Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim was born in the city of Safad in northern Palestine. Her family fled during the war when Israel was established in 1948. As refugees, they went to Syria and then to Jordan. Feryal went to a boarding school in Ramallah, West Bank, and then returned to Syria to attend Damascus University as an Art History major. She became an elementary, middle, and high school art teacher and continued doing so for twelve years.
In 1980, her and her husband immigrated to the US. Since then, she has mostly worked in non-profit organizations that focus on cultural traditions, folk art, and oral history. She has lectured and taught about Palestinian traditions at the University of Massachusetts, the Oral History Center of Cambridge, Portland State University, and Lewis and Clark College, to name a few. She has worked collaboratively with the World Affairs Council of Oregon and the Middle East Studies Center, participating in the “Teach the Middle East” forum with workshops designed for youth, and training K-12 educators about Middle East culture, as well as humanitarian and art education. Feryal has spent about 15 years leading workshops and classes at all educational levels in public schools in Beaverton, Milwaukie, Gresham, and Portland.