APWA’s Mission and Objectives

18 Feb

American Palestinian Women’s Association 

American Palestinian Women’s Association (APWA) is a nonprofit organization incorporated under the laws of the State of Virginia.  APWA is a non- political secular organization that represents American Palestinian women whether they may be Christian, Muslim, Jew, or not.

APWA’s mission:

  • Empower American Palestinian women,
  • Advocate for women’s equality across the entire social spectrums and spheres (economic, political, cultural, familial, educational, social),
  • Advance genuine change that meets the needs of all Americans of every faith, affinity, color, gender, social standing, ethnicity, sexual orientation, native born, and immigrant,
  • Advocate for the emotional and mental wellbeing of children whether they may American, Palestinian, or Israeli,
  • Support long lasting just peace among Palestinians and Israelis, and
  • Bridge and elevate the level of understanding between Americans and Palestinians.

APWA‘s objectives within the context of our community:

  • Support American Palestinian Women and their families,
  • Advocate for American Palestinian and Arab American women,
  • Advance the rights of children,
  • Promote American Palestinian and Arab American women’s rights, equal opportunity, and access to educational, social, economic, cultural, and political institutions,
  • Introduce the Palestinian narrative and highlight the perspective of American Palestinian women,
  • Establish networks of support to help American Palestinian women and their families become effective, engaged and empowered members of their communities,
  • Foster an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of American citizenry as well as world citizenry,
  • Promote collaborative relations between Palestinian Americans, Arab Americans,  and American minority groups,
  • Instill among members the value of becoming stewards of the envirnment, and protector of our earth, natural and water resources,
  • Build Palestinian women’s capacity, support, and fund Palestinian women lead buisnesses and organizations who advocate for women rights and peace,
  • Support and advocate for the needs of the marginalized and neglected in our community,
  • Advocate for mutual respect and tolerance, and work to eradicate all forms of hate, bias, ignorance, bigotry, and suspicion,
  • Promote cross cultural exchange with local community groups, non-profits, and faith communities,
  • Create the space for racial, ethnic, cultural, and interfaith understanding within our community and the larger community, and
  • Promote collaborative relations between Palestinian Americans, Arab Americans,  and American minority groups.

***American Palestinian Women’s Association is a non profit, non-political, secular, tax-exempt, registered organization. APWA was established in 2004 by concerned American Palestinian women in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area (DC, VA, MD).


Here is Why American Palestinian Women’s Association Supports the 2019 Women’s March

13 Jan

American Palestinian Women’s Association (APWA) is one of the cosponsors of the 2019 Women’s March that will take place on January 19. While well aware of the unfair and fair allegations that have challenged the 2019 Women’s March, we believe that all women share a common history of discrimination, economic and political exclusion that transcends their faith, color, political affinity, and values. Moreover, our decision to endorse this Women’s March, and participation in all prior women lead marches does not compromise our strong belief that all forms of bias, discrimination, and phobias are in direct contradiction to our organizational and individual values.

mai abdul rahman                      January 2019


Our decision to co-sponsor the Women’s March stemmed from our strong support for the Unity Principles  that was articulated in the 2017 Women’s March, and constitutes the foundation of the 2019 “Women’s Agenda” and its policy platform that will shape the women’s movement priorities leading up to 2020.

While well aware of the unfair and fair allegations that plague this and all other women’s movement before, we believe that all women share a common history of economic and political exclusion that transcends individual values. Our Black sisters before us, joined and endorsed the suffrage movement that included women who advocated for the segregation of Americans and demanded Black women assemble and march separately. Black women chose to join because of their understanding that protecting the rights of women is important to all women whether they may be Black, White, and all shades in between. Likewise, our decision to endorse the 2019 Women’s March does not dilute our strong belief that all forms of bias, discrimination, and phobias are in direct contradiction to our organizational and individual values.

We have firmly and consistently denounced and rejected all forms and expressions of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, racism, and bigotry.  In fact, APWA has never failed to stand up against bias within our own Arab American community or lend our support to our American Jewish sisters whether they may belong to Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP); or for those who oppose JVP for denouncing Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, and for advocating for the end of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine and Israel’s absolute control of the Palestinians, who are an extension of our families and relatives. Simply because, politics aside, we share a common concern and desire to build an American society where all our young live free of bias and fear irrespective of their faith, color, ethnic origin, economic and social status, sexual orientation, housed or homeless, immigrant or native born, or gender affinity.


To that end, whether you may be a supporter of APWA or not, a female or male– we urge you to join the 2019 Women’s march that will take place on Saturday, January 19 in Washington, DC, participate in a sister march taking place in cities nation wide or around the world. Together, we can build a national movement that will end violence against women, bring an end to discriminatory state practices and violence, arrest the spread of bias and bigotry; protect and defend our constitutional rights and the First Amendment, reproductive rights, the rights of young children, refugees and immigrants, LGBTQIA+, poor, challenged, and disabled populations, and our environment. All of which will promote economic and social justice for all Americans and give hope to young girls and women in faraway nations who suffer greater injustices.


The Forgotten Palestinian Christians: Their Resilience is a Testament of Faith

18 Dec

On Christmas Day, worshipers across this country will hold bibles that bear the faithful diligence of the forefathers of present day Palestinian Christians. Deacons, clergywomen, clergymen, priests, bishops, and cardinals will don their best ecclesiastical vestments that invoke Palestinian traditional dalmatic embroidery. Yet, few if any, will utter a word of gratitude or concern for the Palestinian Christians whose daily life and right to worship are an enormous challenge under Isreal’s military occupation.

mai abdul rahman                        December 2018

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This Christmas, like every Christmas before, Catholic and Protestant clerics will bear their ecclesiastical vestments that display Palestinian traditional dalmatic embroidery that was first worn by early Palestinian clerics, and will quote the scripture that was elucidated by early Palestinian scholars.

However, few if any, will utter a word of concern for the plight of the Palestinian Christians who daily struggle under Israel’s military occupation to worship and maintain Christendom’s first churches.

Ignored and dismissed they resiliently pray, advocate, and work for a just and lasting peace. Their access to their churches denied and right to worship is daily challenged, they continue to bear the heavy weight of maintaining Christendom’s first churches.

Meanwhile, more than many American church, pastor, and church leader are funding and feeding the frenzy of Israel’s extremists and settlers. Well aware that Israeli extremists and settlers view the Palestinians, their churches, lands, farm fields, properties, and villages an obstacle to their desire to seize and control the skimpy remnants of historical Palestine.

The Christians of Palestine trace their faith to the very first converts. Their willingness to adopt Christianity made it possible for the Christian faith to spread throughout the Near East, across the Mediterranean basin, Eurasia, and Africa. However, their mere conversion stripped their descendants of their right to their lands, freedoms, and churches.

Ignored and forgotten by church and cleric, Americans continue to ask Palestinian Christians “When did you convert?” Unaware, that the Palestinian Christians whether they reside in Gaza, the West Bank, East or West Jerusalem, or Israel represent the uninterrupted presence of the very first church.

The history and narrative of the Palestinian Christians dates back to the very first church and converts. Since the birth of Jesus on a clear night in Bethlehem, the Christians of Palestine have provided fellow Christians an authentic account of the early Christian experience. Early Palestinian Christian scholars helped clerics and worshipers contextualize the bible verses they cite and read.

Their close proximity  to the first disciples, early Palestinian Christians played a critical role in spreading the Christian faith, yet few are aware of their role and influence in spreading the word.

Palestinian Christians’ direct link to the first converts and disciples provided scholars and historians an intimate knowledge of the personal religious experience of the first Christians. Their accounts helped shape the Christian narrative. To date, they remain the living extension of the first church. For two thousand years, they have faithfully maintained the oldest churches in Christendom.

They have preserved the ancient gardens where Jesus prayed, tended and harvested the olive trees that shaded Jesus and his disciples, and when their communities are besieged and bombed, they have used their sanctuaries to shelter and accommodate the earnest prayer of fellow Palestinians- Christian or Muslim. However, their cries to be heard are muted, their faithful diligence is discarded, and strong desire to keep their churches open is undermined.

So why do most Americans choose to ignore and dismiss the Christians of Palestine? Palestinian Christians are an indivisible part of the Palestinian historical narrative, they share the same aspirations and struggles as other ordinary Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation, and their  language is Arabic. Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 9.08.26 PMAnd so is their “Injil” –-bible.

They are Arabs, with an Arabic bible, liturgies, and sermons, and Arab Semitic ancestral heritage are the core reasons they are forsaken and forgotten.

Christians owe much to the faithful work and witness of the early Palestinian Christians, and many a pilgrim owes  them and their ancestors gratitude for their persistent stewardship of Christendom’s first churches. Like their ancestors before them, the Christians of Palestine continue to practice their faith traditions and preserve their churches while living under an Israeli military occupation that limits their access to their holy places.

This Christmas like every Christmas  before, the Palestinian Christians will pray for peace for friend and foe, and will again commit to carry their faith and cross with grace. Their unwavering resilience is a beacon of hope for the free and the captive. Ignored and dismissed by their fellow Christians, they represent the best attributes of their faith and the Palestinian people.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all!


!كُلّ عام وَأَنْتُم بِخَيْر Season’s Greetings!

8 Dec


عيد سعيد

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American Palestinian Women’s Association extends our best wishes for a happy holiday season and our sincere gratitude for your continued support.  Wishing you peace, health and contentment throughout the New Year!   



Standing with Our Jewish Sisters Against Anti-Semitism, Bigotry and Hate

28 Oct

“I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons (daughters) of one religion, and it is the spirit.” ― Khalil Gibran

American-Palestinian Women's Association

Like other Americans of conscience, we are alarmed by the recent rise of unfiltered offensive rhetoric against fellow Americans that is threatening our core American values and the safety of our children.


In the wake of the recent xenophobic wave that has been articulated and observed during and after the US presidential election, many of our Jewish sisters are legitimately anxious and worried about the recent rise in anti-Semitism. While Americans of Palestinian and Arab decent are Semites too, our community is concerned about the Jewish directed anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Our shared Semitic roots and values compel us to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Jewish sisters to protect the dignity of our children and defend their right to live free of fear, anxiety, and stress. To that end, APWA denounces and rejects all forms and expressions of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, racism, and bigotry.

If you agree with the spirit of this statement…

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American Palestinian Women’s Association believes in our young DREAMers

29 Sep

We call President Trump and Congress to commit to the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which was established by the Obama Administration via executive order in 2012.

DACA allows young migrant immigrants who entered the country without documents to receive two-years period of deferred action from deportation and the eligibility for work permits. We call on President Trump and Congress to uphold and protect the basic human rights of DACA recipients and their families.

Targeting DACA recipients and other immigrant communities will devastate the lives of thousands of young people and their families, and unnerve the entire immigrant community across our nation.


We believe in our DREAMers and call President Trump and Congress to protect them, their families, and other immigrant communities who have meaningfully contributed to our society. Doing otherwise would not improve our national security,  but would painfully separate young people from their families, and traumatize their communities.

These young DREAMers have positively contributed to our communities and country and deserve our collective support. We urge the Trump Administration and Congress to come together and pass bipartisan legislation to allow them to remain in the United States.

عيد مبارك Eid Mubarak and Many Happy Returns

26 Jun

Happy Easter and "Kull-Aam-Waantum-Bikhair"

In the spirit of the Eid that marks the end of Ramadan, American Palestinian Women’s Association extends its warmest wishes to each and all.

APWA Iftar: Honoring International Refugee Day

Blessed Eid to the entire APWA community- Muslims, Christians, Jewish, spiritual, non religious, or non faith. Your support fules our passion and desire to create and build a collective “social consciousness about being one and together.”

May you, your family, and loved ones throughout the year enjoy the fruits of your communal sharing, caring, and giving.

عيد مبارك


A Heartfelt Thank You!

10 Jun


This past year, APWA supported and funded Leonard Education
Organization (LEO), a woman run non-profit NGO. 
LEO facilitates the US college admission and matriculation 
of Palestinian youth.


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LEO scholar Yazen Meqbil, Majoring in Molecular Biology and Bio Chemistry at Goshen Collge

A Heartfelt thank you!

I wish to offer American Palestinian Women’s Association (APWA) our appreciation for supporting Leonard Education Organization (LEO), whose main objective is to offer Palestinian youth an American college education that would improve their future prospects and help build the intelectual capital of the Palestinian people.

Right before the 2017 Spring Semester, APWA organized and held a fund raiser for the benefit of LEO at the home of an APWA member and founder. On that cold and cloudy Saturday afternoon, APWA members, supporters, and guests gathered around to enjoy a warm afternoon tea with LEO’s executive director Deya’ Leonard Dresner, along with local LEO students, board members, and donors.

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The group listened attentively as our students recounted the process that LEO funds and requires each of its recipients to complete- which includes completing the usual; college applications and interviews, SAT and TOEFL Exams- and the unusual; travel permits to exit Palestine and prpare for their first plane trip away from home. They also shared their college campus experiences and spoke of the many challenges they faced and conquered here in the US and at home.

Soon after the spring semester began, we asked APWA to cover the cost of  textbooks for our college students.  And again APWA did not fail us. APWA supplied our students with their respective course textbooks, without which their education would have been compromised.

I urge you to read LEO Stories, which offers a glimpse of the amazing success these young Palestinians have accomplished in a span of a year- much credit belongs to APWA for making this possible.

Again, thank you to APWA and its members. Your support has allowed LEO to fulfill its mission- prepare, mentor, and secure the best college education for Palestinian youth.

Deya’ Leonard Dresner
Executive Director
Leonard Education Organization

Deya' Leonard Dresner, is an American Palestinian woman. She is the 
founder and executive director of Leonard Education Organization ( LEO ),
a non-profit NGO. http://leonardeducation.org


Honoring World Refugee Day: Ramadan Iftar

19 May


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Honoring World Refugee Day



Saturday June 17, 2017

6 PM- 10 PM


Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ

Carpenter Hall

5010 Little Falls Road

Arlington, Virginia





Remembering the Nakba, Poetry, Music, Book Discussion,


Traditional Palestinian Iftar 

Promptly Served at Sunset


Entry Fee $25 (adults) & $15 (minors under 14 years)



APWA is a non-profit organization under the IRS code 501(c)(3) 

IQraa: ‘Running for a brighter Palestine’

20 Apr

IQraa (read in Arabic) is kicking off its 2017 running campaign in May. IQraa is a non-partisan and non-political group with one specific goal, which IQraa clearly declares on it’s racing team shirts: ‘Running for a brighter Palestine‘.


American Palestinian Women’s Association (APWA) has supported IQraa since its inception- APWA members helped found IQraa, fielded runners and volunteered for IQraa, and our members have funded IQraa’s laudable objective. Needless to say, APWA and countless of others are invested in the continued success of IQraa.

Here is why: Since 2008, IQraa’s 148 runners and dedicated volunteers have raised more than $208,000 for United Palestinian Appeal (UPA)-implemented education projects. In 2016 alone, IQraa raised over $20,000, enough to fund about 20 student scholarships. The addition of one more Iqraa runner will make a huge difference in supporting the eduction of one more college student for an entire year. IQraa volunteers also earn hours for manning and coordinating training and race stations, which translates to direct funding IQraa from race organizers.

If you are a first time runner, running for IQraa is a great opportunity that would help you to train for a marathon, half-marathon, 5K or 10K, and also support the education of Palestinian youth. And if you are an avid runner you can run in your chosen race as an IQraa runner (at a local race or abroad as far as Athens). If not inclined to run or volunteer, you can sponsor an IQraa runner.

2017iqraagroupFor more info about IQraa please visit their web site, or read this article.

Feel free to forward the attached one page flyer to friends and colleagues or post on your bulletins Iqraa 2017 Info Flyer .