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 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.
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.
Sean graduated from UCLA in 2013 with a BA in History and has been involved with the Olive Tree Initiative since 2012. After being inspired by the work and and members of the Olive Tree Initiative, Sean regularly traveled throughout Europe to work with various peace building NGOs. He promoted these initiatives by utilizing new media in the form of blogging, video, and freelance writing for youth oriented websites. Before joining the OTI team, Sean stayed active as an alumni by participating in the Northern Ireland Community trip in 2017, and as a trip leader for the first OTI alumni trip to Northern Ireland in July of 2018.
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.
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.
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.
Katarina is a fourth year transfer student, double majoring in International and Russian Studies with a conflict resolution minor. She is most interested in researching politics and policy in the post-soviet sphere, and plans to pursue a degree in international human rights law after graduating from UC Irvine.
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.