Upper School Principal's Welcome

“Ramallah Friends School is one of Palestine’s great success stories. For 153 years, RFS has contributed to the people and culture of Palestine.”
— Paul Parker, Upper School Principal


Every school year is a new beginning, a new world of opportunities, and this is true for students and their families as well as for teachers and the staff. And this is especially true for me as your new Upper School Principal! I come from a family of school teachers, a career as a university professor, and a life-long commitment to equality, freedom, service, simplicity, nonviolent action, and to what Martin Luther King called the “Beloved Community.” I am honored to be part of the Ramallah Friends School, committed to its mission, and excited to work, study and learn with you. 

Ramallah Friends School is one of Palestine’s great success stories. For 153 years, RFS has contributed to the people and culture of Palestine. Our alumni have become leaders in the Palestinian private sector, civil society, the arts, and government. Virtually all of our graduates continue their education into a college or university and then enter the workforce or a graduate program. This year’s Upper School students are now part of this historic legacy. Welcome! Welcome to a new school year, to a new beginning, to the doorway of your future, to a new opportunity to make the world more just. 

Education at RFS is holistic (mind, body and spirit), contextual (social, political, cultural), and globally and internationally mindful (the environment and other countries are important too). RFS is committed to providing the highest quality education anywhere in the world. This is self-evident in our accreditation as an International Baccalaureate World School with 99% of our students routinely passing their final IB exams. This kind of success is only possible because RFS has smart students with supportive families and talented and committed teachers.

RFS is not just about our students' minds. We provide opportunities for both boys and girls to be physically fit by participating in football, basketball, handball, and volleyball. The students’ Debkeh Troupe and Modern Dance Group contribute to the student's physical health and cultural identity. The Student Council and Model UN provide students with opportunities to learn about the importance of organizing, discussing, prioritizing, persuasion, conflict resolution, and local, national and international affairs.   

At Ramallah Friends School we all cherish our Quaker heritage. We are not all Quakers (members of the Society of Friends); indeed, very few of us are. But RFS’s educational excellence has always been rooted in Quaker values: an inclusive community; equality; peace; service; simplicity; and integrity. Moreover, these values are not uniquely Quaker values, but are the values of many individuals, religions and cultures around the world not the least of which is beautiful Palestine. 

Quaker values are crucial for students on campus, but also when they go to college and into their professional roles across the world. Quaker values may be even more crucial because we live in a dangerous and challenging political context with external pressures that limit individual and cultural development as well as national self-determination. Even nature suffers degradation under the current situation. For over 150 years, our experience has been that Friends’ values have enabled our graduates to live to the fullest–and we are confident that this will be your experience too. Welcome to the RFS family.

Paul Parker
Upper School Principal