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 148 runners and raised over $208,000 for Palestinian education projects.

  • October 1st, 2017: Prince William Half-Marathon
  • October 22nd, 2017: Marine Corps Marathon and 10K



Join us at the UPA office in Washington, DC, for one of two Iqraa information sessions for 2017 to learn more: Wednesday, April 26th at 6:30 pm or Saturday, April 29th at 1 pm. To RSVP or to inquire about becoming one of our 2017 runners, please contact Iqraa Coordinator Kirk Campbell via email at

Why run with Iqraa?

Iqraa’s 2015 running campaign included 14 runners who completed races, mostly in the local area, such as the Baltimore Half-Marathon, the Richmond and the Marine Corps Marathons and the Marine Corps 10K. As a team, our runners and volunteers raised over $27,000 last year. Our aim for 2016 is to recruit 30 runners to wear the red and white Iqraa jersey and to raise over $30,000 for education in Palestine. This would allow us to fund about 30 university scholarships. Our mission is embodied in the Iqraa slogan: Running for a brighter Palestine.

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

Iqraa has been active in running in the DC metro area since 2008, We partner with United Palestinian Appeal, which implements the education programs we fund, and with Marathon Charity Cooperation, which oversees the training and race day programs for our runners. Iqraa runners and volunteers participate in both partnerships through our 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 us to reach your goals and ours: 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

What does United Palestinian Appeal do to aid Palestinian education?

UPA works with local schools, orphanages, vocational training centers, and universities in an effort to help strengthen the Palestinian educational system. The school system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is underdeveloped due to years of occupation and neglect.

Students and teachers must contend with overcrowded classrooms, rundown buildings and facilities, outdated curricula, and inadequate training for teachers, in addition to school closures and restrictions on movement for students and staff. A growing population and limited finances present further obstacles to improving the educational system for Palestinian youth.

UPA-supported educational projects in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Lebanon provide communities with modern educational resources such as libraries, scientific laboratories, computer centers, improved classroom facilities, and qualified, well-trained teachers.

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.