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Olive Tree Initiative

Raised toward our $40,000 Goal
68 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on January 06, at 05:00 PM PST
Project Owners

Olive Tree Initiative


The Olive Tree Initiative is an award winning program that promotes conflict analysis and resolution through rigorous academic preparation, experiential education and leadership development. The OTI model has been life changing for more than 700 program participants who have traveled to conflict regions to engage with a diversity of narratives. The video above attests to the transformative impact that the Olive Tree Initiative has had on our participants to date. 

We need your help to support our mission to provide students, faculty and community participants with the education, training and experiences needed to better understand, negotiate and resolve intractable conflicts.

Last year, through this Challenge Grant, Olive Tree Initiative students raised more than $35,000, which was matched, for a total over $70,000. Once again, Hal Smith and the Kugelman Family are asking OTI Friends to respond to their $35,000 matching challenge! We want to exceed their expectations once again, and help our students who have greater financial need participate in the experience of a lifetime.  


Please consider helping our students reach their goal by contributing to our Fall 2019 Challenge Grant! 


The money we raise will be used to ensure that all of our 2020 student cohort will be suitably provided with materials, resources and subsidies to afford participation in our summer experiential education trips exploring regions of conflict and learning how those skills apply equally to conflicts and “othering” on campus and in our own country.

If we are able to raise the money, more than 50 students will be exposed to narratives surrounding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in Washington, D.C., New York City, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank during meetings with religious leaders, policy makers, community leaders and others. The South Caucasus Chapter will explore the diasporic narratives of Turkish and Armenian communities and organizations. Each of these students will learn how to navigate their experiences through facilitated “reflections” and workshops on hearing the “other” so that they can return to their respective campuses in the Fall with new understandings of how to best navigate conflicts interpersonally, on their campuses, and in the world.

Our students work hard to prepare for their trips, and continue to work hard when they return. Already this Fall, students from last year’s cohort across all campuses have been holding meetings, workshops, “reflections” and study sessions. They have presented their experiences in community presentations in synagogues, mosques and churches, during “Meals with Olives”, and recently participated in a conference in Washington, DC.

Our robust and active OTI Alumni Network continuously promotes open and critical dialogue on university campuses, both at an undergraduate and graduate level - over 60% of alumni go on to pursue M.A.s, J.D.s, or Ph.D.s and others have earned scholarships such as Rhodes, Mitchell, and Fullbright. Alumni also employ their skills of diplomacy in working for the UN, writing for Al-Jazeera, speaking for CNN, and contributing to academic journals. 

The Olive Tree Initiative and our alumni could not have made such an impact without crucial financial support from our donors. Together, we will continue to move Beyond Sound Bites and Stereotypes!


For more information, please visit our website:

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Choose a giving level


Alumni Appreciation

Recent graduates of OTI, pay it forward and help the next generation of Olives!


Associate for Action

A donation of $250 will support community programming to help educate OTI supporters about the Aussies that our students engage with.


Agent for Change

A gift of only $500 will provide transportation across the myriad borders of our immersive education trip.



A single gift of $1,500 will pay for a students airfare to and from the Middle East.



A donation of $2,500 will ensure that a qualified student is able to participate in a life changing experiential education trip.

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