Although my father was illiterate, he understood the need for his children—including his daughters—to receive an education that would help prepare them for the challenges they would face in the modern world.
The years that followed the Nakba witnessed a series of moral and material defeats for the Arabs, which relegated us to an age of darkness and ignorance. Our people had only one option left: redemption through knowledge and education. My wife Leila and I both started our professional careers as teachers, and it soon became apparent to both of us that if there were to be no quick solutions for improving our current social situation, then the only way to encourage change would be to work for a better future.
We believed, from the outset, that a free human being is capable of both questioning and creativity, and is not afraid of innovation or adventure. We understood that we could not face the realities of war, tyranny, and oppression, without striving to be enlightened, creative individuals working towards establishing an open, dynamic society.
We continue to uphold our belief that Palestine is an inseparable part of the rich intellectual heritage that we call Arab culture, and that Palestine, in order to be worthy of its activists and their sacrifices, must be a living, breathing entity connected to the global cultural scene. We also believe that investing in the children of Palestine and the Arab world is the best way for us to reach these goals.
Over the years we have provided as much support and encouragement as possible to the numerous individuals, institutions, and projects working to improve education and cultural diversity in the Arab world.
Our commitments have grown with time, and several years ago it became apparent that there was a need for an independent, professional organisation that had a clear methodology for developing a number of pioneering projects in arts and education, and ensuring their continuity. In addition, we felt it was necessary that this organisation have a physical presence in Palestine. Thus, the A.M. Qattan Foundation began its work in 1998, which it continues to this day.
As the great Palestinian educator, my former teacher and mentor Khalil Sakakini once said, "They planted and we harvested, we plant and they shall harvest."
Abdel Mohsin Al-Qattan