Student Trip to the Middle East


After 30 weeks of education sessions, informal student discussions and debates, community activities, Meals with Olives, and an intensive pre-trip Bootcamp, students are prepared for the trip to the region.

Under the guidance of Education Coordinator, Arturo Jimenez, OTI staff work hard to balance the curriculum and provide a scholarly examination of all sides of the conflict. 

Disclaimer: Sensitivity to cultural and religious practice and observance is a strong value of OTI. Any religious sites or events listed on the curriculum are meant for educational purposes only. All participants (students, faculty, staff) are provided opportunities to observe their own religious practices during the trip, including but not limited to prayer service (e.g. Friday prayers); consumption or avoidance of specific foods; observance of Sabbath or other holidays.


The Trip Experience 

For an example of our trip delegations to the Middle East, we enclose our 2013 Trip Curriculum below:

 

WASHINGTON D.C.

Sunday - August 11th:  Washington DC

  • Tour of Martin Luther King Jr Memorial with UC Irvine Vice Chancellor, Thomas Parham
  • OTI Alumni Dinner

 

Monday - August 12th:  Washington DC

  • United States Institute of Peace

Meeting with:

    • Maria Jessop (Senior Program Officer, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding)
    • Peter Weinberger (Senior Program Officer and faculty, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding)
  • UCDC Center
    • Meeting with Keya Naomi Balasundaram (www.hearbeat.fm)
  • Executive Offices, The White House
    • Discussion with Maher Bitar (Director of Israeli-Palestinian Affairs, National Security Council)
  • The U.S. Department of State
    • Meeting with Michael Yaffe (Deputy U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace)
  • The public policy think tank, CATO Institute
    • Meeting with Christopher Preble (Vice President for defense and foreign policy studies)
  • Evening Student Reflections

 

NEW YORK

Tuesday - August 13th: Washington DC/NYC

  • Tour of the United Nations
  • United Nations Headquarters

Discussions with:

    • Andrew Gilmour (UN Director for Political, Humanitarian, Human Rights, and Peacekeeping Affairs and Senior Advisor to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon)
    • Dr. David Scharia, (Legal Coordinator of the UN Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) at United Nations
  • Student Dinner with Reflection

 

JERUSALEM

Wednesday, August 14th: Jerusalem

  • Arrive in Ben Gurion airport
  • Dinner with group #1

 

Thursday, August 15th: Jerusalem and Ramallah

  • Visit of Government Compound and Arafat Memorial Site
  • Meeting with Husam Zomlut (Exec. Deputy Commissioner, Fatah Commission for International Relations)
  • Meeting with Nabil Shaath (Palestine Liberation Organization)
  • Visit Rawabi Development
    • Presentation by Nisreen Shahin (Executive Director, Rawabi Foundation)
    • Meeting with Bashar Masri (Founder and Managing Director of Bayti Real Estate Investment Company - main investor into Rawabi)
  • Tour at Bir-Zeit University with students
    • Meeting with Sam Bahur (Business Entrepreneur)
  • Tour of Ramallah (downtown)
  • Group Dinner and Optional Nightlife Experience

 

Friday, August 16th: Jerusalem

  • Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    • Meeting with Ray Dalton (Access Coordinator, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
  • Tel Aviv University
    • Meeting with Professor Eyal Naveh (PRIME member)
  • Student-led Reflection
  • Visit to the Western Wall
  • Shabbat Dinner with local Jerusalem residents

 

Saturday, August 17th: Jerusalem

  • Old City Tour
  • Final Reflection

 BETHLEHEM

Sunday, August 18th: Jerusalem and Bethlehem

  • Visit  Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum
  • Tour  with B’Tselem of barrier and East-Jerusalem and TALK by Jessica Montell (Executive Director)
  • Strategic Tour with Col. Danny Tirza (Architect of the barrier between Israel and the West Bank)
  • Meeting with Mark Regev (Spokesperson for Prime Minister)
  • Meeting with Herzl Inbar (former Israeli Ambassador to Argentina, Spain and Andora)
  • Student Reflection

 

Monday, August 19th: Bethlehem

  • Tour of Old Town Bethlehem
    • Visit Church of Nativity and Mosque of Omar
  • Bethlehem University
    • Meeting with students and faculty
  • Wi’am Center
    • Lunch and Meeting with Zoughbi Zoughbi (Director, Wi’am – Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center)
  • Tour of Aida Refugee Camp
  • Alrowwad Center in Aida Refugee Camp
    • Meeting with Abdelfattah Abusrour (Alrowwad General Manager)
  • Student Reflection at hotel
  • Dinner in Bethlehem with host families

 

HEBRON 

Tuesday, August 20th: Hebron and Jerusalem

  • Visit Tomb of the Patriarchs
  • Talk and Tour of Jewish Community of Hebron with David Wilder (Spokesperson, Jewish Community)
  • Tour of Hebron City Center
    • Meeting with Walid S. Abu-Alhalaweh (PR Director, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee)
  • Travel on Bus to Jerusalem
  • Hebrew University
    • Meeting with Chaim Gvirtzman (Water expert and Professor)
  • Dinner and Reflection

 

JORDAN

Wednesday, August 21st: Travel to Jordan

  • Crossing to Jordan through King Hussein/Allenby Crossing
  • Visit Eco-Park and Meet with Friends of Middle East
  • United Nations Relief and Works Agency
    • Meeting with Noora Sharrab (Communication Specialist)
  • Meeting with Professor Kamal S. Abu Jaber (former Jordan Foreign Minister, Director of Interfaith Institute)

 

Thursday, August 22nd: Amman

  • Visit of Gaza Refugee Camp (Jerash) near Amman
    • Visit UNRWA school, tour of camp and lunch with local families
  • Panel Discussion on reforms in Jordan with Hisham Majali (Bedouin) and local business people

 

HAIFA

Friday, August 23rd: Amman and Haifa

  • Holiday Inn Dead Sea Resort
  • Cross Border into Israel
  • Border Crossing for Haifa (Reflection in bus)

 

Saturday, August 24th: Tour of Golan Heights

  • Depart for Galilee
  • Visit Christian Sites in Galilee
  • Tour of Galilee and Golan with Colonel (ret.) Ron Schatzberg
  • Lunch at Majdal Shams (Druze village in Golan)
  • Student Reflection

 

Sunday, August 25th: Haifa

  • Meeting with Daniel Orenstein at Technion with students (role-play)
  • Lunch and Talk at Maxim Restaurant a joint Arab-Israeli owned with frequent guest that helped to rebuild the restaurant
  • Tour of terror victim burial site (near Haifa) with Ron Kehrmann, whose daughter died in a suicide attack on a bus in Haifa
  • Depart for Kibbutz
  • Reflection

 

NAZARETH

Monday, August 26th: Haifa and Nazareth

  • Visit Baha’i Garden
  • Check in hotel in Nazareth
  • Optional City Tour
  • Meeting with Mohammad Darwashe (The Abraham Fund Initiative)
  • Student Reflection
  • Dinner with locals
  • Optional Night tour of Nazareth and Optional Nightlife Experience with Nazareth University students

 

JENIN and NABLUS

Tuesday, August 27th: Jenin and Nablus

  • Meeting with Munib al-Masri (member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, former Jordanian Cabinet Minister, business man)
  • Tour of Nablus
  • Arrive in Jenin
  • Women Cooperative
    • Meeting and Late Lunch with Um Emad Abu-Zahra (director) who lost her son Imad Subhi Abu-Zahra (journalist) in an IDF incursion into Jenin
  • Visit Freedom Theatre and Talk with Director
  • Meeting with Palestinian Security Forces
  • Return to Nazareth
  • Reflection

 

ARIEL

Wednesday, August 28th: Bil’in, Ariel

  • Leave Nazareth for Ariel
    • Visit with Yehuda (CEO of Toilet Factory, Ariel Industrial Park and Abed (Palestinian worker in park)
    • Meeting  with Avi Zimmerman (Director, American Friends of Ariel) followed by tour of Ariel
    • Lunch with Families in Ariel
    • Meeting with Iyad Burnat (Chairman, Bi’lin Popular Committee Against the War & Settlements)
  • Leave for Tel Aviv
  • Reflection and Dinner in Tel Aviv

 

SDEROT

Thursday, August 29th: Sderot and Tel Aviv

  • Peres Center in Jaffa
    • Meeting with Yarden Leal (Director, Development and External Relations Department, Peres Center for Peace)
  • Sderot Media Center
    • Meeting with Noam Bedein (CEO of Information Center for the Western Negev Ltd.)
  • Live-Phone Conference with Omar Shaban (PalThink), and Residents of Gaza
  • Tour of Natal (Trauma Center)
  • Meeting with Gerald Steinberg (Executive Director of NGO Monitor)
  • Reflection

 

TEL AVIV 

Friday, August 30th: Tel Aviv

  • Meeting with IDF Spokesperson
  • Meeting with Rony Edry (graphic artists, founder of Israel loves Iran campaign)
  • Reflection

 

Saturday, August 31st: Tel Aviv

  • Meeting with Professor Galia Golan (IDC Herzliya, former Knesset member)
  • Meeting with Lydia Ovadia (Iraqi Jewish Refugee)
  • Final Reflection
  • Depart for Airport