OTI adopts a novel approach to education that is comprised of both classroom and experiential components. In the second semester of the academic year students undertake rigorous academic preparation. Over the course of the module they gain insight into key issues of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict from its origins to the evolution of the conflict and peace process.
As part of the programme students are expected to collectively organise and lead fund-raising activities. In addition to covering their financial contribution to the trip, this offers valuable teambuilding, career and leadership development opportunities. Each year, OTI participants have organised a number of highly successful events.
Building on this foundation, students will travel Israel, Palestine and Jordan during the summer. Over the course of three weeks, we visit key sites and meet with approximately 70 speakers involved in and affected by the conflict. Former speakers have included the spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, representatives of the security forces, the Palestinian Legislative Council, bereaved families, civil society leaders, local residents, journalists, political pollsters and members of the business community, to name a few.
Upon return from the trip, students reflect on and share their experiences. This takes the form of written essays and reflexive pieces, public presentations, engagement with student societies and wider civil society organisations.
Watch this video to see learn about the innovative approach to teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through experiential learning. Hear from students, past and present, about what motivated them to participate, what they have learned and how the University of Glasgow's Olive Tree Initiative impacts their academic, professional and personal lives.
Through the classroom module and fieldwork, students will be able to:
• Demonstrate a conceptual and empirical understanding of the role of narratives in conflict.
• Critically evaluate the role that narratives play in contributing to conflict escalation or resolution with application to their experiences on the field trip.
• Develop a capacity to engage with and challenge their preconceptions in order to expand their worldview by gaining meaningful knowledge through experiential education.
• Contribute to their future employability and personal development through student leadership, engagement with actors in politically sensitive contexts, conflict analysis and resolution skills.
Every year, ten applicants are selected to participate in OTI. In order to be eligible for enrolment, applicants should:
• Enrol in single or joint honours Politics at the University of Glasgow.
• Enter into their junior honours year.
• Demonstrate a strong interest in the region and the conflict as well as good academic performance overall.
• Possess a desire to critically engage with a plurality of worldviews.