Student Trip to the Middle East

For an example of our trip delegations to the Middle East, we enclose our 2011 Trip Curriculum below:

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.

OTI July/August 2012 Trip Itinerary

OTI September 2012 Trip Itinerary



Monday – August 29th

Flight to Washington DC

  • Be at LAX no later than 7:30 am for security, check-in
  • Leave LAX at 9:55 am
  • Arrival in Washington DC at 9:59 pm
  • Pick-up from Airport to Hotel (Holiday-Inn Capitol Washington D.C.)

Tuesday – August 30th

Washington DC

  • 7:00 am leaving hotel to get to White House (stopping for short breakfast on the way)
  • 8:15 am White House Complex Security check
  • 9:00 pm MEETING with Ambassador Dennis Ross (Middle East Negotiator, U.S. Department of State) at the White House Complex
  • Optional Eid El-Fitr morning sermon and prayers at Washington mosque (Muslim end of Ramadan celebration)
  • 11:30 am UCI Vice Chancellor Student Affairs Thomas Parham addressing the group
  • 12:15 am LUNCH with Georgetown Imam Yahya Hendi and Muslim community members
  • 2:00 pm MEETING with State Department Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith, and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal about 2011 Hours Against Hate Campaign (at Washington Institute)
  • 4:30 pm REFLECTIONS

Wednesday – August 31st

Washington DC

  • 7:30 am Walking to USIP (stopping for short breakfast on the way)
  • 9:00 am MEETING with US Institute of Peace with David Smith and Steve Riskin
  • 11:30 am TALK with Ghaith Al-Omari (American Task Force for Palestine) at UCDC Center
  • 1:00 pm Lunch at UCDC Center
  • 3:00 pm MEETING with Scott Cullinane, Staff for the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations House Committee on Foreign Affairs for Congressmember Dana Rohrabacher (Chair of the OI house committee) at Rayburn House Office Building.
  • 4:30 pm. meeting with Worku Gachou, Legislative Analyst for Congressmember Ed Royce at Rayburn House Office Building.
  • 6:00 pm REFLECTION

Thursday – September 1st

Flight to Tel Aviv

  • 9:00 am MEETING with Dr. Wesley Reisser (Department of State Middle East Expert) at hotel
  • 11:00 am Meeting with Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), presentation by   Alejandro Buetel and Hoda Elshishtawy.
  • 1:00 pm LUNCH with David Makovsky (the Ziegler distinguished fellow and director of the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy on the Middle East Peace Project)
  • 2:00 pm Meeting with Sana Shtasel (Executive Director, ALLMEP) at hotel
  • 3:30 pm Leave to airport from hotel
  • Leave DCA at 6:59 pm to Philadelphia with connection to Tel Aviv

Friday – September 2nd


  • 3:15 pm Arrival in Ben-Gurion Airport
  • 5:30 pm Travel to Bethlehem
  • 6:30 pm Check into Mount David Hotel
  • 8:00 pm Dinner near hotel

Saturday – September 3rd


  • 8:30 am TOUR of Old Town Bethlehem (Church of Nativity, Mosque of Omar)
  • 11:30 am MEETING with Bassem Eid (founder and director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group) at hotel
  • 1:00 pm LUNCH and TALK with Zoughbi Zoughbi (director of Wi’am – Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center) and Usama Al-Zoughbi (Youth Project Leader)
  • 3:00 pm TALK with Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh (Bethlehem University) and Abdelfattah Abusrour (Alrowwad General Manager) at Alrowwad Center
  • 5:00 pm Cléa Thouin (Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association) presentation at hotel
  • 7:00 pm REFLECTION at hotel (afterwards drive to dinner)
  • 8:30 pm DINNER with Dabka Dancing at Grotto Restaurant with Bethlehem students and community members

Sunday – September 4th


  • 8:00 am Leave hotel
  • 8:30 am STRATEGIC TOUR with Danny Tirza (architect of the barrier between Israel and the West Bank) –including Rachel’s tomb and Gilo
  • 12:00 LUNCH
  • 1:30 pm TALK and TOUR of East-Jerusalem with Jessica Montell (Executive Director, B’Tselem) including Sheik Jarah and Siluan
  • 3:30 pm MEETING with Forsan Hussein (CEO, YMCA Jerusalem)
  • 5:00 pm Meeting with Naftali Balanson (Managing Editor, NGO Monitor
  • 7:00 pm Meeting with Bill Van Esveld (Analyst, Human Rights Watch)
  • 8:30 pm Dinner in West-Jerusalem
  • 10:00 pm leaving for Bethlehem

Monday – September 5th

Hebron, Ariel

  • 8:30 am TRAVEL to Hebron
  • 9:30 am TALK and TOUR with Noam Arnon (Spokesperson Jewish Community)
  • 11:00 am TALK and TOUR of Hebron City Center with Walid S. Abu-Alhalaweh (PR Director, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee) with following lunch and walk-through city
  • 1:30 pm Drive to Ariel
  • 3:30 pm Short Tour of Ariel with Avi Zimmerman (Director, American Friends of Ariel)
  • 4:30 pm Meeting with Ron Nachman (Mayor of Ariel)
  • 6:00 pm TALK by Eldad Halachmi (VP Resource Development of Ariel University Center) followed by discussion with University Students (with dinner)
  • 7:00 pm TALK with Rabbi Itzik (Evacuee/Settler from Gaza (Gush Kativ)
  • 8:00 pm Leave for Bethlehem (REFLECTION on BUS)
  • 9:30 pm Arrival in Bethlehem

Tuesday – September 6th

Travel to Jordan

  • 7:00 am TRAVEL to Border
  • 8:00 am CROSSING to Jordan through King Hussein/Allenby Crossing (3 hours)
  • 11:00 am Travel to Dead Sea
  • 12:00 noon Lunch at Dead Sea
  • 1:00 pm Spending RELAXING TIME at the Dead Sea
  • 5:00 pm Travel to Amman
  • 6:00 pm Check into Hotel in Amman (Toledo Hotel)
  • 7:30 pm TALK with Dr. Kamal Abu Jaber (former minister of foreign affairs and economy, director of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies) following dinner
  • 10:00 pm (optional) Nightlife experience

Wednesday – September 7th


  • 9:00 am Visit of Wehdat Refugee Camp in Amman
  • 11:30 am MEETING at the Royal Club with HRH Prince El-Hassan bin Talaal (brother of King Hussein and former Crown-Prince) and Senator Akel Biltaji (Chairman of the Tourism and Heritage Committee and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee)
  • 2:30 pm Lunch with Majali family (prominent Bedouin Family) at Alayasel Equestrian Club
  • 4:00 pm TALK by Nura Sharrab (UNRWA representative)
  • 5:30 pm PANEL DISCUSSION on reforms in Jordan with Hisham Majali (Bedouin), Dima Subeih  (Palestinian-Jordanian) and Omar Rafaei (Badia Fund)
  • 7:00 pm REFLECTION on bus
  • 8:30 pm DINNER at the home of the Al-Sharif family in Amman (relatives of student)

Thursday – September 8th


  • 8:30 am Breakfast with Dr. Abdul Malik Al-Jaber (COO Zain Group, member of the board of the World Economic Forum) at his home in Amman
  • 11:00 am Leave Amman
  • 1:00 pm Cross border at King Hussein Bridge (Allenby) (4 hours)
  • 7:00 pm Check into Hotel in Nazareth Illit (The Plaza Hotel)
  • 7:30 pm DINNER in Nazareth with Afifi family members
  • 9:30 pm Going out in Nazareth (optional)

Friday – September 9th


  • 8:30 am TRAVEL to Jenin
  • 10 am TALK with Mohammad Sayyed (Popular Committee of Service – Jenin Camp) at Jenin refugee camp
  • 11:00 am TALK with Mohammad Sbiehat (Fatah Higher Council member, Jenin)
  • 12:00 noon TOUR of refugee camp
  • 1 pm Leaving Jenin (early closure of checkpoint)
  • 2:00 pm Lunch in Hadera
  • 3:30 pm REFLECTION at hotel in Nazareth Illit
  • 5:00 pm MEETING with Mohammad Darwashe (Co-executive director, Abraham Fund Initiatives) at hotel
  • FREE EVENING with optional Sabbath dinner

Saturday – September 10th

Tour of Golan

  • TOUR of Galilee and Golan with Colonel (ret.) Ron Schatzberg
  • Visit Majdal Shams (Druze village) and TALK with Dr. Taiseer Maray (general director, Golan for Development).
  • 6:00 pm TALK with Afif Afifi (Afifi Group) and following dinner in Nazareth
  • 9 pm Leave for Haifa (check in Hotel at 10:30 pm)
  • (optional) Nightlife experience in Haifa

Sunday – September 11th


  •  9:00 am MEETING with Dr. Daniel Orenstein (Professor for Urban and Regional Studies, Technion/ Arava Institute), Dr. Daniel Czamanski (Dean, Center for Urban and Regional Studies) and students at Technion campus
  • 11:00 am Leave for cemetery
  • 12:00 noon TOUR of terror victim burial site (near Haifa) with Yossi Zur and Ron Kehrmann, whose children died in a suicide attack on a Bus in Haifa
  • 1:00 pm LUNCH at Maxim restaurant in Haifa, a joint Arab-Israeli owned restaurant attacked by suicide bomber, TALK with Tony Mattar (co-owner)
  • 2:00 pm Leaving for Qalqilia (LUNCH on the way)
  • 3:00 pm TOUR with Nedal Jaloud (PR Officer, Qalqilia Municipality)
  • 4:00 pm Meeting with young musicians and artists Samir EnayaSajed Abu-Ulbeh and Mahde Albaz, at Qalqilia Zoo
  • 5:00 pm Leave for Tel Aviv (REFLECTION in bus)
  • 6:00 pm Check into Hotel (Marina Hotel)
  • 6:30 pm TALK with Eran Shayshon (Analyst Team Leader, Reut Institute)
  • 7:30 pm TALK with Professor Galia Golan (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), founder/member Peace Now, Meretz Party Executive)
  • 9:00 pm Dinner in Tel Aviv/Jaffa

Monday – September 12th

Tel Aviv/Jaffa

  • 9:00 pm TALK with Gilead Sher (former Israeli Chief Negotiator) at hotel
  • 4:30 pm TALK with Dr. Yossi Beilin (former MK and Israeli justice minister) at hotel
  • 6:30 pm TALK with Dimi Reider (co-founder and editor +972 Magazine)
  • 8 pm DINNER at the home of Amanda Ronson in Herzliya Pituach with guests (Tamar Pross, documentary film-maker of Gilad Shalit documentary; Doron Von Beider, local architect and Mira Awad, actress in the TV series Arab Labor).
  • 11 pm (optional) Nightlife experience

Tuesday – September 13th


——– Program was changed because of security situation in South Israel ———



  • 8:30 am Leave hotel
  • 9 am MEETING/TOUR with Ifat Morad (Director of Development, NATAL Trauma Center) at the NATAL center in Tel Aviv
  • 10:30 TAK with Tania Hary (Director of International Relations, GISHA)
  • 12 noon TALK with Noam Bedein (Director, Sderot Media Center)
  • 1:00 pm LUNCH
  • 1:30 pm TALK with Avi Nudelman (CEO of the Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
  • 3:00 pm Leaving for Jerusalem
  • 4:30 pm MEETING with Gal Sitty (campaign manager “Free Gilad Shalit Campaign”) and the mother (Aviva) of Gilad Shalit (IDF soldier who was held captive by Hamas in Gaza)
  • 6:00 pm Check into Lutheran Guesthouse (in Jerusalem)
  • 7:00 pm REFELECTIONS

Wednesday – September 14th:

  • 9 am TALK with Ruben Steward (Access Coordinator, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) at OCHA offices in Jerusalem
  • 10 am TRAVEL to Ramallah
  • 11:30 am TOUR of Diplomatic Complex development near Ramallah (one of the many new construction sites)
  • 12:30 am TOUR of Mukata – Palestinian Governmental Complex
  • 1 pm LUNCH with Pal idea group (
  • 2 pm OPEN TOUR of Ramallah (downtown)
  • 3 pm TALK with Nabil Shaath (former first PA foreign minister and acting Prime minister, Palestinian chief negotiator, member Fatah Central Committee)
  • 5:00 pm TALK with Basel Mansour (Bi’lin Popular Committee Against the War & Settlements)
  • 6:30 pm SHORT TOUR with Antonio Galli (USAID)
  • 7:00 pm Leave for Jerusalem (with some Reflection on bus)

Thursday – September 15th


  • 7 am Tour of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque with Waqf representative
  • 8:30 am Leaving for Ramallah
  • 10 am TALK with Munib R. Masri (businessman, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and former Jordanian Cabinet Minister)
  • 11:30 am leave for Knesset
  • 1:00 pm TALK and Tour of Knesset with MK Dr. Einat Wilf (serves on Foreign Affairs and Defense, Education, and House committees)
  • 3 pm TALK with Mark Regev (spokesperson for the Israeli prime ministerat Knesset
  • 5 pm MEETING with Mark Sloman (The Israel Project) at YMCA
  • 6:30 DINNER at YMCA with TALK Sonya van Osch (HelpAge International, works on a project with elderly in Gaza)
  • 7:30 pm MEETING with Rami Elchanan and Aisha Aqtam from the Parents Circle at YMCA with following REFLECTION

Friday – September 16th


  • 9:00 am MEETING with Fr. Humam Khzouz (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)
  • 10:00 am TALK by IDF Soldier (former UCSC student)
  • 10:30 am Tour of Yad Vashem – Holocaust Memorial
  • 1 am LUNCH at Yad Vashem (optional Friday prayer for Muslim students)
  • 2:30 pm Meeting with Awad Duaibes (Political and Media Advisor) and Ruti Winterstein (Political and Press Advisor) for the Quartet on the Middle East
  • 5:00 pm TOUR of Western Wall with Rabbi Mottle Wolfe (Isralight)
  • 7:30 pm Sabbath Dinner with Rabbi David Aaron and Rabbi Mottle Wolfe and his family at Isralight Center near the Kotel

Saturday – September 17th

Jerusalem – Reflection

  • 8 am Optional Morning tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
  • 3 pm FINAL OTI REFLECTION in the garden of the Lutheran Guesthouse
  • 7:30 pm Goodbye Dinner (after Sabbath ends)
  • 8:30 pm Drive to Tel Aviv Airport

Flight leaves at 11:55 pm (arrival in LAX at 12:50 pm on September 18th)