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Speaker Series: Gaza Crisis – United in Action

December 14, 2023 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

In conversation with two organizations spearheading our Gaza donor appeal, we hear how they are helping the devastated community in Gaza, what challenges they face, and how you can support their efforts


Since Oct. 7, the Israeli barrage on Gaza has displaced an estimated 1.8 million Palestinians and killed more than 15,000. Entire areas have been razed to the ground, the community is ravaged by hunger, thirst, and illness, and humanitarian organizations are now predicting that after the attacks stop, deaths from disease could outstrip those from the bombings.

Our donor campaign has been directing vital funding to groups who are working on the ground to support the people of Gaza. Right now, they are trying to get food, water, clothing, and medicines to everyone who needs them. And they will also be there to support Gazans as they recover and rebuild, whenever that day comes.

In the second part of our latest Speaker Series sessions focused on our Gaza donor appeal, AFF CEO Naila Farouky spoke with Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and Saleem F. Zaru, Executive Director of United Palestinian Appeal (UPA), two of the organizations spearheading the appeal.

Hear from these two locally-led organizations, run by and with Palestinians, as they discuss how they are using the funds from the appeal to help the community in Gaza, what challenges they face reaching those who need support the most, and how you can contribute to their efforts.

About the Speakers

Joyce Ajlouny joined the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) as General Secretary in 2017. A Quaker leader committed to helping bring peace and justice to oppressed and vulnerable communities globally, Joyce brings to AFSC a depth of experience in international development and relief, education, and 30 years of non-profit management. Under her leadership AFSC is entering its second century with a bold strategic revisioning and planning initiative that set organizational goals for the next decade (2020-2030).

A Palestinian American, Joyce started her career working in international development in Palestine, focusing on minority and refugee rights, gender equality, economic development, and humanitarian support. She served as the country director for Palestine and Israel with Oxfam-Great Britain, chaired the Association of International Development Agencies there and took on leadership roles at the UNDP and UNFPA. Prior to joining AFSC, Joyce served as the director of the Ramallah Friends School, a leading K-12 Quaker school in Palestine, for 13 years, where she led a diverse staff to transform the school academically, physically and financially.

As Executive Director of United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) since 2011, Saleem F. Zaru leads a diverse staff across five areas of operation (Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Washington, DC). During this period, he has provided strategic leadership in the expansion of UPA’s capacity to meet the growing relief and development needs of the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the MENA region.

Saleem, who grew up in Ramallah, Palestine, brings 35 years of executive experience in both the non-profit and private sectors. Prior to joining UPA, he was a practicing architect, city planner, and university professor who co-founded the first homebuilding and mortgage financing company in Palestine. He has managed large-scale land acquisition and development projects both in the Middle East and the United States. With extensive, first-hand knowledge of the social and political environment in the Middle East and as a certified non-profit coach, Saleem frequently offers his broad range of expertise and industry knowledge to numerous local advocacy and international development efforts.

About our Speaker Series

The Arab region’s diverse and burgeoning philanthropic and civic landscape is a hotbed of innovative models of giving. The idea behind our series “Leading Philanthropy and Non-Profit Voices” is to create a space where we can exchange ideas and share promising developments on the inspiring models being advanced by the region’s philanthropic and non-profit sector. By spotlighting leading voices and sector champions, our ultimate goal is to spread good practices and also understand what we can do better in our own organizations and as a community to make greater impact.


December 14, 2023
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm




Arab Foundations Forum
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