The University of Notre Dame at Tantur (UNDT) was introduced in 2018, unifying and facilitating the academic initiatives of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute (TEI) and the Jerusalem Global Gateway (JGG) on behalf of the University’s efforts in the Holy Land. Notre Dame's original presence in Jerusalem began at the request of Pope Paul VI. He envisioned a place for advanced theological studies there at the crossroads of many religions, and he tasked Notre Dame’s then president Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., with creating that space. TEI, the fruit of that vision, officially opened in 1972. TEI is an important initiative of the Office of Mission Engagement and Church Affairs.
Since 1985, undergraduate students from Notre Dame have studied in the Holy Land and lived at Tantur. The undergraduate program was formalized in 2014 through the establishment of the JGG, and today the undergraduate program is a flagship program of the University of Notre Dame at Tantur. Other programs facilitated through UNDT include faculty research, academic conferences and workshops for Notre Dame faculty, international scholars and local collaborators, sabbatical opportunities, and partnerships building and joint research opportunities with regional universities, faith-based institutions, and NGOs. The University of Notre Dame at Tantur is one of eleven global locations led by Notre Dame International.
The facility at Tantur holds 50 guest rooms, meeting facilities, dining services, office space, a chapel, prayer rooms, and a library. Its entrance is near the intersection of Rehov HaRosmarin and Hebron Road, opposite the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa. From the hilltop, guests may view the town of Bethlehem, Mar Elias Monastery, and Herodian, a colossal fortress built by King Herod the Great. Both the Old City of Jerusalem and the city center of West Jerusalem are a 20-minute bus or taxi ride from Tantur. The main entrance to Bethlehem is a five-minute walk, and from there visitors can easily find the Church of the Nativity or visit the historically Christian villages of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala.
For visitors to Tantur, there is no shortage of academic, spiritual, or cultural opportunities in this rich and complex arena.
For questions or inquiries, please contact us.
- 1965 Pope Paul VI summons Fr. Hesburgh to Rome and charges him with founding an ecumenical institute for advanced theological studies
- 1967 Fr. Hesburgh secures the funds from I.A. O'Shaughnessy to build the institute. Property belonging to the Knights of Malta is purchased by the Vatican and leased to ND for 50 years
- 1967 The Six Day War breaks out in June and the extension of the city boundaries of Jerusalem by Israel incorporates the Tantur Ecumenical Institute into this new jurisdiction
- 1971 The library begins to take shape, eventually becoming one of the finest resources for theological studies in the region
- 1972 Inauguration of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute
- 1984 The monks depart Tantur, ending the founding monastic component of the community
- 1985 New programs are introduced, including an undergraduate semester for ND students, a peace academy, and a renewal program for missionaries and pastors
- 1988 A number of continuing education programs are developed on topics such as Biblical archeology, Holy Land geography, Church history, and peace-making
- 2000 The second intifada begins; Tantur remains open throughout this period (although programs are curtailed), and increases its role as a bridge between Israel and the occupied West Bank
- 2014 Jerusalem Global Gateway is established at Tantur
- 2017 Jerusalem Global Gateway exceeds over 100 students in undergraduate programs and establishes research partnerships with area universities