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My Visit to Friends Schools in the U.S.

By Mahmoud Amra, RFS Upper School principal

For over 20 years, working at the Ramallah Friends School, I have had the opportunity to meet many visiting educators and students from Friends schools in the U.S. I have learned from them about their schools and how they incorporate Quaker values and traditions. I have benefited greatly from the long conversations and interaction with fellow educators from these schools.

This year I was privileged to spend two weeks visiting some of these schools in the U.S. and actually see firsthand what I have been hearing and reading about for all these years. I started my visit by spending five days at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. I met many members of the faculty and the staff. I was honored to attend the weekly Meeting for Worship, many classes and hold conversations with the students.

Following that visit, I attended a two-day workshop at Pendle Hill for educators new to Quakerism, organized by the Friends Council on Education. Prior to registering I was hesitant to participate since I am not new to Quakerism. After attending the workshop, however, I am glad that I signed up. I have learned new things about Quakerism and Quaker education, and got to know more than 20 teachers and administrators from different Friends schools across the U.S. It was clear to me that we share a common pride in working at our Friends schools.

For the remaining days of my trip, I visited the Friends Council on Education, Westtown School, William Penn Charter School and George School in Philadelphia.

I was overwhelmed with the generosity, kindness and hospitality of all the Friends who hosted me. RFS is a leading educational institution in Palestine, and this trip gave me much energy and many ideas to continue in this work.