Meet Our Alumni
Undergraduate Degree Title: MA (Hons) Politics, University of Glasgow
Graduate Education: University of Glasgow, MSc International Relations
Interesting fact about yourself: I grew up in Tanzania and am a trained Tingatinga painter.
When I was selected to participate in the Olive Tree Initiative, I knew that it would impact my life but had no idea how much until now, and probably won’t know the full extent for many years to come.
The experiences and skills I gained from this unique programme has directly shaped my career path in international development and my current academic focus on conflict analysis and early warning. Most of all, it has helped me hone empathy as not only a tool for critical thinking, but also as an everyday practice.
Undergraduate Degree Title: MA History and Politics, University of Glasgow
Graduate Education: MA Modern South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge; DPhil History, University of Oxford
Interesting fact about yourself: I can be uninteresting in four different languages.
To hear testimony on both sides and meet individuals whose lived realities have been shaped by this incredibly challenging environment was a deeply valuable experience. It allowed me to look beyond the ‘side’ which I had previously ascribed to and acknowledge that the history of both groups plays a fundamental role in shaping the conflict today.
Undergraduate Degree Title: MA (Hons) Politics and Economic and Social History
Graduate Education: King’s College London, MA Intelligence & International Security
Interesting fact about yourself: I went to circus school and flew on a flying trapeze in New York
OTI has been, without exception, the best educational experience of my life to date. It incorporates classroom learning with direct experience and has taught me to go beyond my own or others' preconceived ideas or misconceptions. Through OTI I have gained a deeper and more nuanced understanding of complex political realities and the skills to maintain this approach and add immeasurable value to my future work in the field of international relations.
Undergraduate Degree Title: MA (SocSci) History and Politics
Graduate Education: University of St Andrews, MLitt International Security Studies
Current Employment: Mercer UK, Pensions Administrator
Interesting fact about yourself: I spent one year doing voluntary work in Tuscany working as a paramedic assistant on an ambulance.
The combination of academic and experiential learning made OTI one of the most impressive projects I have ever participated in. If I had merely studied the conflict in the classroom, I would have never been able get a sense of what it means to live in a conflict situation. Had I visited Israel and Palestine without the academic preparation, I would not have been able to classify and evaluate my impressions in a meaningful manner.
Undergraduate Degree Title: MA Politics & English Literature
Graduate Education: University of Copenhagen, MA Advanced Migration Studies
Current Employment: Consilium – workshop facilitator; Humanity in Action – 2018 Fellow
Interesting fact about yourself: To escape Copenhagen’s outrageous rent I bought a fishing boat and renovated it after graduating. I sailed to Denmark, a month-long trip, and now live on board close to the city centre.
Not only did this experience transform my understanding of Israeli-Palestinian relations, it had a direct impact on the way I view the world, on my future plans, and led me to understand and engage with my own biases and preconceptions in a way that I've never been challenged to do before.
Undergraduate Degree Title: Politics/Sociology MA(Hons)
Graduate Education: Middle Eastern Studies with Arabic MSc, University of Edinburgh
Interesting fact about yourself: I used to be the drummer of a Grunge band
The Olive Tree Initiative challenged me to critically engage with ideas and perspectives in a way that required in depth reflection on what creates meaning and structure for people, in order to make directly contradictory viewpoints intelligible. Through directly engaging with a wide array of stances I was forced to question and examine my own ideas, and able to gain further understanding of the complexities at hand. The OTI has therefore given me not only skills that have been invaluable for my academic career, but also critical thinking that is applicable elsewhere in my personal and professional life.