Daniel Wehrenfennig

Executive Director 

Daniel Wehrenfennig, Ph.D. is the executive director of the Olive Tree Initiative. He also directs the Certificate Program in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the University of California, Irvine. He has produced a documentary film for civic education in Malawi/Africa. His recent work has been published by Peace Review, Communication Theory, the University of California Press, Lexington Books and Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism. 




Susan Seely

Associate Director

          Susan has lived and traveled extensively in the Middle East. In her capacity as OTI’s Associate Director, Susan represents OTI at community events and speaking engagements and oversees the office staff to sustain OTI’s day-to-day operational requirements. She mentors and trains staff and OTI Students, oversees regional directors, coordinates with other OTI campuses, organizes national and local OTI Board meetings and programming. Susan also serves as a leader on both the Student and Community OTI trips to the Middle East as well as Turkey and the South Caucasus region.  Prior to moving back to California, she worked as the Director for the Middle East and Africa at the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment.  



kevin_headshot.jpgKevin Pham

Alumni Program Coordinator

       Kevin is a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside where he studies political theory with special interests in conflict resolution and cosmopolitanism. He received his B.A. in political science in 2010 from UC Irvine where he participated in a trip to the Middle East with the Olive Tree Initiative in 2009. After graduating from UC Irvine, he taught English in Vietnam for one year. In 2011, through a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, he lived in the Netherlands and completed a M.Sc in Conflict Resolution and Governance at the University of Amsterdam. He has given presentations about the Olive Tree Initiative to many Rotary Clubs and universities throughout the Netherlands, Egypt and the U.S. He aims to be a professor and to expand the model of education used by the Olive Tree Initiative. 




Alicia Rios 

Executive Administrator 

        Alicia is newest addition to the OTI team, having joined in 2016. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2015 with Bachelor of Arts double majors in Political Science and Sociology. After graduation she spent several months traveling and living overseas in Europe as an au pair. 





elizabeth_headshot.jpgElizabeth Koppe

Program Manager

Elizabeth graduated from UC Irvine in 2015 with a BA in Philosophy and a minor in Psychology Social Behavior. She has been a member of OTI since 2013 and participated on the Middle East trip. She is humbled to have received the 2013-2014 Dalai Lama Scholarship and Fellowship with her project partner, Blanca Castro. As OTI Project Manager, she adds to fundraising support, organizing two annual fundraisers, in addition to developing the programming and managing the logistics for OTI pre-trip preparation “Bootcamp” and the annual OTI Leadership Conference.




Timna Medevoy

Middle East Program Coordinator

Timna received her BA in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine in 2014. She joined OTI as a student in 2010 and now oversees the Middle East program. Among her travels to the Middle East, Timna spent 9 months in Egypt where she studied and conducted research on leftist youth. She is now based in Jerusalem where, in addition to her work with OTI, she is volunteering in the non-profit sector





Georgina Danial

Administrative Assistant

Georgina is a third year student at the University of California, Irvine majoring in International Studies and Political Science. She has been involved in OTI for two years, and most recently attended the Middle East Trip 9. Currently Georgina holds the position of UCI OTI Middle East Chapter External President. 






Christopher Khachadour

Administrative Assistant

Christopher is a 3rd year political science and history major. He has been a part of the Olive Tree Initiative since Fall 2015 and has served as the South Caucasus Chapter Leader since Fall 2016. He is an alumni of the 2017 South Caucasus Trip. Chris has been working at the Olive Tree Initiative office since April of 2017.





Laila Delgado

Administrative Assistant

Laila is a second year student at the University of California, Irvine. She is double majoring in Psychology & Cognitive Sciences and International Studies and is pursuing a minor in Philosophy. She is interested in women’s issues in the Middle East in addition to the study of conflict and dispute resolution. She has spent time in Morocco and working in Germany with Syrian refugees and hopes to continue with research and work that aims to provide aid and resolution to conflict areas in the Middle East.