This paper forms the nucleus of a lecture which the author intends to deliver in Doha, Qatar It is based entirely on the unpublished personal diaries of Fathi Balawi, which are archived in Doha by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. The diaries cover Balawi’s recollections of Palestinian student life in Cairo between 1945 and 1955, intersecting with both the Palestinian Nakba in 1948 and the establishment of the earliest Palestinian student association. This Cairo-based institution would itself give rise to the General Union of Palestine Students, an institution that later proved to be the springboard for a Palestinian national leadership which survives to this day. Balawi’s papers also cover the 1955 popular uprising in the Gaza Strip, which had prevented attempts at the forced resettlement of Palestinian refugees, as well as his own involvement in the formation of the Gaza Teachers’ Union. The Balawi memoirs presented here offer a rare glimpse of the Palestinian political life during a crucial period, offering an alternative narrative to the official version of Palestinian history which ignores the history of GUPS prior to the 1954 onset of the leadership of Yasser Arafat, (or which present the late President Arafat as the founder of the group).