Israel Palestine 2014



Study abroad in Israel/Palestine with CRDC and National Geographic Explorers!

January 8th – 16th, 2014

Israel Palestine Banner 1The Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution is pleased to announce an exciting new class in collaboration with National Geographic Explorers.

In 2014, for the first time ever, our annual trip to Israel and Palestine will feature National Geographic Explorers as guest lecturers on this unique study abroad experience. Students who participate in the course can receive credit for conflict resolution, sociology, anthropology, political science, or biology electives.

Previously “Reflective Practice in Israel/Palestine,” this seminar will once again be led by CRDC’s director, Dr. Marc Gopin, and will give students the opportunity to be part of an on-going peacebuilding intervention between Palestinians and Israelis, incorporating people at all levels of society. As they engage in this experience, students will reflect on what it means to be a practitioner and encounter the integration of theory, research, and practice.

Israel Palestine 2014 - Banner

As part of our new course, students will also examine conflict resolution through the lens of social change. Three National Geographic Explorers will join the class to present diverse perspectives on change at both the micro and macro levels.

Marc GopinDr. Marc Gopin, will serve as instructor for the course.  Gopin, the founding director of CRDC, will discuss the role of religion in conflict resolution and the methodologies of engaging in reflective practice and social change. Dr. Gopin has been working in the region for nearly 30 years and has trained thousands of people worldwide in peacemaking strategies for complex conflicts in which religion and culture play a role.
Aziz Abu Sarah - National Geographic - 9.17.13Aziz Abu Sarah, a National Geographic Explorer and Executive Director of CRDC, will discuss the role of business can play in social change, and guide students as they visit local businesses involved in social change initiatives. As part of this module, students will also attend a panel discussion on business approaches to conflict resolution.
Iain CouzinDr. Iain Couzin, an expert on collective animal behavior at Princeton University and a National Geographic explorer, will discuss biology and social change, drawing links between his research on collective animal behavior and the way that we as humans behave as groups in society.
Beverly GoodmanDr. Beverly Goodman, a marine archaeologist from the University of Haifa and National Geographic Explorer, will guide students on a visit to Caesarea Maritima, an ancient seaport home to submerged ruins and a Roman shipwreck. Dr. Goodman will discuss both the role of archaeology in social change and conflicts that often arise over archaeological sites.

Israel Palestine 2014 - BannerThis course combines intensive classroom study, speakers from the local region, visiting holy sites, and extensive field experience, engaging with the communities of Israel and Palestine day and night. Students will meet with organizations involved in social change and conflict resolution, including the Parents’ Circle, Combatants for Peace, +972 Magazine, Sikkuy, and others. Field trips will take participants to the Church of the Nativity, the Western Wall, Jerusalem’s Old City, and a Palestinian refugee camp, in addition to time spent in Ramallah, Tel Aviv, and Bethlehem.

This experience is an integration of new theoretical approaches to peacebuilding 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 lives and livelihoods.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Social Change represents a new kind of study abroad, drawing from the expertise of National Geographic Explorers who are pioneers in their fields and uniquely qualified to analyze social change across the spectrum of their ideas and experiences. If you’d like to learn more about the course and how it might fit into your plan of study, please contact Michelle Everson at

This class is open to undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. students from any university and to non-students as a professional development seminar. To apply, please email the following items to Michelle Everson by November 25, 2013:

1. Your resume
2. A letter explaining your interest in the class and your qualifications for participating in an advanced practice course in a conflict zone
3. Contact information for two references

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 – please check with your advisor.)

The course is also available as an elective to fulfill requirements in political science, sociology, anthropology, and biology. If you are interested in using the class as an elective in a department not listed above, please email Michelle Everson at, and we will work with you to see how this course can fulfill requirements at your university.

Program Fee: The course fee of $3,795 covers 3 credits, double-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.