Founders

Founders

Nabiha Nasir (1891-1951)
Nabiha Nasir was the co-founder of Birzeit School, and a prominent activist in the movement for women's rights (like many of the upper and middle class Palestinian women during the first half of the twentieth century). On October 1938, she gave a speech at the Eastern Women's Conference in Cairo in which she defended Arab unity as a way to encounter the threats faced by Palestine. "We must overcome the difficulties that face our unity as an Arab nation, since we share common language, traditions and religion. We must take advantage of our natural treasures for our benefit and not for the benefit of others, and draft our legislation, forming our legal systems to our favor and not in favor of foreign interests. We should teach our children as we want, not as others wish. Blood purity is not a necessity. It doesn’t hurt us to call the ones whose native language is Arabic as Arabs. I'm here on behalf of Palestine to file a complaint regarding our sufferings. I feel that there is no life for the people of Palestine, unless we are part of the Arab nation. I believe that the whole Arab nation will come to save our blood.“ Egyptian feminist Huda Shaarawi sent a letter to Nabiha Nasir on February 28, 1946 proposing cooperation in women's rights issues and committing to this vital mission.

Musa Nasir (1895-1971)
Musa Nasir earned his degree in Physics from the American University of Beirut in 1914. After the Nakba in 1938, he was involved in the management and development of the family school in Birzeit. In the 1950s, he introduced the concept of a "pilot year" for students after they finish high school. He believed strongly that student specialization in fields of education at university did not fully mature them and make them aware of the world. This experimental year was followed with the first university class.

In the fifties, Musa Nasir was twice elected to the Jordanian parliament and held ministerial positions in the Jordanian government. In 1959 and 1960, as minister of foreign affairs, he delivered two speeches at the United Nations General Assembly, in which he addressed the Palestinian issue and the refugee issue. He retired from politics in 1961 after being disappointed by the political status quo. Then he devoted his time and energy to the development of Birzeit College and education in general, and to defending the Palestinian cause in various international forums, focusing constantly on the moral dimension of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He worked as president of Birzeit College from 1947 until his death in 1971.

Rateebah Shouqair (1881-1957)
Shouqair was principal of Birzeit Girls School from 1924 to 1932. Shouqair (while in Lebanon) asked Nabiha, who was her student, to assist her in establishing a girls' school in Lebanon, but Nabiha Nasir proposed the establishment of a school in Birzeit instead. Despite the fact that it was a girls school, boys were accepted upon urgent appeal by the parents.