BY SARAH KICK
St. Norbert College has always encouraged students to study abroad and experience new cultures for themselves. To add to the variety of programs one can choose from, the Norman Miller Center for Peace, Justice and Public Understanding and the Leadership Institute is offering a two-week program that allows students to explore Israel and Palestine.
“Students will be able to learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the religious, political and historical narrative on a first-hand basis. Education in classrooms can only go so far, therefore this trip will add the missing part to in-class education about the long disputed land.”explains Fouad AlKhouri ’17, the event organizer and an intern for the Norman Miller Center.
AlKhouri, along with two St. Norbert professors, Dr. Robert Kramer and Dr. Robert Pyne, teamed up with a local partner, Mejdi Tours. Mejdi Tours leads National Geographic tours in these regions and is in charge of showing the students around.
“We helped plan the itinerary, but we rely on their expertise and extensive local knowledge,”said Dr. Pyne.
There will be both Israeli and Palestinian guides from Mejdi Tours, along with many representatives of different perspectives to weigh in and allow the students access to different views. This will help students understand what is going on in the region to allow a cultivating rich narrative.
“Along with our colleagues in International Education, we believe there is no real substitute for seeing places and people with your own eyes,”said Dr. Pyne.
The Israel-Palestine Experience: 2016 is an educational trip.
“Students in theology and religious studies, political science, history or peace and justice will find lots of connections between the experiences of this trip and their subject areas.”said Dr. Pyne.
The trip is not offered as a class at SNC, but it is an experience that students are not offered everyday. The faculty and staff will be eager to help students make connections between their experience and their subject areas in order to relate their major to their experience.
The trip will take place from May 17 to June 2, 2016. It is anticipated that the trip will cost around $2,878 per person. This will include lodging, ground travel, guides, entrance fees and most meals. An additional $800-1,000 will be added for airfare. The deadline to register for the trip is January 17.
The Norman Miller Center has had success in the past while sponsoring trips like this. In 2014, they led a trip to South Africa with students and faculty from the music department. Educational and tourist participation were combined as well as meeting up with students involved in the Zambia project —a true St. Norbert reunion while abroad.
“The South Africa trip was very successful, and we hope to replicate some of the most important elements here, building relationships with people as we hear their stories and learn about their history in the region,”said Dr. Pyne.
For more information about the Israel-Palestine Experience: 2016 and to find out how to reserve a spot on the trip, please visit https://www.mejditours.com/open-tour/the-israel-palestine-experience-2016/.