Israel/Palestine 2020

Reflective Practice in Israel/Palestine

CONF 620/695/385

3 Credits   December 30, 2019 – January 7, 2020   

Program Fee: $3,890 

 Click here to see photos from previous classes.

Application deadline: November 1, 2019

All applications are now completed online at

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions about overseas seminars.


The most essential parts of your application on the study abroad website are the resume, letter of interest, and contact information for two references — all of which must be submitted as a single PDF, with your full name on each page of the application. Your application is incomplete and will not be considered for the program if you do not submit this PDF on the MasonAbroad site.

Click here to read a reflective blog post by a student who travelled with us in 2018.

Course Description

The Israel/Palestine seminar is a chance for students to be part of an ongoing peacebuilding 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. Fakhira Halloun will lead the course in collaboration with CRDC’s director, Dr. Marc Gopin, who has been working in the region for almost 30 years.

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.


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. Graduate student can take the course as CONF 620, or 695. Undergraduates will be registered for CONF 385 (other options may be available – check with your advisor or email

Program Fee

The course fee of $3,890 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.

Please note: The dates listed above are the actual days that the program takes place.  You will need to leave the United States by December 29 in order to arrive in Israel/Palestine by December 30. Students are free to arrive early or depart late. Students who arrive before the program starts or stay after the program ends are responsible for their own accommodations and all other expenses associated with independent travel.

Course Instructors

Dr. Fakhira Halloun is a Palestinian citizen of the State of Israel. She has acquired considerable professional experience in conflict transformation and specializes in facilitating dialogues between Jewish and Palestinian groups in a variety of settings. Before pursuing her doctoral studies, she served as a board member of the Mossawa Center (the advocacy center for Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel) and worked for several years at the Center for Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel Her doctoral studies focused on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with specific interest in the Palestinian citizens of Israel and their struggle discourse to achieve their collective rights in Israel. Dr. Halloun is committed to building a shared society for the Palestinian and Jewish communities in Israel, as well as contributing to a better solution for the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. She believes that Palestinian citizens of Israel can play a meaningful role in helping to achieve progress in the relationship between Jews and Palestinians in Palestine-Israel. Dr. Halloun’s Ph.D. studies specialized in ethnic identity, power, and political discourse, examining how they all play a role in intractable conflict.

In 2012 she functioned as a field researcher for a USIP project mapping conflict resolution initiatives in Israel and the West Bank. She was also part of a team that evaluated the USAID People-to-People program in Palestine-Israel.

Dr. Halloun worked from 2012 to 2015 as the Washington D.C. Coordinator for the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF)-USA, sponsored by the State Department (MEPI). Once a year, this program brought civil and political leaders from countries in the Middle East to the United States for three months to provide them with academic and practical experience in civil society, leadership, and conflict resolution.


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).

Dr. Gopin is the GMU professor of record for this course and will meet with students at the pre-trip and post-trip meetings in Arlington. Dr. Gopin does not travel with students to Israel/Palestine. Lectures in Israel/Palestine are conducted by Dr. Halloun.

Questions?  Read our FAQ and then email Michelle Everson Gentry at