The cornerstone of OTI’s Experiential Education philosophy is travel to the conflict regions participants study. These diplomatic trips, with rigorous pre-education, have become the defining capstone of our organization’s work.
OTI’s trips are unique in that they allow students to actively engage with politicians, community leaders and leading academic experts from all sides of a regional conflict. In addition, students hear from and discuss the perspectives of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), religious leaders, and victims of the conflict, in order to acquire a comprehensive view of the often-difficult reality experienced by people living in the region.
Students raise funds for the trip cooperatively and decide together on a balanced itinerary, spending time in each of the conflict areas (if possible). Crossing physical and psychological borders daily, students are constantly confronted with diverging impressions, narratives and perspectives. Each night the group gathers to discuss, debate and reflect on the day’s experiences. The students return to campus more educated, nuanced and open in their thinking, empowered to catalyze change through education and action.