Transforming lives, empowering communities since 1978

Iqraa: Running for a Brighter Palestine

2013 Iqraa BaltimoreUPA has partnered with the Iqraa running club since 2008 in the Washington, DC area to raise money for education projects in Palestine. Iqraa, which means “read” in Arabic, has trained runners—including beginners—to successfully complete the Prince William Half-Marathon or the Marine Corps Marathon or 10K.

Since 2008, Iqraa has trained 150 runners to complete their races and has raised over $208,000 for Palestinian education projects.

  • September 30th, 2018: Prince William Half-Marathon
  • October 28th, 2018: Marine Corps Marathon and 10K



To inquire about becoming one of our 2018 runners, please contact Iqraa Coordinator Kirk Campbell via email at

Why run with Iqraa?

Iqraa’s 2017 running campaign had 14 runners completing races such as the Prince William Half-marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon and MCM 10K, and the Richmond Marathon. We raised more than $25,000 for education programs in Palestine. Our aim for 2018 is to recruit 20 Iqraa runners to wear our red and white jersey and to raise over $30,000 for education in Palestine.

Iqraa’s characteristics include its focus on positive, constructive contributions to awareness raising and the development of Palestinian intellectual capital, its secular and non-political outlook, the diverse background of its runners, including men and women from multiple ethnic and faith traditions, and the camaraderie the team members build as they train together.

Iqraa has been active in running in the DC metro area since 2008. It partners with United Palestinian Appeal, which implements the education programs it funds, and with Marathon Charity Cooperation, which oversees the training and race day programs for its runners. Runners and volunteers participate in both partnerships through Iqraa's running and fundraising, by hosting and coaching many of the training runs, as well as by staffing the aid stations at several local running races during the year. As a result, joining Iqraa is a great opportunity for you to grow stronger in physical fitness, in your ties and contributions to society, and in your friendships.

Join them to reach your goals and theirs: fitness through running and contributing to a great cause!

To learn more about Iqraa, contact Iqraa Coordinator Kirk Campbell via email at

Here are testimonies from past runners:

"I am proud to wear the Iqraa T-shirt with our slogan, "running for a brighter Palestine." Because of Team Iqraa's connection with UPA, my running is not just for myself, but for a useful end--education of students in Palestine. Thinking about what we are accomplishing together makes me push harder and run faster."

- Cathy Baker


"Please join the Iqraa team and give running a chance. I didn’t give you all the short term and long term health benefits but there are many. On top of all of it, you would be raising money for Palestinian education initiatives. And last but not least, please know that the more you run, the better you get. Last year, a few of our runners qualified for the Boston Marathon, thanks to the training and support the Iqraa team provided. I don’t mean to sound like a commercial but this might be a life changing experience and would mean much to the lives of Palestinians whose lives are enhanced by the education you help provide."

- Samar Najia

"I began running several years ago to counter the effects of many years of working at a desk job. Running has also given me the opportunity to become friends with a group of interesting people that I otherwise would have never met.  My involvement in Iqraa/UPA has enabled me to transcend “selfish” reasons for running. Through these organizations, I have turned my running into an instrument of support for exceedingly worthy causes: the education of Palestinian young people, and the promotion of peace and prosperity for the people of the region."

- Jorge Guzman

How will the funds raised for United Palestinian Appeal support Palestinian education?

The funds raised by Iqraa go specifically to support the UPA University Scholarship Program. Since 1986, the UPA University Scholarship Program has helped over 2,000 Palestinian students realize their dream of higher education. UPA awards full degree scholarships that cover most or all of a student’s tuition costs to study at leading universities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Recipients must demonstrate academic excellence, financial need and a desire to give back to their community and nation. By assisting students to attend local universities, UPA seeks to buttress Palestinian higher education and encourage the development of an independent, sustainable Palestinian economy.

How do I know my money is going to the right place?

UPA ensures both that donations are not used to unnecessarily fund overhead and that the funds we send to Palestine go through long-established and reputable institutions. UPA is a Four-Star Charity with Charity Navigator, its highest rating, and meets all 20 standards of the Better Business Bureau's Wise-Giving Alliance.

What are UPA’s political positions?

None. UPA is a strictly non-partisan, non-sectarian 501(c)(3) charity.