Under the slogan, "Ramallah brings us together," the 56th AFRP annual convention commences tomorrow, Wednesday, 18 June 2014 in the city of Ramallah. The convention is organized by the Ramallah Municipality, the American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine (AFRP), Sareyyet Ramallah (the First Ramallah Group), and with a strategic partnership with the Bank of Palestine, PLC.
The convention will be held for the first time in the city of Ramallah – Palestine. This year, it assumes a particular importance of being held in the presence of the city’s expatriates from the United States, who have been accustomed, in the past fifty five years, to hold their convention in the United States. Yet this year, the convention will be held in the heart of the city of Ramallah, and in the lap of the homeland, which welcomes its emissaries who are returning from the Diaspora. Holding the convention in the city of Ramallah this year is considered a major achievement on several fronts, the most notable of which is returning to the homeland to strengthen the ties between the expatriates and their Mother City, to acquaint the upcoming generations with their city, Ramallah, and their homeland of origin, Palestine, and to weave new social relationships and ties. The convention taking place in Ramallah is of paramount importance since convening in the city of Ramallah will shed light on the cause of the Palestinian people and the Israeli occupation practices that exacerbate the suffering of the people in their daily lives. The participants in the convention will become acquainted with daily life and existence in the state of Palestine.
While the city of Ramallah opens its arms to receive over a thousand of its children, who are coming from the United States, several official and community events will be organized during their stay as part of the convention program, spanning from 19 to 21 June. Visits will be arranged to the tomb of martyr President Yasser Arafat, the Al-Am’ari Refugee Camp, Birzeit University, and the tomb and museum of the poet Mahmoud Darwish – Al-Barwa Park. Additionally, a seminar on the boycott of Israel and another on the Palestinian political situation will be organized, the attendance of a photo exhibition entitled "’Amar and Damar" (construction and destruction) will take place, and trips to the cities of Jaffa, Haifa and Nazareth will be arranged.
The community reception: Wednesday, 6 June 2014: A scouts parade starting at 7:00 PM and marching from the Rashid Al-Haddadeen (the founder of the city of Ramallah) Square, in front of the Ramallah Municipality, and heading towards Sareyyet Ramallah, where the community will receive all of the convention participants in a public atmosphere to become acquainted with each other.
The official reception: Thursday, 06 June 2014: In the presence of his Excellency President Mahmoud 'Abbas, an official reception ceremony will take place in the Ramallah Cultural Palace at 6:30 PM, followed by a reception at Al-Barwa Park / the Darwish Museum.
The inauguration of the Karim Khalaf Square and the opening of the Al-Bayyara Park: Thursday, 6 June 2014: From 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM, the Karim Khalaf Square, named after the late freedom fighter and former mayor of Ramallah, will be inaugurated. It is located on Tokyo Street, next to the Ramallah Cultural Palace. Also, the Al-Bayyara Park on Naji Al-Ali Street – in Al-Masyoon, together with Al-Bayyara Park at Sareyyet Ramallah, will be opened. Both are neighborhood parks that had been created in partnership between the Ramallah Municipality, the Bank of Palestine, PLC, and the Mona and Basem Hishmeh Foundation, and implemented by ANERA.
A sports and recreation day, including a Dabkeh and music show: Friday, 6 June 2014: A recreational and sports day will be organized at Sareyyet Ramallah, followed by a tour of the old town of Ramallah, a Dabkeh presentation by Sareyyet Ramallah, and a music show performed by the National Institute of Music in the Ramallah Cultural Palace at 8:00 PM.
The closing ceremony: Saturday, 6 June 2014: 8:00 PM: Under the patronage of the Prime Minister Dr. Rami Al-Hamadallah, the convention closing session will be held at the Mövenpick Hotel in the city.
It is noteworthy that the fifty-sixth session of the Convention was entitled the "Nadim Zaru Session" in honor of the work of former mayor of Ramallah, the late Nadim Zaru, who died in February 2014.
The American Federation of Ramallah - Palestine in the United States (AFRP) was established in 1959, and particularly after the Hathihe Ramallah Magazine was created as a means of correspondence with members of the community in the Diaspora. The AFRP became an instrument of interaction among the community, contributed to the preservation of the Palestinian cultural heritage in the Diaspora, and maintained a link between the upcoming generations and their history, heritage, and homeland of origin. The importance of the AFRP stems from being the largest Palestinian organization in the United States and being one of the largest Arab institutions in the United States. In 1997, the AFRP established Project Hope to attract young adult Palestinians in the United States to traveling to Palestine for volunteering in service projects. This project is considered one of the most successful projects for young adult expatriates.
The AFRP is considered one of the active organizations on the American political scene for the elucidation of the just demands of the Palestinian people, especially the establishment of its independent state on the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem. It also works to support the Palestinian leadership in expounding the suffering of the Palestinian people, both Christians and Moslems, as a result of land confiscation policies, arbitrary arrests, killings, and the daily devastation of the Palestinian human being and the eradication of the capabilities of the Palestinian people.
On the local level, the AFRP provides 64 university scholarships to Palestinian students at local and foreign universities, and also took the initiative of constructing the Ramallah Hospital, today known as the Palestine Medical Complex, in addition to medical missions with medical equipment and medicines to perform qualitative surgeries for our people in all the governorates of Palestine. The AFRP also provides support to the Ramallah Municipality and to city institutions on an annual basis.