holds a MBA from the University of San Francisco, and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from California State University. He has held senior level positions in the management and technology consulting industry, including Booz Allen Hamilton, where he was Executive Vice President and Senior Partner, and CH2M where he was Director of International Infrastructure Business.

Mr. Salameh is a recognized global leader in transportation and infrastructure planning and development. He led the strategy, growth, and execution of businesses at the executive level for multiple companies and created businesses across major cities around the world. Mr. Salameh played key roles in major international conferences as well as authoring multiple papers focused on issues such as public-private partnerships, advanced technologies, and management. Mr. Salameh serves on the Boards of the United Palestinian Appeal; Rubix Holding; and UNRWA, USA where he is the Chairman of the Board.

He and his wife, Suava, are Gold Patrons of the Bethlehem University Foundation.

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Brother Michael O’Hern, FSC

Treasurer

President Emeritus of Christian Brothers Investment Services Inc.
Director since 2019

Brother Michael O’Hern is President Emeritus of Christian Brothers Investment Services Inc. where he served as President and CEO for 28 years. He guided the investments of multiple religious organizations, ensuring the ethical use of invested funds, challenging corporate entities to act with justice according to Catholic Social Teaching, and meeting personally with individual leaders of congregations and organizations in the United States and abroad.

Brother Michael earned his bachelor’s degree from Lewis University and an M.A. in history from Michigan State University and in administration from Northwestern University. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Lewis University for work done on Catholic Responsible Investing.

Brother Michael spent years fulfilling the educational mission of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, first as a high school history teacher, then as principal of two Catholic high schools in Chicago, and finally as high school superintendent for the Archdiocese of Chicago, during which time there were 60 high schools.

Brother Michael has served on multiple boards including Christian Brothers Services, the District Council for the De La Salle Christian Brothers of the Midwest, La Salle University in Philadelphia, Saint Mary’s Press, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and Saint Mary’s College of California. He previously served on the Board of the International Catholic Stewardship Council as Treasurer.

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Elias Aburdene

Secretary and Patron

President and CEO, Rock Creek Corporation
Director since 2002

Born in Bethlehem, Mr. Aburdene is President and CEO of Rock Creek Corporation, an investment company. He holds a master’s degree from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, specializing in International Economics, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Connecticut. He has been working in the world of finance and investments for over four decades. He is currently President and CEO of Rock Creek Corporation, an investment company.

Mr. Aburdene is a member of several Boards, including the Bethlehem University International Board of Regents, the Board of Advisors for the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, the Board for the American Friends of the Bethlehem Development Foundation, and the Board of Directors for UNRWA.

Mr. Aburdene and his wife, Annette, are Legacy Patrons of the Bethlehem University Foundation.

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Helena Christine, Esq.

Compliance Officer and Patron

Legal Counsel at the University of Alabama
Elected April 2020, Term commences November 2020

Helena Christine is currently legal counsel at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, with a focus on economic development and institutional management. She is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys. She holds a Bachelor of Jurisprudence and Master of Jurisprudence from Oxford University.

In 1994, she was admitted to the Alabama Bar and in 1989 as a Solicitor in England and Wales.

Before her work at the University of Alabama, Helena was an attorney at HealthSouth Corporation (2000-2006), the Birmingham law firm, Bradley Arant (1994-2000), and practiced law in the United Kingdom (1988-1993).

She and her husband Brian are members of the Southeastern Lieutenancy Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and are Patrons of the Bethlehem University Foundation.

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The Most Reverend Gerald F. Kicanas, Ph.D.

Vice Chair

Bishop Emeritus of Tucson
Director since 2019

Gerald Kicanas was born in Chicago, Illinois, to parents of Lebanese heritage. He obtained his Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Chicago in April of 1967.  Following Ordination, he earned an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Loyola University in Chicago

Father Kicanas spent 25 years in seminary formation for the Archdiocese of Chicago. He served as Rector, Principal, and Dean of Formation at Quigley Preparatory Seminary.  In 1984, he was appointed Rector of Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. During his tenure as Rector, he served as a lecturer in Community and Organization Development at Loyola University.

Pope John Paul II appointed Father Kicanas as Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago on the 24th of January 1995 with Ordination in March of that year.  He was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Tucson in Oct. of 2001 and succeeded to the position of Bishop of Tucson in March of 2003.

Bishop Kicanas served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services. He is the former Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Pope Francis accepted Bishop Kicanas’ resignation as Bishop of Tucson on the 3rd of October 2017.

Following in the words of his Episcopal Motto “Justice Begets Peace,” Bishop Kicanas has been a tireless advocate on behalf of immigrants, the poor, and for peace among the peoples of the Middle East.

Bishop Kicanas received the Archbishop Pietro Sambi ‘Star of Bethlehem Award for Services to the Bethlehem University Foundation’ in November of 2019 in recognition of his advocacy for peaceful coexistence between the people of the Holy Land and his support of Bethlehem University as a means of achieving that peace.

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Elected Directors

Ann S. Dickson

Patron

Retired Program Budget Director, U.S. Department of Defense
Director since 2020

A retired civil servant, Ann Dickson plays an active role in the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, and other Catholic philanthropic organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Emmanuel College, an MBA with a concentration in Finance from Virginia Tech, and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from the University of San Francisco.

Ann worked for the U.S. Department of Defense in various offices as a Program/Budget Analyst and Program/Budget Officer (1963-1999).  She was Catechumenate Director at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista, Arizona (1999-2008). Ann is a Dame Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and is the Justice and Peace Coordinator for the Tucson Section of the Western Lieutenancy. Ann was instrumental in creating the Most Rev Sir Gerald F. Kicanas KC*HS Endowed Scholarship at the Bethlehem University Foundation. She also received the “Archangel Award” of the Western Lieutenancy for her work in establishing the endowed scholarship.

Ann is a Patron of the Bethlehem University Foundation.

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Benjamin Monastero III

Certified Public Accountant
Director since 2010

Benjamin Monastero III joined Bethlehem University Foundation Board of Directors in October of 2010 and served as the Foundation’s Treasurer from 2010-2021. He currently chairs the Fundraising Committee. He is a Knight Commander with Star in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem where he served in numerous capacities over the years including the Investiture Committee Chair, Treasurer and Chancellor of the Middle Atlantic Lieutenancy, USA.

Mr. Monastero held numerous leadership positions within the Departments of Defense and Department of Homeland Security including the Senior Executive Service. He holds an M.B.A. in International Business and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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Candace Sandifer

Estate-planning lawyer
Director since 2023

Candace Sandifer is an estate planning lawyer. She received her J.D. at Catholic Univesity of America, Columbus School of Law in 2007 and received her BA from Texas Christian University. She previously served at Prince George’s County Maryland in a judicial clerkship and worked at the office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.

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George Atalla

Partner and global leader at Ernst and Young
Director since 2023

George is an accomplished Palestinian American with experience in both Government and the Corporate world. He has served clients and companies across the globe, providing consulting services and advice at the highest levels of government and private sector. He is highly regarded for his talent, intellect, and professionalism.

George is a partner and global leader at ERNST & YOUNG (EY). He is responsible for developing and executing key strategies for advising governments around the world. He has worked in more than 30 developed and developing markets, focusing on public private partnerships and outsourcing, restructuring and organizational transformation, policy reform and investment prioritization.

George received an MS from the Georgia Institute of Technology, an MS from Northwestern University, and an MBA from the George Washington University. He is fluent in English, Arabic and French.

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George F. Felton

Patron

Director of College Player Personnel for the San Antonio Spurs
Director since 2019

Born and raised in the Bronx, and a proud graduate of All Hallows High School, an Irish Christian Brothers school, George Felton has spent his career in basketball.  He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, where he was recruited on a basketball scholarship. After graduation, he came back to his Alma Mater as Head Coach after having served as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech and Kentucky. He was responsible for recruiting players who later became NBA stars.  George gained a reputation as the best recruiter in college basketball, which led to his opportunity with the National Basketball Association.

A former scout for the Indiana Pacers, George is currently the Director of Player Personnel for the five-time world champion San Antonio Spurs.  He has been with the Spurs since 2006.

For George, who received both a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education, it is all about people.  He speaks to student groups, players, and coaches on his message of the Four Circles of Life: Spiritual, Academics, Social/Career, and Athletics/Health. Through his work, he had the opportunity to visit Bethlehem University and was immediately impressed by the students, faculty, and staff.  He has visited the University several times a year since his first visit and considers it his mission to share the inspiring story of Bethlehem University with his friends.

George lives with his family in South Carolina. He is a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

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John Dautzenberg

Founder JPD Global Advisors consultancy
Director since 2023

John Dautzenberger is the president of JPD Global Advisors, an international consulting and advisory firm specializing in complex negotiations and international partnerships. He previously worked in the White House as one of the President’s liaisons to Congress. During his time in the Office of Legislative Affairs, he was the point of contact for the Senate, arranging all engagements for the President and managing requests from Senate offices.

He also served as the Senior Advocacy Manager at the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Foundation, overseeing all advocacy activities globally. In this capacity, he was responsible for SAMS engagement with the United Nations, NGOs, legislative bodies, and governments. He managed SAMS response to some of the most complex and challenging aspects of the Syria crisis, including chemical weapons attacks, forced displacement, refugee resettlement, and accountability efforts.

John currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Invisible Children, and the Secretary of the Board of The Yusra Mardini Foundation. He received a BA in Politics from The Catholic University of America and an MSc in International Migration and Public Policy from The London School of Economics.

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The Honorable George Salem

Founder of Law Offices of George R. Salem PLLC
Director since 2013

George R. Salem established the Law Offices of George R. Salem, PLLC in January 2005. In November 2005 he entered into a relationship as Strategic Advisor with DLA Piper, where he is focused on assisting in the development of DLA Piper’s Middle East and U.S. Department of Labor practices.

During the course of his career, Mr. Salem has negotiated some of the most significant settlements in the field of labor law, among them the resolution of all pending Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) cases against the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund, the E.O. 11246 discrimination case against Harris Trust and Savings Bank, and several major Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) settlements, including the major FLSA settlement involving Food Lion.

On behalf of various Middle East clients, Mr. Salem headed the legal teams that handled the acquisitions of major assets, including refineries in the Middle East. In addition, he headed the legal team that successfully brought suit against the Department of Treasury on behalf of the owners of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that was destroyed by the U.S. Navy.

Mr. Salem co-founded the Arab American Institute in 1985 and currently serves as its chairman, and has served as treasurer of United Palestinian Appeal, Inc. since 1982. He is a past president of the National Association of Arab Americans and has served on the board of directors of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. In 2003 he was named to the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy’s Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World, which was assembled at the request of Congress to study the State Department’s public diplomacy efforts in these regions. On behalf of the Bush Administration, Mr. Salem served as an official observer to the Palestinian elections held in February 2005, and also as President George W. Bush’s representative to the funeral of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

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The Most Reverend Denis J. Madden, Ph.D.

Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Baltimore
Director since 2010

Bishop Denis J. Madden was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on August 24, 2005.

Bishop Madden was born in Carbondale, Pennsylvania on March 8, 1940. He received his undergraduate degree from St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, Kansas, before his ordination to the priesthood on April 1, 1967. He received a master’s degree in psychology from Columbia University in New York and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Notre Dame. He is a licensed clinical psychologist in the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia. In 1973, Bishop Madden moved to Baltimore and took a position in the psychology program at the University of Maryland, while also working part-time as a marriage and family counselor for Associated Catholic Charities. In spite of his busy schedule, Father Madden frequently made time to celebrate Mass at St. Martin’s in West Baltimore and to provide long and short term counseling to many of the priests and religious sisters in the Archdiocese.

From 1996-2005, the future bishop served as Associate Secretary General of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, established by Pope Pius XI in 1926 to work on behalf of the Holy See in those lands in which from ancient times the majority of Christians belonged to various Eastern churches. The main activities of the CNEWA include assisting the Holy See, building religious institutions, facilitating priestly ministries, preparing church leadership, responding to urgent human needs, caring for needy children, building social service institutions, promoting social development and foster interfaith communication. From 1994-1996 Bishop Madden also served as the Director of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine office in Jerusalem.

Among his duties while with the CNEWA, Bishop Madden served as the chief negotiator among the three ecclesiastical authorities responsible for repairing the dome of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem.

Bishop Madden has edited a book and written numerous journal articles and chapters in books in the field of psychology. Prior to assuming responsibilities at the offices of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, Msgr. Madden was one of the co-founders of the Accord Foundation, a humanitarian organization that has worked since 1988 in the West Bank and Gaza.

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Ex Officio Directors

Brother Hernán Santos, FSC, EdD

Vice Chancellor
Bethlehem University

Brother Hernán is a native of Paraguay. He taught in Lasallian and Diocesan educational institutions in both Paraguay and Argentina. Brother Hernán holds a doctorate in Education from Iberoamerican University in Asuncion, Paraguay; a Master’s in Education and University Didactics from American University in Asuncion, Paraguay; and a Master in Education and Educational Management from Iberoamerican University. While Spanish is his mother tongue, Brother Hernán is fluent in English having studied it abroad.

Brother Hernán is passionate about helping educators to reach their full potential; he is adept at making core decisions; and he comes with strong organizational abilities, management skills and is familiar with the use of technology in education.

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Brother Jack Curran, FSC, PhD, KHS

Vice President for Advancement
Bethlehem University

As of January 2024, Brother Jack Curran, FSC, Ph.D., KHS, returned to Bethlehem University in the Holy Land to serve as the Vice President for Advancement, a position in which he previously served for ten years (2003-2013).  

Brother Jack’s apostolic assignments have included teaching in elementary and secondary schools in New York City and Jamaica, West Indies; assisting families and young people as a social worker in Albany, NY as well as at Manhattan College in the Bronx; accompanying young men in their vocational discernment as a vocation director for his Province; and serving as a vice president in the administration of three Lasallian Catholic colleges and universities: Saint Mary’s College of California, Manhattan College, and Bethlehem University. 

Brother Jack is known to be passionate in his desire to work collaboratively with his colleagues in support of their efforts to apply and integrate aspects of the distinctive Lasallian Catholic perspective with their areas of academic and professional expertise.  Together and by association with his colleagues, he seeks to deepen and widen the Lasallian educational mission so that more young people who may come from particularly vulnerable circumstances might be meaningfully engaged and successful in their life’s journey. From the perspective of Lasallian education, this sort of engagement is the work of “salvation” to which God invites us.  

In addition to serving on the Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (2018-present), Brother Jack currently serves as a Trustee at La Salle University, Philadelphia, (2017-present) and La Salle Institute, Troy, NY (2013-present).  He has previously served as a Board member of the International Association of La Salle Universities, IALU (2018-2020) as well as a member of two leadership councils for the District of Eastern North America (DENA) of the De La Salle Christian Brothers: Mission Executive Council (2013-2018) and District Council (2015-2019).   

Brother Jack received the religious habit of the De La Salle Christian Brothers in 1979, earned his BA, summa cum laude, with a double major in physics and religious studies from Manhattan College (1980) and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Epsilon Sigma Pi, Theta Alpha Kappa, and Sigma Pi Sigma.  His graduate degrees were granted by the State University of New York at Albany: the MSW in 1987 and PhD in social work in 1997. 

 

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H.E. Professor Bart McGettrick

Dean Emeritus at Glasgow University and Liverpool Hope University
Chair, Bethlehem University International Board of Regents

Professor McGettrick was Principal of Saint Andrew’s College of Education from 1985 until it merged with the University of Glasgow in 1999. He then became Dean of the newly created Faculty of Education and was appointed to a personal professorship of Education, which he held until 2005 when he went to Liverpool Hope University.

He is Chair of the International Board of Regents of Bethlehem University. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Saint John the Baptist Vatican Foundation, supporting education and culture in the Middle East. He is also the first Chairman of the Scottish Forum for Professional Ethics, and of the Hope Forum for Professional Ethics.

He is Dignitary of Honor of the Grand Magisterium of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a member of The Holy Land Commission.

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Emeriti

Dr. Samir Abu-Ghazaleh

Patron

Retired Gynecological Oncologist
Board Director 2008-2019
Emeritus Director since 2019

Born in Haifa, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh earned a MB.B, Ch. Degree (equivalent to M.D.) from the Ain Shams University Medical School in Cairo, after receiving his undergraduate degree from Nahara College in Cairo, Egypt. He completed residencies and graduate work in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of South Dakota Affiliated Hospitals and in Gynecologic Oncology at Duke University Medical Center. He then established a private practice in South Dakota.

Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh has over four decades of experience as a gynecologic oncologist and is the author of numerous articles on gynecology and oncology. From 2000-2006, he was appointed by President Clinton to the National Cancer Advisory Board. He is a member of the Board of Governors for the Arab Western Institute, a member of the Advisory Board of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, and a Board Member of the American Task Force on Palestine. Dr. and Mrs. Abu-Ghazaleh are Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh is a member of the Order of Malta.

Dr. Samir and Mrs. Mary Abu-Ghazaleh are Legacy Patrons of the Bethlehem University Foundation. Dr. and Mrs. Abu-Ghazaleh are the underwriters of the Patrons of the Bethlehem University Foundation.

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Sister Irene O’Neill, CSJ, Ed.D.

Principal Foundation Officer, CSJ Ministries Foundation
Board Director 2008-2021
Emeritus Director since 2021

Sister Irene O’Neill, CSJ, Ed.D. is a Sister of Saint Joseph of Carondelet. Sister Irene is the Chair of the Bethlehem University Foundation Board of Directors, and an Ex-Officio member of the Bethlehem University International Board of Regents. In addition to her full-time job as President of a global Non-profit, Sisters Rising Worldwide, Sister Irene is also a Trustee at Avila University, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Previously, Sister Irene served for nearly 20 years as the Executive Director of the Sisters of S. Joseph of Carondelet Ministries Foundation.  Earlier, she was the Curriculum Coordinator for the Saint Paul Minneapolis Archdiocesan Elementary Schools, Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Minnesota and the University of Saint Mary Graduate School and an elementary school teacher. In her free time, Sister Irene loves to read, garden, and kayak.

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The Reverend Monsignor Archimandrite Robert L. Stern

Patron

Former Secretary General, Catholic Near East Welfare Association
Board Director 1998-2006
Emeritus Director since 2006

Monsignor Robert Stern was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York in 1958 and served the Archdiocese for over 27 years in a variety of capacities including inner-city parish ministry, archdiocesan canonical and financial administration, coordination of archdiocesan Hispanic pastoral affairs, and lay leadership development. For the next 26 years he served the Holy See, leading two Vatican agencies, Catholic Near East Welfare Association and the Pontifical Mission for Palestine.

Monsignor Stern is a graduate of Amherst College, prepared for priestly ministry at Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, and earned a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. He holds honorary doctorates in Humane Letters from Amherst, Saint Thomas Aquinas College, and Bethlehem University.

Monsignor Stern is a founding member both of the International Board of Regents of Bethlehem University, serving as its Chair from 1994-2007, and of the Board of Directors of the Bethlehem University Foundation, serving as its Chair from 1999 until 2006. He is also an Affiliated Brother of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

He has the ecclesiastical ranks of Protonotary Apostolic, Mitered Grand Archimandrite of the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and Canon of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. He is also a Knight Chaplain Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Monsignor Stern is a Legacy Patron of the Bethlehem University Foundation.

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