Arab Development Society Collection

Scope and Content

Pamphlets, reports, newspaper cuttings and correspondence relating to the Arab Development Society, the life of its founder Musa Alami and details of the Society's legacy and supporters. Also includes an album of professional photographs, along with loose photographs, documenting the work of the Arab Development Society.

Administrative / Biographical History

Arab Development Society (1945-)

The Arab Development Society was established in 1945 and worked to assure the welfare of Arab refugees following the British withdrawal from Palestine in 1948. Using the remainder of funds assigned to the Arab Development Society by the Arab League Economic Committee in 1945, combined with some personal capital, in 1949 Musa Alami engaged a project to dig for water on an area of land north-east of Jericho. The land was then cultivated and a small experimental farm set up. By 1951 the farm was more or less established and by 1955 was capable of large scale cultivation. The Farm was used to accommodate, educate and give vocational training to orphaned children. These children were not supported by the United Nations Relief Agency, as this only dealt with the heads of families. At the Arab Development Society Farm and Vocational Training Centre, orphaned Palestinian boys learned how to farm, were schooled and also trained in vocational skills including electrical engineering, weaving, carpentry and metalwork, for which there was significant demand in the Arab World at the time. The Arab Development Society Farm and Vocational Training Centre received significant damage during rioting in Nov 1955. The Centre managed to recover with the help of charitable donations, but was then more or less destroyed in the events of the 1967 war and its aftermath. The Farm and Vocational Centre were re-established to some extent with assistance from Friends organisations in the United Kingdom and USA. These organisations continued to support the Centre's projects and Musa Alami's legacy.

Musa Alami (1897-1984)

Musa Alami was a Palestinian Nationalist and Philanthropist (1897-1984). Born in Jerusalem, he studied at Cambridge and later worked for the legal department of the Palestinian Government. He died in June 1984. The Friends of the Arab Development Society was established in the UK in 1961 with E.C. Hodgkin as Chairman and Sir Geoffrey Furlonge as Treasurer. A parallel organisation, the Musa Alami Foundation of Jericho, was also set up in the USA, with Dr. John H. Davis acting as President.


1. Arab Development Society Report

2. Fundraising and the History and Work of the Arab Development Society

3. Correspondence

4. Death of Musa Alami

5. Photographs

Conditions Governing Access


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Acquisition Information

Received as a gift from E.C. Hodgkin in 1999

Archivist's Note

Fonds level description created by Clare Brown in 1999, revised by Alastair McInnes in Jul 2010. File and item level description created by Alastair McInnes 4th Aug 2010. Sources for Administrative History within collection. Other sources are "Personality: Dr. John H Davis", Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 30th Dec 1985.

Conditions Governing Use

No restrictions on copying or quotation other than statutory regulations and preservation concerns

Related Material

In Middle East Centre Archive

  • GB165-0050 Gervase Cassells Collection: Memoir as Deputy Director of UNWRA in Jordan and of the Six Day War, 1967.
  • GB165-0063 Norman Corkill Collection: Nutritional economic survey of wartime Palestine, 1942-1943; nutritional state of the Palestine refugees in the Spring of 1951; autobiographical fragment. Photographic collection.
  • GB165-0153 Cecil Amin Hourani: Translation of article on the Arab nation and relations with Israel originally published in An Nahar supplement of 20th Aug 1967.
  • GB165-0161 Jerusalem and the East Mission Collection: Box 73, Palestine, Refugees, includes correspondence, papers from United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and information on Relief Policy.
  • GB165-0269 Sir Edward Spears Collection: Includes papers on Middle Eastern Affairs in general; press cuttings, including Palestine Arab Refugees, the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In Other Repositories

  • British Library Coll 20/42 IOR/L/PS/12/3002, India Office Records: Includes material on the employment of Arab Refugees from Palestine, 1st Jun 1949 - 8th Aug 1949.
  • Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives Other Countries NCUACS 81.2.99/K.488 Includes correspondence and papers from UNIPAL Universities' Fund for the Education of Palestinian Refugees, 1977-1982, 1989.
  • Royal Institute of International Affairs: RIIA/8/2007. 7th Nov 1951, Sir Henry Knight, The Arab Refugees from Palestine.
  • Warwick University Modern Records Centre: Broadcasts MSS.154/3/BR/10/1-229 Includes correspondence with James Monohan with regard to U.N refugee camps in Palestine, 1964.


  • Hourani, Cecil A, "Experimental Village in the Jordan Valley'', Middle East Journal, Vol 5, No 4, pp. 497-501
  • Mayer, T, ''Arab Unity of Action and the Palestine Question'', Middle Eastern Studies, Vol 22, No 3, Jul 1986, pp. 331-349
  • Furlonge, G, Palestine is my Country: The Story of Musa Alami (London: Murray 1969)

Geographical Names