Joyce Ajlouny is a Palestinian-American who has lived most of her life in Ramallah. Since 2004, she has served FUM as Director of Ramallah Friends School. In her capacity as Director, Joyce represents FUM on the school Board of Trustees and is charged with overall management of school affairs – including control of finances; development of academics; relations with the community and parents; fundraising and school facilities development; and ensuring that the Quaker ethos of the school is maintained as central to the educational experience.
Before working for FUM, Joyce worked for the United Nations as well as international humanitarian and development agencies. As a Palestinian American Quaker with strong historic ties to the school, Joyce brings a unique cross-cultural perspective to her work. Joyce was born into a Quaker family and was brought up in Ramallah. Her grandmother, father, mother, siblings and husband attended or graduated from the Ramallah Friends School, and Joyce herself attended RFS from the 1st grade on, graduating in 1983.
After completing her university education in the US, Joyce returned and taught at the Lower School (FGS). Later, Joyce married Ziad Khalaf and became a mother of three boys, Tareq (23), Nader (21) and Ramzi (17), all of whom attended RFS, with Tareq and Nader recently graduating. Before being offered the Director’s position, Joyce headed up the School’s Parent Teacher Association.
Joyce completed her Master’s degree in Organizational Management and Development and has focused on securing funds to upgrade the school facilities on both campuses. Unprecedented development in the School’s physical plant and equipment – buildings, sports fields, computer labs, and more – has solidified the its reputation as a unique place to ‘develop the mind, body and soul,’ in accordance with RFS’ mission statement. The school staff have worked tirelessly to provide a 21st century educational program with the adoption of the acclaimed International Baccalaureate program for middle and high school aged students. RFS has also initiated a new college counseling program, resulting in historic college matriculation results of RFS students to top universities worldwide.
Joyce has begun efforts to secure a long-term endowment for Ramallah Friends School, raising funds from graduates and Friends worldwide. As part of this vision for long-term financial sustainability, she is also overseeing the commercialization of unused, prime land on the school campus. Joyce is spending the majority of her time in the US with her children, developing a new RFS development program in North America.
“As a parent in the Ramallah community, I know firsthand about the worries of parents and the inner fears of children. There isn’t anything in my life more gratifying than knowing I can take part in the efforts of alleviating the suffering of this community by providing its future leaders with hope, dignity and a healthy learning environment. I am driven by a conviction that a Quaker education is even more relevant now than any other time in this region’s history, to balance out present local and global challenges and make way for peace and tolerance.”
Joyce and her husband Ziad have three boys: Tareq, Nader and Ramzi.