Palestinian refugees learn embroidery in a class sponsored by UNRWA. The organization has played a major role in improving women’s social status. Owen Franken / Corbis via Getty

When Saudi Arabia Imported Teachers From Palestine

Palestinian refugees once filled universities in the Arab world and energized the Persian Gulf's economy, as a result of an educational revolution due largely to UNRWA. What lessons can be learned from that era now, as the agency's fate hangs in the balance?

In the 1990s, I conducted a field study in the Deheisheh refugee camp adjacent to Bethlehem. Two types of houses stood side by side in the camp. There were small structures that had been built by UNRWA, the...

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