Palestinian Refugees Beyond the Trump Era

Palestinian flag (MEI)

Middle East Institute  /  December 3, 2020


In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly called for November 29 to be observed as an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Exactly 30 years earlier, the General Assembly voted to partition what was then the British Mandate of Palestine, setting off a series of events that led to the dispossession of an estimated 750,000 refugees, or two-thirds of Palestine’s Arab population, and giving rise to the current Palestinian refugee crisis. 

Almost 73 years on, the status of Palestinian refugees has not only remained unresolved but is more precarious than ever. Ignored by successive peace processes and often by their own political leaders, Palestinian refugees must also contend with new challenges, including the Trump administration’s assault on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on vulnerable refugees in Gaza and elsewhere in the region.

To shed light on these issues, the Middle East Institute (MEI) and the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) are pleased to invite you to join a webinar on Palestinian Refugees Beyond the Trump Era, moderated by MEI’s Nooran Alhamdan.


Matthias Schmale holds a PhD in development economics from the Free University in Berlin, Germany. During more than 24 years of professional experience in international humanitarian and development organizations, he has held numerous senior management positions and served the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the British Red Cross, and International Save the Children Alliance. For UNRWA he has served as director for Lebanon, for Syria, and for its Representative Office in New York, and since October 2017, he has been director of field operations in Gaza.

 Dalya Al Masri is a Palestinian-Canadian journalist and human rights advocate focused on politics and research from the Middle East and North Africa, primarily on issues relating to Palestine. She has been published in the Institute for Palestine Studies, the Huffington Post Canada, +972 and others. 

 Raed Jarrar is a Palestinian-American architect, blogger, and political advocate based in Washington, DC. Since his immigration to the U.S. in 2005, he has worked as a lobbyist on political issues pertaining to Palestine and the U.S. engagement in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Widely recognized as an expert on political, social, and economic developments in the Middle East, he has testified in numerous Congressional hearings and briefings, led national advocacy days in Washington, DC, and is a frequent guest on national and international media outlets in both Arabic and English.

 Nooran Alhamdan (moderator) is an MA candidate in Arab Studies at the Edmond A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She received her bachelor’s degree in analytical economics and political science, and a minor in Middle Eastern studies from the University of New Hampshire. She is a former intern of the United Nations Population Fund and the Arab American Institute. She is also a recipient of an undergraduate international research grant and spent the summer of 2019 conducting a research project on Palestinian refugees in Jordan. In 2019 she was named a Harry S. Truman scholar, representing the state of New Hampshire. Nooran is currently a graduate research fellow for the Program on Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs at the Middle East Institute.