Who We Are
Founded in 1952, the American Federation of Ramallah Palestine is a nationwide organization headquartered in Westland, Mich., the mission of the AFRP is to celebrate, strengthen and advance the rich Palestinian heritage and values of the Ramallah family in the U.S. and Palestine.
Through signature programs and events including the annual family reunion, along with the bimonthly magazine, Hathihe Ramallah, our main objective is to continue keeping our culturally rich heritage and traditions alive and present today and tomorrow for future generations.
- To enhance, guide and support the educational and cultural initiatives of chapter Ramallah Clubs located in major metropolitan cities throughout the U.S.,
- To instill and nurture the sense of pride and uniqueness of our Ramallah family history.
- To cultivate and preserve our great traditions, music, song, language and heritage among our youth and young adults.
- To educate the American public about our Christian Arab culture and heritage and to promote better understanding of the humanitarian aspirations of the Palestinians and the Arabs in general.
In 1952, a handful of young students who immigrated from Ramallah, had the desire to unite the growing Ramallah community in diaspora throughout the U.S. Their vision was to form an alliance so that all Ramallah families would stay connected and promote and preserve our cultural identity despite their distances. It was important then and now to preserve our cultural identity. They established Hathihe Ramallah magazine with correspondences from various cities submitting news of the Ramallah people within their communities. The magazine has published consistently without interruption for more than 70 years.
Within months of launching the magazine, members of the community began organizing Ramallah Clubs in cities where a large number of Ramallites resided. The committees realized that in order to succeed they must develop by-laws that would guide the new entities and a decision was made to unite all the communities under one Federation. On Sunday, Sept., 7, 1959, members of the community took the momentous decision to create a Federation and adopted interim By-laws and a Constitution.
Currently, there are more than 45,000 descendants of Ramallah (prior to 1948) living in the U.S. They are concentrated in major cities such as San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Santa Rosa and Los Angeles CA; Jacksonville, FL; Houston, TX; Detroit, MI; Chicago, IL; Washington, DC; Knoxville, TN; Lexington and Louisville, KY; Greensboro, NC; Birmingham, AL; Cleveland, OH; Little Rock, AR; Buffalo and Hempstead, NY; and South Plainfield, NJ. In all these cities, chapters were formed to create the American Federation of Ramallah Palestine, headquartered in Detroit, Mich.
The purpose of the Federation or AFRP is to serve as the national organization to lead and guide the people of Ramallah, raise funds for charitable purposes which are of general welfare to the Ramallah people and to establish better ties and understanding between the Ramallah communities in the U.S. and in Ramallah.
Today, the AFRP is considered the largest Palestinian organization in the U.S. We are recognized by state, local and federal officials and are often invited to join discussions and other meetings with members of Congress and other government officials. In addition, the AFRP works to ensure the viability and progression of Ramallah. Several humanitarian and community services have been established including healthcare facilities, a state-of-the-art senior citizen’s home and more, supported through fundraising endeavors and generous donors from the U.S. Ramallah community.
One of the first programs adopted by the AFRP was to build the Ramallah Hospital. During its first family reunion, or convention, leadership approved construction of the hospital and allocated $65,000 towards its costs. Another initiative was to establish a scholarship fund to benefit students both in Ramallah and living in the U.S. in diaspora.
The growth of the Federation and its programs is a testament to the commitment of volunteers who give their time, talent and treasure to ensure the prosperity of the Federation. Each President and Board of Directors make every effort to add or improve the programs adopted. Additionally, the Federation recognizes the importance of the local chapter Ramallah Clubs who help promulgate our culture and heritage to new generations through their programs and events.
The crown jewel of AFRP activities is the annual convention. The Federation developed the yearly event to bring the greater Ramallah community and families together. The 4-day event includes the best of our culture with music, dance and other festivities as well as Business Meetings in which strategic plans are adopted for future initiatives.
Despite the challenges we face with a scattered community, the AFRP developed many programs that impacts the lives of the Ramallah people. In 1997, the establishment of Project Hope, a two-week immersion primarily for college-aged young adults who travel to Palestine to volunteer their time in Ramallah and learn about their heritage. Project Hope is one of many of our signature programs.
Community and Civic Engagement
Our members are encouraged to participate in civic and community programs within their respective communities. We encourage our youth to get involved in charitable organizations from a young age. We continue to strive to be the bridge between our native homeland and our current home. Our success and strength are embedded in our belief that our service is essential to bringing the plight of the Palestinians to the forefront of American society and to ensure that we remain a family connected for life.