About the Initiative
The Peace & Dialogue Leadership Initiative (PDLI), formerly known as the Ivy Plus Leadership Mission (IPLM), is a student-run program that offers outstanding college students an opportunity to gain a significantly more nuanced understanding of the situation on the ground in Israel and the Middle East. The program will be running a 12-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories in the spring of 2018. In past years, participating schools have included Yale University, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, and the U.S. Naval Academy.
The trip is scheduled to take place during Spring Break in March 2018, and it will be led by student coordinators from participating schools as well as Lieutenant Colonel Charles Faint and Professor Ruth Beitler from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
What to expect
An unbelievable, intense, and endlessly fascinating experience. You will get the chance to form relationships with top civilian and military students as well as the most relevant leaders in business, science, journalism, academics, and politics in Israel and Palestine. One day might transition from a meeting with a member of the Israeli cabinet, to a lunch with a Palestinian professor, to an evening spent exploring the nightlife of Tel Aviv. While this is certainly not, by any stretch of the imagination, a vacation and we expect participants to fully engage with all substantive activities, the trip will also include enough time to explore the many beautiful and exciting parts of the region. Students will be able to enjoy local cuisine, a day spent on the beach, and the breathtaking, historical sites of Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and the Galilee.
The trip will begin with a one-day conference in New York City during which participants will meet with leading American policymakers. The group will then depart together to Israel for ten days. Past events and speakers have included:
Students’ safety is of paramount concern, and we do not expect any problems. We will be working closely with all necessary bodies on the ground in order to ensure that the trip runs smoothly and safely. We have hired an experienced travel agency that has run countless such trips in recent years and will be able to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken. We are also in close contact with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and, should safety concerns arise, we will immediately notify all participants. In the event of the trip’s cancellation, all costs will be refunded.
Requirements and Expectations
We are looking for students who have demonstrated significant leadership on campus in their respective fields of interest and who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit Israel.
Applicants do not need to have any background in international relations or in the Middle East in order to apply. In fact, we are looking for a diversity of backgrounds including the arts, science, business, the humanities, various interest groups, and political persuasions. Applicants do have to be interested in learning about the issues surrounding Israel and the region at large, as well as thinking about the role that the U.S. should play there. Whatever your background, there will always be a way to connect your personal interests with the many different aspects of Israel and the Palestinian Territories that we’ll be addressing.
Preference will be given to sophomores and juniors, due to the expectation that they can remain involved in the initiative upon their return to campus. However, exceptional freshmen and seniors who will be continuing their education immediately post-graduation will also be considered.
Funding and Trip Costs
Students are expected to contribute approximately $450 to cover part of the expenses of the trip, all other costs will be covered by the program.
In addition, a $150 deposit is required, which will be returned at the end of the trip, once all responsibilities have been fulfilled.
Lack of funds should not preclude any qualified student from participating. If these costs are too great, please let us know and we will work with you to make sure that you can still join us.
Various foundations and individual donors fund the bulk of the initiative.
This initiative goes beyond most student-led trips. By signing on, students are committing to fulfill all expectations that are outlined here. PDLI will provide a significant amount of resources (ideas, logistical support, and financial support when necessary) in order to help students accomplish these goals.
There will be a number of readings and on-campus meetings prior to the trip in which all students are expected to participate. Admitted students who insufficiently prepare will not be eligible to join the trip.
Participants are expected to discuss the trip on an official trip blog and/or in an outlet of their choice. This can take the form of a series of photos with short descriptions, free-form blog posts describing their thoughts, or longer form essays in publications ranging from blogs to campus newspapers to national news outlets.
Since one of the main purposes of this initiative is to encourage a conversation on campus related to the US role in the Middle East, students will be expected to work together to organize events or dinners with the wider student body on issues related to Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and the United States' role in the region.
At the end of the day, this initiative was formed to help participants form relationships with one another and to encourage the discussion of issues and ideas that we think are absolutely vital in today’s globalized world. So if you have any other ideas or suggestions for how to achieve this, we look forward to hearing them and to helping in any way we can.