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A Passion for Learning: The Life Journey of Khalil Totah, a Palestinian Quaker Educator and Activist

By Joy Totah Hilden

Paperback: 454 pages
Publisher: Xlibris (December 19, 2016)
Product Specifications: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches; 1.8 pounds
Condition: New

Price: $19.99


Khalil Totah’s life spanned the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate in Palestine, and the foundation of the state of Israel. His passion for education drove him to leave his native Palestine for the US in 1906 to complete his education, which culminated in a PhD from Columbia University. His next adventure, in France during World War I, was followed by a return to Palestine with a beautiful American wife.

Having achieved his education and successfully navigated life transitions, he set out to serve as principal of a teacher-training college in Jerusalem. Later he became principal of the Friends Boys School in Ramallah, the Quaker school that had taught and mentored him. In spite of work-related struggles and a family tragedy, he built and developed the school throughout the Arab Peasant Revolt and the British Mandate. He was esteemed and venerated by his people for his leadership.

In 1944, Khalil and his family returned to the US, where he continued his career in education as director of the Arab information office in New York. He lectured, wrote, and became an activist on behalf of the Palestinians as partition was debated at the UN.

Told by his daughter, the story of Khalil’s life sheds light on the history of Palestine of that period and of the Quakers in Palestine. His journal, diaries, articles, photographs, and her mothers’ letters to family in the US have formed the foundation for this story.