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Academic Field Trips
Due to the dynamic character of the Middle East and our intention to focus on the current issues, the field trips for each program may vary and will only be finalized closer to the beginning of the course.As a reference only, participants may refer to the following sample itinerary or to last yearís itinerary.
Please note that, for the summer program, field trips are split between both CME courses. For custom programs, field trips may be adapted to suit the needs of different institutions and organizations.
Introduction: Context and Perspectives
Introductory Session: “Coexistence at the meeting point of people, religions and civilizations.” Analysis of a reality comprising different viewpoints based on different justifications, such as religion, history, international law, security, human rights and geopolitical, social and religious aspects.
Photo: Jerusalem’s Old City
Status Quo and Dimensions
Visit the security barrier between Israel and the West Bank. Study its impact and significance from the Israeli and Palestinian points of view, including a visit to Tzur Igal, a Jewish village located next to Kalkilya, a Palestinian city. Presentation of the dilemmas that have arisen as a result of the construction and outline of the fence.
Panoramic view of the narrowest part of the State of Israel. Discussion on the strategic problem of territorial depth. Visit to Kfar Saba, a typical Israeli town, and a reflection of the normality of life in a country that has suffered terrorist attacks and multiple wars.
Photo: Inspection point between the West Bank and Israel
Jerusalem: Center of Three Monotheistic Faiths
Analysis of relations between Christians, Jews and Muslims in the "Holy Land".
Visit to holy sites in Jerusalem. Panoramic view from the Mount of Olives. Walk through the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Visit the Temple Mount, home of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the holiest place for Judaism and third in importance for Islam. Tour the Jewish Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Arab Market.
Meeting with a Christian priest who will share his views on coexistence from a Christian perspective.
Photo: Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Nationalism and the Creation of the State of Israel
Examination of the rise of nationalist movements and in particular Zionism, which brought about the creation of the State of Israel.
Visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum (Yad Vashem). Tour of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI). Analysis of the importance of the HUJI in the creation and the development of the State of Israel, its role as a coexistence point between Arabs and Jews, and its great contribution to human knowledge.
Visit to a synagogue, where a discussion will be held with a rabbi about the principles and values of Judaism, as well as coexistence from a Jewish perspective.
Photo: Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum
Israel, the Middle East and the International Community
Study of the modern State of Israel and the challenges emerging from its self-definition as Jewish and democratic in a region occupied by Arab and Muslim states with non-democratic governments.
Visit to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a meeting with diplomatic officials, who will address the following Issues: relations between Israel and the international community; the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear program; the importance of the media and its impact on the conflict.
Discussion panel on the vision of the State of Israel and its future, with participants from several political parties and sectors of Israel’s population.
Photo: Lecture at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Peace Process: Proposals and Obstacles
Analysis of the peace process and its challenges.
Presentation of “The Geneva Initiative”, a Palestinian-Israeli proposal for the resolution of the conflict, in contrast to the actual situation. Meeting with Palestinian and Israeli members of the initiative.
Observation and analysis of Jerusalem’s suburbs and Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as well as in the Old City and East Jerusalem.
Photo: View of Ramallah and Jewish settlements.
Syria, the Golan Heights and the Galilee
Analysis of the conflict between Israel and Syria. Visit to the Golan Heights, a key strategic territory for both countries, due to its military importance and its being a major water source.
Study of the origins of Christianity. Visit to the Galilee, cradle of the Christian religion. Tour of Nazareth, where Jesus was raised, a city which today has an Arab majority. Visit to the Basilica of the Annunciation and Saint Joseph Church; the Jordan River, where Jesus’ baptism took place; the Shrine of the Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount; and the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus was said to have walked on water.
Photo: Sea of Galilee
Hezbollah and Iranís Influence in Lebanon
Examination of Islamic fundamentalism after the second Lebanon War, within the context of the Hezbollah and Iran's and Syria's in Lebanon. Visit to Israel's northern border and areas that were bombed during the war. Meeting with government officials and civilian population in Kiryat Shmona, the most northern city in Israel.
Study of the role of young people in Israel today. Visit to a military base in Israel, including a meeting with young, university age soldiers. Presentation of volunteer projects created by university students for the development of conflict zones and the integration of different sectors of the population. Reflection on the role of youth in the shaping of a country.
Photo: Encounter with soldiers at an Army Base
Arab Population and Islam
Analysis of the situation of the Arab minority followed by a presentation of the identity dilemmas resulting from being Muslim, Palestinian, part of the Arab nation and having Israeli citizenship.
Visits to Arab towns and encounters with the civilian population. Meeting students and professors at a Muslim educational institution. Typical Arab meal and a meeting with Arab authorities.
Visit to a Mosque and encounter with an Imam, who will explain Islamic principles and values as well as the Islamic vision of coexistence with other religions.
Photo: Arab prayer at Acre’s Great Mosque
Hamas and Gaza’s Disengagement
Analysis of the situation after the unilateral withdrawal from the Jewish settlements in Gaza and the ascent of Hamas to power. Visit to the security barrier around the Gaza strip border.
Visit to the city of Sderot, including a meeting with authorities and local residents living under daily terror. Meeting with Jewish settlers evacuated from Gaza to hear their stories and opinions with regard to possible future evacuations from the West Bank.
Photo: View of Gaza.
Examples of Coexistence
Presentation of different initiatives of the civilian population to promote coexistence and peace in which both Israelis and Palestinians participate, such as youth movements with Arab and Jewish members and educational projects of Jewish students in Arab cities.
Meeting with the Forum of Bereaved Families, an organization whose members are Palestinian and Israelis who have lost children in the conflict, and which promotes dialogue as a solution.
Photo: Arab and Jewish children in the mixed school Kfar Kara.
Peace with Jordan, Massada and the Dead Sea
Assessment of the region’s importance during the great empires' conquests. Study of the rebellions against the Romans, the end of Jewish autonomy and the beginning of the Diaspora.
Visit to the Judean Desert, including a Bedouin welcome and showcase of their nomadic traditions in the desert as well as a camel ride. Overnight in the desert in a Bedouin tent. Ascent to the fortress constructed by Herod on Massada. Observation of the sunrise over the Judean Desert, the Dead Sea and Jordan.
Analysis of relations between Israel and Jordan and the mutual benefits of their peace treaty. Descent to the lowest point on Earth and a swim in the Dead Sea.
Photo: Camel ride in the Judean Desert.
End of program and feedback session.
Closing ceremony and distribution of diplomas.
Photo: Closing ceremony at the International Institute of Leadership