The Olive Tree Scholarship Programme
What began as an ambitious idea, materialised and triumphed owing to the far-sightedness of two individuals who were the founding supporters of the Programme - Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, Chairman of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation and Derek Tullett CBE Hon DSc. With their generous support, the Olive Tree Programme has grown its reputation as a unique initiative to support future leaders who wish and want to change the status quo of one of the world's longest standing challenges - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The first Olive Tree Scholars began to study in 2004 and by 2010 a total of 48 scholarships had been awarded across four successive cohorts of students. Initiated originally under the auspices of the Olive Tree Educational Trust, the Olive Tree is now a City, University of London Programme, under the remit of the Vice-Chancellor, and is overseen by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) - Professor Dinos Arcoumanis.
The Director of the Programme is Rosemary Hollis, Professor of Middle East Policy Studies and formerly Director of Research at Chatham House and a specialist on the International Politics of the Middle East. She was appointed to the programme in 2008, since when the programme has also benefited from the expanded involvement of a number of faculty and staff across City.
Scholars of the programme have proved to achieve high marks for their academic work, maturity, exploration of conflict and peace issues, and respect to one another. They have demonstrated how much can be achieved through attention to their individual and group development and growth through the combination of strong academic guidance, a stimulating but carefully paced parallel programme of activities, and incremental exposure to diverse audiences and experiences in London.
The first cohort of Olive Tree Scholars graduated in 2007 with degrees in a range of subjects, including Electrical & Computer Engineering, Journalism, Psychology, Sociology, media and Business. All those who graduated in 2009 attained either first or upper second class honours degrees, in fields including International Politics, Sociology, Engineering, Journalism and Psychology. Similarly all those in the third cohort of Olive Tree scholars who graduated in 2011 attained first or upper seconds - with a record high proportion of firsts. The fourth cohort are now in the third year of their degree programmes at City, studying Business Management, Law, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, International Politics, Sociology and Journalism.
Graduates of the programme to date have proceeded to careers in education, journalism, economic development, human rights, politics, administration, music, business and social work or are undertaking postgraduate studies, including three awarded doctoral scholarships at City.