The purpose of the trip is to look at the three religious traditions of this highly contested region of the world to see how they underpin today's conflict, but also how they might contribute to its resolution.
It was the highlight of my time at the LSE.
Throughout the week-long trip we visit the sites of sacred significance to the three Abrahamic faiths and we meet groups and individuals from all sides to hear their perspectives and to learn what they ae doing to work for peace. We meet and are hosted by Israelis and Palestinians, Muslims, Christians and Jews. We hear starkly different perspectives and see challenging things which we discuss in groups each day. Students are left to make up their own minds and are asked only to participate with openness and a desire to learn from those seeking reconciliation and justice.
Highlights from previous trips (subject to change):
- Key sites in Jerusalem including the Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa
- Synagogue visit and Shabbat meal with Jewish families
- Overnight stay in Bethlehem with Palestinian families and visit to Aida refugee camp
- Visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial
- Key sites in Nazareth including Galilee, Church of the Annunciation, the tomb of Maimonides and the White Mosque
- Meeting with officials at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv
- Meetings with peace activists and campaigners of different faiths
In a week, I had seen more than I had in 19 years visiting with my family!
We are tremendously grateful to the Pears Foundation and the Office for Students for their funding which has allowed these trips to take place, and to the Jerusalem Center for Interreligious Encounter who have worked with us to plan the trip itinerary.
The criteria on which we have selected applicants include:
- A clear interest in religion and its impact on the world today
- Active involvement in your religious (or other) community
- A demonstrated commitment to reconciliation and conflict resolution work
- A readiness to engage in further interfaith activities
My time in the holy land was the best trip I have ever had in my life. I learnt so much about different religions, different people and the potential for reconciliation.