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Dear Birzeit Family and Friends,

I am so honored to be serving as President of this Palestinian non-profit organization that gears so much of its energy towards community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our previous President, George Khoury, and the departing National Board for their contributions to Birzeit Society. I am also    deeply thankful to be working with the newly elected Executive Committee Members and our new National Board.

Community, especially our Birzeit community, is incredibly important to me personally. Even as a young child I always loved Birzeit. Some of my fondest memories include listening to the mehrajan from my Siti Sara’s backyard, or saying hello to passerby’s as I sat eating ice cream in front of my Sedo Ibrahim’s ducana. I will never forget the important relationships I built at the Nadi.  Friendships were cemented over Bamba, falafel sandwiches, and basketball. While these friendships started at the Nadi in Birzeit they have spanned continents and decades. Birzeit Society conventions and events continued to provide opportunities to remain in touch with these friends and to make new ones. It was these memories that pushed me to team up with fellow Birzeities in Cleveland to establish the Ohio Chapter of Birzeit Society in 2009.  Since then I have served for a decade on Birzeit Society’s National Board, have completed two terms as President of the Ohio Chapter, and chaired the Cleveland Convention. It is with this experience I step into the important role of President of Birzeit Society.

As the youngest President of the Society since its inception in 1986, one of my goals is to continue our long-standing tradition of an intergenerational community that honors our elders and embraces our youth. I hope to encourage our younger members to get involved in the important work our Society does in preserving our culture and maintaining our connection to our roots. I do this so that our youth will have a chance to make those very memories that I have cherished connecting with Birzeities around the world. This year has been off to a great start and I am proud to share what Birzeit Society has accomplished thus far including;

      • Awarding scholarships to twenty-two (22) Birzeiti collegiate level students
      • Reactivating committees and appointing enthusiastic leadership to these committees, including the Administration, Membership, Young Adult, and the Education Committees.
      • We are grateful to have the continued guidance of George Khoury as newsletter editor, and are excited to introduce Dr. Shereen Naser as co-editor this year. We appreciate the dedication and vision that they both bring to one of our most important society activities.
      • Revamping the Birzeit Society website with access to past newsletter issues online and other new features.
      • Creating a national Facebook page to easily and quickly communicate with our members online.
      • Providing thousands of dollars of support to families in need.

This is only the beginning of great things to come and I am excited to see where next year will take us! One of our current goals is to hire an Administrative Assistant for the Society. Furthermore, with the generous support of our members, we hope to be able to provide 40 scholarships to Birzeiti students in 2020.

Lastly, one of the most important jobs of Birzeit Society that aligns with our mission of celebrating community is the Birzeit Society National Convention. I am excited to announce that our 2020 Convention will be held from July 1st-5th, 2020 in Houston, Texas! Make sure to mark your calendars! I look forward to seeing each and everyone of you there, cowboy boots on. More information is forthcoming.

Thank you for allowing me to be your President, it is truly a privilege. I hope that my tenure as Birzeit Society President will continue to encourage our younger members to get involved in preserving our important work.

With warmest regards,

Maryland Ubaid

National President

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