The Olive Tree Programme is a unique initiative for young people, Palestinians and Israelis, whose lives have been framed by conflict and whose talents and leadership potential single them out as candidates for an exacting three years of study, reflection, exploration and debate in London.
Those selected (up to ten at a time) receive full scholarships to study for undergraduate degrees at City University London, in a range of subjects including Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, Journalism, Psychology, Business and International Politics. The goal of the programme is to help these young people to become skilled, confident and effective leaders, professionals and 'change agents' in their communities, to mutual benefit.
Through a specially designed parallel programme of creative, intellectual, and cross-cultural activities in England and Ireland, the scholars are encouraged to engage in dialogue across the lines of confrontation and distrust that frame their relations in the Middle East. The intention is to build greater awareness and understanding of the roles of politics, economics, history, identity and religion in sustaining and resolving conflict and to encourage respect and support for the human rights of all the peoples of the region. The programme is also designed to enable students to grapple with the difficult issues that directly affect them, their families and their future prospects in an educational and multicultural setting that is supportive, conducive to intellectual growth and geared to career development.
Beyond their academic studies and their interactions with each other, the scholars and alumni of the programme periodically undertake public speaking engagements to talk about their individual views and their learning in the Olive Tree, as well as briefing policy-makers on the situation on the ground in the Middle East. Both Houses of Parliament, Chatham House, RUSI and the FCO are among the settings in which they have appeared. The programme also serves as a platform for celebrated commentators, journalists and academics to engage a broader student and public audience on Middle Eastern regional politics and developments. At the Olive Tree Middle East Forum such speakers explore behind the headlines, ask the tough questions and challenge conventional wisdom.
If you are interested in learning more about the Olive Tree Programme as a philanthropic endeavour, and/or attending some of the public discussion meetings then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.