Israel/Palestine 2015

The Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution

Reflective Practice in Israel/Palestine

CONF 620/695/385

3 Credits   January 7 – January 15, 2015   

Price: $3,890 


Please email the following items to Michelle Everson at in one single PDF file containing all application materials. The title of this document should be your first and last names (example: “John Smith.pdf”). Your name should appear on each page of your application.

  1. Your resume (maximum one page)
  2. A letter of interest explaining why the trip is important to you and your qualifications for participating in an advanced practice course in a conflict zone (maximum one page)
  3. Contact information for two references (name, position, email address, and relationship to you); please note that we will get in touch with you prior to contacting your references

Description: The Israel/Palestine Seminar is a chance for students to be part of an on-going peace-building intervention between Palestinians and Israelis incorporating people at all levels of society.  As they engage in this experience, students will be given the chance to reflect on what it means to be a practitioner and encounter the integration of theory, research, and practice.  Dr. Marc Gopin, who has been working in the region for almost 30 years, will lead the course, along with Aziz Abu Sarah, a National Geographic Explorer and TED Fellow.

The course takes place in an environment that becomes practice and reflection the moment one enters the region.  The study and engagements are all in the shadow of a paradoxical combination of wonderful hospitality, fascinating people, and a complicated and intense environment. There is a need to measure one’s every word and action in order to honor and reflect in conflict, as well effectively practice citizen diplomacy and peace-building. Before, during, and after this trip the student experiences reflective practice at every moment, and the assignments are geared in this way precisely.

The model is a combination of intensive classroom study, speakers from the local region, touring of famous holy sites, extensive field experience engaging communities across the spectrum of Israel and Palestine day and night, combined with preparation meetings and follow up meetings. This experience will be an integration of new theoretical approaches to peace-building in a uniquely intractable conflict where CRDC has innovated a direct intervention of social justice practice, study, and engagement.

The course has been carefully engineered to support directly agents of change, peacemakers, and socially responsible small businesses.  The student is immediately experiencing, participating in and observing a direct intervention in which the course itself is a device to aid the lives and livelihoods of poor change agents, both nonprofit and for profit, Palestinian and Jewish. In addition, the seminar and its experiences are fundamentally a dual narrative approach to understanding the reality on the ground. Every day of the seminar will involve study and field work on both sides of the border with Palestinians and Israeli Jews. The method of intervention is utterly new in its combination of nonprofit, for profit, social justice and conflict resolution, and begs for the evolution of theory and research from the students.

Eligibility: Reflective Practice in Israel/Palestine is open to all Mason and non-Mason undergraduates, graduates, and PhD students as a 3 credit course and to non-students as a professional development seminar.  Mason students can take the course as CONF 620, 695, or 385.  Those who have taken 620 can receive credit for CONF 695 instead. (Other options may be available – check with your advisor or email Program fee: The course fee of $3,890 covers 3 credits, triple-occupancy hotel rooms for 8 nights, 2 meals per day, in-country ground transportation, cultural excursions, entrance fees, and course trainers’ and speakers costs’.  The program fee does not include airfare.

Please note: The dates listed above are the actual days that the program takes place.  You will need to leave the United States on January 6th in order to arrive in Israel/Palestine by January 7th.

Dr. Marc Gopin is the James H. Laue Professor of Religion, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution, and the Director of the Center on Religion, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Dr. Gopin has lectured on conflict resolution in Switzerland, Ireland, India, Italy, and Israel, as well as at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, and numerous other academic institutions. Dr. Gopin has trained thousands of people worldwide in peacemaking strategies for complex conflicts in which religion and culture play a role. He has engaged in back channel diplomacy with religious, political and military figures on both sides of conflicts, especially in the Arab/Israeli conflict. He has appeared on numerous media outlets, including CNN, CNN International, Court TV, The Jim Lehrer News Hour, Israel Radio, National Public Radio, The Connection, Voice of America, and the national public radios of Sweden, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. Dr. Gopin’s research is found in numerous book chapters and journal articles, and he is the author of Between Eden and Armageddon: The Future of World Religions, Violence and Peacemaking (Oxford University Press, 2000);  Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East (Oxford University Press, 2002), a study on what was missing from the Oslo Process, and what will be necessary culturally for a successful Arab/Israeli peace process; Healing the Heart of Conflict (Rodale Press, 2004); and To Make the Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy in an Age of Religious Militancy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009).

Questions?  Please email Michelle Everson at or call (703) 993-4473