The American Federation of Ramallah Palestine was created in 1952 by a few recent immigrants from Ramallah, Palestine. Their vision was to unite the greater Ramallah community throughout the U.S. and preserve their rich Palestinian cultural heritage.
To help their efforts, they established Hathihe Ramallah magazine, a bimonthly magazine mailed to all Ramallah households throughout the U.S. In its early days, the magazine was published in Arabic only. Years later to accommodate a growing population, English pages were added. Within months of launching the magazine, chapter Ramallah Clubs were formed in various cities throughout the U.S. where many of the families settled.
A decision was made to unite all the chapter clubs under one Federation, and on Sunday, Sept., 7, 1959, the momentous decision was made to create a Federation — the American Federation of Ramallah Palestine (AFRP) — of the various Ramallah Clubs and elect an Executive Committee to lead the organization. Soon after, they adopted interim by-laws and a constitution.
The Federation was to be an organized body representing the greater Ramallah community in the U.S. with one united voice on a national level. In addition, the AFRP would offer cultural and social programs to preserve, protect and pass down the Palestinian traditions and culture to future generations.
Throughout the years, these programs have grown exponentially, with several nonprofit programs formed to raise funds for charitable purposes both in the U.S. and abroad in Ramallah.
Read about all AFRP programs at: afrp.org/programs/.
The first convention or family reunion, the signature event of the AFRP, was held in 1959 in Detroit, Michigan. Since then, the annual event is held in a different host city each year, with the city of Ramallah, Palestine hosting the convention in 2014 and 2018. The 4-day event is a cultural immersion filled with social and cultural planned events. New leadership is sworn in, and business is conducted and voted on. In all, the event is a great way to connect with family all over the country and for newer generations to meet and make family connections as well.
Known as the largest Palestinian American organization in the U.S., the AFRP takes pride in celebrating its existence for more than 70 years of uninterrupted services — along with Hathihe Ramallah magazine.
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 by the Federation. The local chapter clubs are the backbone of the Federation, too, as they continue to instill connections and traditions.
Today, the AFRP represents more than 50,000 people — immigrants, first, second and third generation descendants of Ramallah living in the U.S. Many are concentrated in major cities such as San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and Los Angeles, California; Jacksonville and West Palm Beach, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Houston, Texas; Detroit (and various suburbs), Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; Knoxville, Tennessee; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; Greensboro, North Carolina; Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; Little Rock, Arkansas; Buffalo and Hempstead/Long Island, New York; and South Plainfield, New Jersey.