OLIVE TREE INITIATIVE
With help from the School of Social Sciences' Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, in March 2007, a diverse group of students from Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze and non-religious backgrounds with different perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict founded the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI). Their mission: Gain fact-based knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gained through hands-on experiential learning. Since their first visit to the region in 2008, students and faculty have made yearly trips to engage with local people, academics, politicians, religious authorities, community leaders and others who live in and study the conflicted region. When they return, students share their experiences and insights at forums both on and off campus in synagogues, mosques, churches, community centers, and retirement homes. The program has branched throughout the UC system, resulting in active OTI groups at UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and UCLA with plans in the works at UC campuses in Berkeley, Riverside and San Diego. OTI's efforts to promote peaceful dialogue have been lauded both on the campus and in the wider community. See - olivetreeinitiative.uci.edu for more information.