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City students address Parliamentarians to encourage peace in the Middle East

Three City University London undergraduates recently addressed the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues (APPGCI) at the House of Commons, offering their visions for creating a lasting peace in Palestine by 2031.
by Ruth Shepherd

The students are all participants in City's Olive Tree Scholarship Programme - a unique initiative for young Palestinians and Israelis, whose lives have been framed by conflict and whose talents and leadership potential single them out as candidates for three years of study (in the discipline of their choice), reflection, exploration and debate in London.

Enass Albittar, Elizabeth Jadon and Eti Shechtman were among five young people representing different sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict at a public event organised by APPGCI to encourage dialogue.

Following an introduction from the group's Chair, Simon Hughes MP, who thanked the Olive Tree Scholarship Programme for being the "genesis of the idea" for the discussion, the students outlined a range of possible routes to peace over the next 20 years to an audience of nearly 200.

Their preferences ranged from a two-state solution - Israel and Palestine - side by side, to a single shared bi-national state. Despite the spectrum of ideas presented, all of the speakers were united in wanting to change the world's view of the region. "I no longer want our people to be defined by this conflict," said Shechtman.

Rosemary Hollis, Professor of Middle East Policy Studies and Director of the Olive Tree Scholarship Programme at City, comments: 'City's Olive Tree Scholars demonstrated a depth of understanding of the conflict and the needs of those involved that can only evolve over time, in an educational setting, away from the conflict zone.'

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