Middle East




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.


Saturday - August 10th | Get to airport by 9pm

  • 9:00 pm Arrive at LAX


Sunday - August 11th:  Washington DC

  • 10:53 am Arrival at Reagan International Airport
  • 11:45 am Take Taxi to Hotel
  • 12:15 pm Check-in to Hotel
  • 3:30 pm MEET in front of hotel to leave for memorial (taxi)
  • 4:00 pm TOUR of MLK, Jr Memorial with Vice Chancellor Thomas Parham 
  • 6:00 pm Leave for dinner (taxi)
  • 6:30 pm OTI Alumni Dinner
  • 9:00 pm Free Evening


Monday - August 12th:  Washington DC

  • 8:30 am Breakfast
  • 9:30 am Leave for USIP (taxi)
  • 9:45 am Security check-in
  • 10:00 am MEETING at United States Institute of Peace with Maria Jessop (Senior Program Officer, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding) and Peter Weinberger (Senior Program Officer and faculty, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding)
  • 12:00 pm MEETING with Keya Naomi Balasundaram (www.hearbeat.fm) at UCDC Center
  • 1:30 pm Security check-in at the Executive Offices, White House
  • 2:00 pm TALK with Maher Bitar (Director of Israeli-Palestinian Affairs, National Security Council) at the White House Executive Offices
  • 3:30 pm Security check-in US Department of State 
  • 4:00 pm MEETING at Department of State with Michael Yaffe (Deputy U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace) 
  • 5:30 pm TALK with Christopher Preble (Vice President for defense and foreign policy studies) at the CATO Institute 
  • 7:00 pm REFLECTIONS
  • 8:00 pm Free Evening


Tuesday - August 13th: Washington DC/NYC

  • 4:30 am Check-Out of Hotel and go to Airport
  • 6:27 am Flight from DCA to JFK  
  • 7:45 am arrival in JFK
  • 10:00 am- 11:30 am Meeting in New York City or NYC City Tour 
  • Lunch
  • 11:45 am TOUR of the United Nations 
  • 2:30 pm Check-In at United Nations
  • 3:00 pm TALK with Andrew Gilmour (UN Director for Political, Humanitarian, Human Rights, and Peacekeeping Affairs and Senior Advisor to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon) at UN Headquarters
  • 4:00 pm TALK with Dr. David Scharia, (Legal Coordinator of the UN Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) at United Nations
  • 6:00 pm Dinner with reflection
  • 8:00 pm:  Leave for JFK Airport 


Wednesday, August 14th: Jerusalem

  • 5:10 pm | DL 268 Arrive in Ben Gurion airport
  • 9:00 pm Late Dinner with group #1


Thursday, August 15th: Jerusalem and Ramallah

  • 7:30 am Depart for Ramallah
  • 8:30 am Visit of Government compound and Arafat memorial site
  • 9:00 am TALK with Husam Zomlut (Exec. Deputy Commissioner, Fatah Commission for International Relations)
  • 10:30 am TALK with Nabil Shaath (Palestine Liberation Organization)
  • 12:00 pm VISIT Rawabi Development with presentation by Nisreen Shahin (Executive Director, Rawabi Foundation)
  • 1:00 pm TALK with Bashar Masri (Founder and Managing Director of Bayti Real Estate Investment Company - main investor into Rawabi) 
  • 2:00 pm LUNCH and TOUR at Bir-Zeit University with students
  • 4:00 pm TALK with Sam Bahur (Business Entrepreneur) 
  • 6:00 pm TOUR of Ramallah (downtown)
  • 7:00 pm DINNER


Friday, August 16th: Jerusalem

  • 9:00 am TALK with Ray Dalton (Access Coordinator, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) at OCHA offices in Jerusalem
  • 11:00 am TALK with Professor Eyal Naveh (Tel Aviv University, PRIME member)
  • 3:00 pm REFLECTION
  • 6:30 pm VISIT the Western Wall and experience Friday night Shabbat celebration
  • 7:30 pm SHABBAT DINNER with local Jerusalem residents


Saturday, August 17th: Jerusalem

  • 9-12pm Old City Tour
  • 12-5 pm FREE TIME
  • 5:00 - 8:00 pm Final Reflection
  • 8:30 - 10pm DINNER


Sunday, August 18th: Jerusalem and Bethlehem

  • 9:00 am VISIT Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum
  • 12:00 pm TOUR with B’Tselem of barrier and East-Jerusalem and TALK by Jessica Montell (Executive Director)
  • 3:00 pm STRATEGIC TOUR with Col. Danny Tirza (Architect of the barrier between Israel and the West Bank)
  • 5:30 pm TALK with Mark Regev (Spokesperson for Prime Minister)
  • 7:00 pm TALK with Herzl Inbar (former Israeli Ambassador to Argentina, Spain and Andora)
  • 8:30 pm Depart for Bethlehem
  • 9:00 pm Reflection at hotel
  • Free Evening


Monday, August 19th: Bethlehem

  • 8:30 am TOUR of Old Town Bethlehem (Church of Nativity, Mosque of Omar)
  • 10:00 am MEETING with students and faculty at Bethlehem University 
  • 1:00 pm LUNCH and TALK with Zoughbi Zoughbi (Director, Wi’am – Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center) at Wi’am Center 
  • 3:30 pm Tour of Aida Refugee Camp
  • 4:30 pm TALK with Abdelfattah Abusrour (Alrowwad General Manager) at Alrowwad Center in Aida Refugee Camp
  • 6:00 pm REFLECTION at hotel 
  • 8:00 pm DINNER in Bethlehem with host families


Tuesday, August 20th: Hebron and Jerusalem

  • 7:30 am TRAVEL to Hebron
  • 9:00 am Visit Tomb of the Patriarchs
  • 9:30 am TALK and TOUR of Jewish Community of Hebron with David Wilder (Spokesperson, Jewish Community)
  • 11:30 am TALK and TOUR of Hebron City Center with Walid S. Abu-Alhalaweh (PR Director, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee) 
  • 1:00 pm Lunch
  • 1:45 pm TRAVEL on Bus to Jerusalem
  • 3:00 pm TALK with Chaim Gvirtzman (Water expert and Professor at Hebrew University)
  • 5:00 pm Depart for Bethlehem
  • 6:00 pm DINNER and REFLECTION in Bethlehem (last night in Bethlehem)


Wednesday, August 21st: Travel to Jordan

  • 7:00 am Travel to Border Crossing
  • 8:00 am CROSSING to Jordan through King Hussein/Allenby Crossing (3 hours)
  • 11:00 am VISIT Eco-Park and TALK with Friends of Middle East
  • 4:00 Check in hotel
  • 5:30 pm TALK with Noora Sharrab (UNRWA)
  • 7:00 pm Dinner
  • 8:00 pm TALK with Professor Kamal S. Abu Jaber (former Jordan Foreign Minister, Director of Interfaith Institute) 


Thursday, August 22nd: Amman

  • 8:30 am Breakfast Meeting 
  • 11:30 am Visit of Gaza Refugee Camp (Jerash) near Amman – UNRWA school, tour of camp and lunch with local families
  • 3:00 pm Leave camp and drive back to hotel
  • 5:00 pm PANEL DISCUSSION on reforms in Jordan with Hisham Majali (Bedouin) and local business people
  • 7:30 Dinner at hotel
  • 9:30 Movie Screening 


Friday, August 23rd: Amman and Haifa

  • 7:00 am Leave for Holiday Inn Dead Sea Resort
  • 3:00 pm Travel to Border Crossing
  • 5:00 pm Cross Border into Israel
  • 7:00 pm Leave Border Crossing for Haifa (REFLECTION on bus)
  • 8:30 pm Check-in to hotel


Saturday, August 24th: Tour of Golan Heights

  • 8:30 am Depart for Galilee
  • 10:00 am Visit Christian Sites in Galilee
  • 11:00 am TOUR of Galilee and Golan with Colonel (ret.) Ron Schatzberg
  • LATE LUNCH at Majdal Shams (Druze village in Golan)
  • 6:00 pm REFLECTION at hotel


Sunday, August 25th: Haifa

  • 9:00 am Meeting with Daniel Orenstein at Technion with students (role-play)
  • 12:00 pm LUNCH and TALK at Maxim restaurant in Haifa, a joint Arab-Israeli owned with frequent guest that helped to rebuild the restaurant.
  • 1:30 pm Leave for cemetery 
  • 2:00 pm TOUR of terror victim burial site (near Haifa) with Ron Kehrmann, whose daughter died in a suicide attack on a bus in Haifa
  • 3:00 pm Depart for Kibbutz --- spend time their with relaxing and DINNER (plus REFLECTION)
  • Return to Haifa late


Monday, August 26th: Haifa and Nazareth

  • 9:00 am VISIT Baha’i Garden
  • 11:30 am Leaving Haifa for Nazareth
  • 1:00 pm Check in hotel in Nazareth
  • FREE AFTERNOON (optional city tour)
  • 5:30 pm TALK with Mohammad Darwashe (The Abraham Fund Initiative) at Hotel 
  • 7:00 pm REFLECTION
  • 8:30 pm Dinner with locals
  • 9:00 pm (optional) Night tour of Nazareth with Nazareth University students


Tuesday, August 27th: Jenin and Nablus

  • 7:00 am Depart for Nablus
  • 9:00 am Meeting with Munib al-Masri (member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, former Jordanian Cabinet Minister, business man) 
  • 12:00 noon TOUR of Nablus including Knaffe
  • 1:00 pm Leaving for Jenin
  • 2:00 pm MEETING + LATE LUNCH  with Women Cooperative and TALK by Um Emad Abu-Zahra (director) who lost her son Imad Subhi Abu-Zahra (journalist) in an IDF incursion into Jenin
  • 3:30 pm VISIT Freedom Theatre and TALK with Director
  • 4:30 pm MEETING with Palestinian Security Forces
  • 5:30 pm Return to Nazareth 
  • 6:30 pm REFLECTION at hotel and afterwards FREE Evening


Wednesday, August 28th: Bil’in, Ariel

  • 7:30 am Leave Nazareth for Ariel
  • 9:00 am Visit with Yehuda (CEO of Toilet Factory, Ariel Industrial Park and Abed (Palestinian worker in park) in Ariel
  • 10:00 am INTRODUCTION with Avi Zimmerman (Director, American Friends of Ariel) followed by TOUR of Ariel
  • 12:00 pm LUNCH with Families in Ariel 
  • 2:30 pm MEETING with Iyad Burnat (Chairman, Bi’lin Popular Committee Against the War & Settlements)
  • 5:30 pm Leave for Tel Aviv
  • 7:00 pm Arrival in Tel Aviv 
  • 7:30 pm REFLECTION and DINNER 


Thursday, August 29th: Sderot and Tel Aviv

  • 9:00 am Meeting with Yarden Leal (Director, Development and External Relations Department, Peres Center for Peace) at Peres Center in Jaffa
  • 11:00 pm Meeting with Noam Bedein (Sderot Media Center)
  • 12:30 pm Lunch
  • 1:30 pm TALK with Omar Shaban (PalThink), and Residents of Gaza
  • 3:30 pm VISIT and TOUR of Natal (Trauma Center)
  • 5:30 pm TALK with Gerald Steinberg (Executive Director of NGO Monitor)
  • 6:30 pm REFELCTION
  • Free Evening


Friday, August 30th: Tel Aviv

  • 10:00 am TALK with IDF Spokesperson 
  • 12:00 noon TALK with Rony Edry (graphic artists, founder of Israel loves Iran campaign)
  • 5:30 pm Meeting in hotel for REFLECTION
  • Free Evening


Saturday, August 31st: Tel Aviv

  • 9:30 am TALK with Professor Galia Golan (IDC Herzliya, former Knesset member) FREE AFTERNOON/EVENING
  • 4:30 pm TALK with Lydia Ovadia (Iraqi Jewish Refugee) 
  • 8:00 pm Dinner
  • 11:30 pm Depart for Airport