American Palestinian Women’s Association Mourns the Loss of our Dear Friend Samira Nasser

8 Jan

On Sunday,  American Palestinian Women’s Association lost a dear friend and  one of our most dedicated board members. Mrs. Samira Nasser was an asset and a valuable community member who will be dearly missed.  American Palestinian Women’s Association executive committee and members extend our deepest sympathies to the Nasser and Kaffity families as they struggle through this period of grief.

Samira Nasser

Samira’s dedication to the cause of dignified peace was a hallmark of each project she championed, and APWA event she helped organize. Since inception, Samira, charted APWA’s course and was one of our most dedicated and active members. As a long time executive committee member of American Palestinian Women’s Association she was instrumental in initiating and leading a considerable number of initiatives. For several years, Samira led APWA’s Sunday Arabic school, and since 2006, she chaired and meticulously organized APWA’s Annual Holiday Bazaar at the Epipheny United Methodist Church in Vienna, Virginia. With her help and guidance APWA raised funds to support Al Ahli Hospital, in Gaza, a children’s cancer center at Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, a homeless women shelter in Baltimore, Maryland, the launching of the ADC Women’s initiative, and the missions of the American Friends of UNRWA, the United Palestinian Appeal, and the Hope Fund.  In addition, Samira helped organize several APWA school supply drives, the collection of child sized crutches and wheel chairs for young Palestinian children, and lent her support to many worthy causes. American Palestinian Women’s Association will miss her dearly.

Samira’s deep faith and Palestinian roots inspired her work and life long advocacy for justice, dignity, and peace. She was a proud descendent of a long chain of Palestinian Christians that date back to the early Palestinian Church and its faithful disciples. Before joining APWA, she was well known for calling attention to the plight of young Palestinian children and youth. As the headmistress of the Arab Evangelical Episcopal School in Ramallah she was a strong and vocal promoter for the inalienable right of young Palestinian children to be educated.

32414979.HSGraduatesof2004The location of her school and the nature of the occupation was and remains challenging. Samira, her school, students and staff were exposed to constant danger, yet she never failed to speak her truth. Her advocacy for the right of young Palestinian children to be educated was noted and recognized world wide. In spite of the personal threats and dangers she faced, Samira made international headlines. Countless of articles spoke of her courage and commitment to her students, school, and community. In 2002, the Washington Post, carried an article that spoke of Samira’s sensitivity and strong desire to meet the emotional and educational needs of her young Palestinian students.  She explained her students’ arduous conditions that challenge their youthful innocence.

Samira was an advocate for building strong constructive relationships between people of faith and across every divide. She openly declared at every event and gathering her love for the Palestinian people- regardless of their political affiliation, social status, or faith. She was quoted to have quieted hearts during a contentious meeting by calling fellow Christians to join hands with her Muslim brother and sisters, and reciting a reflective bible passage that emoted her principled values (Psalms 37:3-4):

“Trust in the Lord and do good; So you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, And he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Samira Nasser never failed to remind visitors, strangers, and friends that her students represented every Palestinian village, refugee camp, and faith. She deliberately taught and spread her message of compassion, respectful tolerance, kindness, and fortitude. Samira proudly noted that her students are scattered across Palestine and the Diaspora doing their bid as effective members of the Palestinian society and community. After her retirement and departure from Palestine, Samira continued to help raise awareness of the needs of her school, and called attention to its many challenges.

Samira Nasser was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt. Her love for her husband Ameen, son Tawfiq, daughter Lara, and grand children filled her to the brim. Her family was a constant thread in every encounter and conversation. She credited her appreciation for Arabic and classical music to her husband and well known Palestinian composer. She lovingly shared her joy in being with her grand children, and her immense pride and respect for Lara and Tawfiq. She tenderly spoke of her brothers and sisters, and highly regarded her brother, the former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, Samir Hanna Kaffity, for his work and advocacy on behalf of the sick and injured Palestinian children.

Mrs. Nasser passed, but her legacy will continue on with the success of her former students, the great causes she championed,  and in the loving memory of her husband, children, and family. The Palestinian community will miss Samira’s tireless work to advance the right of Palestinian children to be educated and heard. APWA will miss her boundless faith in the coming of a better day, infectious smile, and energy.

In memory of Samira Nasser and her diligent work to improve the future prospects of young Palestinian children, American Palestinian Women’s Association will make a considerable donation to the Evangelical Episcopal School in Ramallah. We also encourage APWA members and friends to contribute to the Evangelical Episcopal School in Ramallah, by directly sending donations to the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Checks can be mailed to AFEDPJ: 25 Old King’s Hwy No. Suite 13, Darien, CT 06820.

Rest in Peace Samira Nasser. APWA is forever indebted to you. Your trust and belief in APWA’s mission and objectives is recognized and honored.


Mai Abdul Rahman


American Palestinian Women’s Association

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