Success stories of Palestinian achievers from all over the world

Khalil Totah

Personal Info

  • Country of residence: Palestine
  • Gender: Male
  • Born in: 1886
  • Age: 130
  • Curriculum vitae :


Born in Ramallah on 20 May 1886 to Greek Orthodox parents; was brought up by the Society of Friends (Quakers), which his parents had joined; received his early education in the Friends' Schools in Ramallah (1901-03), in Brummana School, Lebanon (1903), and the English College in Jerusalem (1904); worked as a teacher at the Friends Boys' Training School, Ramallah, in 1905; studied at Oak Grove Seminary at Vassalboro, Maine, from 1906-07, then at Clark College, Worcester, Massachusetts from 1908-11, started majoring in English and Math but changed his major to English and History in the second year and graduated with a BA; returned to Palestine in 1912 and became Principal of the Friends' Boys School in Ramallah; attended Turkish military training service for three months in 1913 before leaving to the US, where he continued his studies at the Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, graduating with an MA in 1917 (thesis about ‘Friends Secondary Schools in America'); at the end of WWI, in 1918-19, served with the US Forces as a YMCA Secretary in France; returned to Palestine and became Headmaster of the Men's Teacher Training College in Jerusalem (later known as the Government Arab College) until 1925, when he resigned and joined Columbia University, earning a PhD in Philosophy (his dissertation, The Contribution of the Arabs to Education, was published in 1926); returned again to Palestine and became Principal of the Friends' Boys School, Ramallah, from 1927-44; was invited to the London's Society of Friends to meet with Parliament Members and the Colonel Minister in 1934; testified before the Royal (Peel) Commission on Palestine in Jerusalem in 1937; moved with his family to the US in 1944 and became Interim Pastor at the Congregational Community Church in Mattapoisett, Mass., in 1945; then served as Exec. Director of the Institute of Arab American Affairs in New York City from 1945-50; appeared before the Anglo-American Commission in Washington, DC, in 1946; spent the rest of his life as lecturer and writer in California; has published his doctoral dissertation The Contribution of Arabs to Education (1926; republished in 2002 by Gorgias Press); co-authored (with Omar Saleh Al-Barghouthi ) The History of Palestine ; went on a study tour to Jordan and Arab countries in 1952, and published his observations under the title Dynamite In the Middle East (Philosophical Library, Inc., New York, 1955); died in Whittier, California, on 24 March 1955.


Achievements and Awards

The Contribution of the Arabs to Education; dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, 1926
(republished by Gorgias Press. Available at:
Co-editor with Harry Viteles of "Palestine: A Decade of Develeopment" Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science, Philadelphia, November, 1932. Publication No. 2545a. Author of "Education in Palestine", pp. 155-166.
Arab Progress in Palestine, 1946.
Introducing The Arabs to Americans, The Institute of Arab American Affairs, New York, 1948.
Dynamite In The Middle East, Philosophical Library, Inc., New York, 1955.
Incomplete, unpublished manuscript, Palestine Illustrates the Bible.

Author and co-author of the following works in Arabic:
History of Jerusalem
History of Palestine
Geography of Palestine
Arab Education

Asia Magazine
The Forum
The New Leader
Al-Hilal, Cairo, in Arabic
Al-Mktalaf, Cairo, in Arabic

Lectures in the United States and Canada include:
Foreign Policy Association, Boston Forum, Town Meeting of the Air, American Forum, (radio and television) and many local radio stations. Also addressed colleges, women's clubs, churches and service clubs.

Appeared before:
The Royal Commission on Palestine, 1937.
The Anglo-American Commission, Washington, D.C., 1946.

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