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Center for Middle East Studies


Center for Middle East Studies

Partnerships & Programs

June 2017 Trip

The Center for Middle East Studies, in partnership with Mejdi Tours in Jerusalem and St. Norbert College, organizes an annual trip to Israel and the West Bank for graduate students.

The context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that often dominates news cycles, but this incredibly complex situation cannot be understood fully without a deep-dive into understanding the historical context of the area, and particularly the influence that religion has had on the people in the land. This program aims to provide the opportunity for an in-depth study of the history and culture of those living on one of the globe's most contested lands.

Spend two weeks meeting with NGO's, politicians, activists, community groups, artists, writers, university students, interfaith groups and more to better understand the work being done on the ground. Spend two nights in the home of a Palestinian family living in the West Bank. Travel with one of the most highly regarded and locally grown tour companies in the region, and hear from expert guides from multiple faith and ethnic backgrounds. This is an incredibly rich and substantive trip to the Holy Land.

Reflections from past program participants: 

"Before leaving for the Israel and West Bank trip, I expected it to be a fun and educational way to dive into the Middle East. However, I could not have anticipated how formative those two weeks would turn out to be. Every day was packed with unique opportunities and experiences; every person we met brought a new narrative to light; every place we visited illustrated the complex history of the region. I learned how to challenge my own assumptions as well as the opinions of others with grace and respect, and was constantly reminded how important it is to know where someone stands before judging their perspective."

— Shannon Payne, MA Candidate ('19), Josef Korbel School of International Studies

"In all the years that I have been studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and in the 27 years that I have been teaching that history here at St. Norbert College, and in all the years I have been reading about this subject and traveling in the Middle East or living in the Middle East, I don't think I have ever come across a better way of coming to some understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than the trip that we took in May. My impression is more than simply positive.... No other tour experience is going to give you these kinds of entrees into different points of view or this kind of access."

—Robert Kramer, Professor of Middle East History, St. Norbert College

Watch the video below for more information on Mejdi Tours and its founder, Aziz Abu Sarah.

On this page you will find all relevant information regarding eligibility requirements, the application process, course requirements, and the trip itinerary. For questions regarding this program, please reach out to Gina Jannone.

Partial funding for this program is provided thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. 


  • Must be a graduate-level student in the Josef Korbel School
    • 4+1 students are eligible
    • Students graduating in June 2020 are eligible
  • Completion of INTS 4649: Human Rights in the Middle East in Winter 2019 either for credit or for audit (please contact Gina Jannone for special arrangements)
  • Must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Must be in good academic standing 


The application will be two-part:

  • A 500 word statement about why you'd like to participate in this program, and how it will help your academic and professional endeavors 
  • A copy of your transcript (official or unofficial is acceptable)
  • $200 application fee (Check made out to the University of Denver) can be dropped off to Gina Jannone in Sie Complex 3033. This application fee is due by the final application deadline (February 1, 2020) and will be refunded in full if you aren't selected for the trip. This fee will be your first deposit towards the overall program fee. 

E-mail materials to Gina Jannone with the subject "[last name] Israel-Palestine Application" 



The cost of this trip will be partially funded thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor in order to ease the financial burden placed on students. Each qualfying student will receive a $2,000 waiver to offset the cost of the overall program. 

A tentative cost breakdown is as follows:

Airfare           $1,600
Program fee*  $3,400
Scholarship    ($2,000)
Total              $3,000

*The program fee includes most meals, hotel lodging, transportation, site, guide, and speaker fees.


Students accepted to the trip are strongly encouraged to enroll in INTS 4649: Human Rights in the Middle East during the winter quarter, taught by Professor Micheline Ishay.

Students who are not able to fit this course into their program for credit can audit the class with permission. If you require additional accommodations regarding coursework, please reach out to Gina Jannone or Micheline Ishay to discuss options.


Cities/regions on the itinerary include:

  • Jerusalem
  • Bethlehem
  • Ramallah
  • Nazareth
  • Tiberius
  • Golan Heights
  • Jaffa
  • Tel Aviv

Sites and activities on the itinerary include:

  • Mount of Olives
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Shabbat dinner
  • Kotel Tunnels
  • The Knesset
  • Supreme Court
  • Temple Mount
  • Dead Sea
  • Yad Vashem
  • Israel Museum
  • Masada
  • Tent of Nations
  • Aida Refugee Camp
  • Walled Off Hotel
  • Church of Annunciation
  • White Mosque
  • Sea of Galilee
  • Mount Bental
  • Rabin Square

Student participants discuss their experiences