• About the Initiative

    The Peace & Dialogue Leadership Initiative (PDLI), formerly known as the Ivy Plus Leadership Mission (IPLM), is a student-run program that offers outstanding college students an opportunity to gain a significantly more nuanced understanding of the situation on the ground in Israel and the Middle East. The program will be running a 12-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories in the spring of 2018. In past years, participating schools have included Yale University, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, and the U.S. Naval Academy.


    The trip is scheduled to take place during Spring Break in March 2018, and it will be led by student coordinators from participating schools as well as Lieutenant Colonel Charles Faint and Professor Ruth Beitler from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.


    1. To convey a nuanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the region as a whole by connecting high-level strategic dialogue with realities on the ground,
    2. To provide students with the tools necessary to think about the United States’ proper role in the U.S.-Israel relationship, its role in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, and more broadly, its role in the region,
    3. To foster civil-military understanding and dialogue,
    4. To provide an incisive look into Israeli and Palestinian society, culture, and politics, while simultaneously grappling with the unique security challenges facing both the U.S. and her allies in the region,
    5. To actively foster a community on campus interested in engaging with and discussing these issues.
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

  • What to expect

    An unbelievable, intense, and endlessly fascinating experience. You will get the chance to form relationships with top civilian and military students as well as the most relevant leaders in business, science, journalism, academics, and politics in Israel and Palestine. One day might transition from a meeting with a member of the Israeli cabinet, to a lunch with a Palestinian professor, to an evening spent exploring the nightlife of Tel Aviv. While this is certainly not, by any stretch of the imagination, a vacation and we expect participants to fully engage with all substantive activities, the trip will also include enough time to explore the many beautiful and exciting parts of the region. Students will be able to enjoy local cuisine, a day spent on the beach, and the breathtaking, historical sites of Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and the Galilee.


    The trip will begin with a one-day conference in New York City during which participants will meet with leading American policymakers. The group will then depart together to Israel for ten days. Past events and speakers have included:

    • Salam Fayyad - The former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority
    • Reuben Rivlin – The current President of the State of Israel
    • Rami Hamdallah – The current Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority
    • Riyad Mansour – The current Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations
    • Daniel Shapiro – The former U.S. Ambassador to Israel
    • Ehud Olmert – Former Prime Minister of the State of Israel
    • Natan Sharansky – Former Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Israel and current Chairman of the Jewish Agency
    • Michael Oren – Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and visiting professor at Yale, Harvard, and Georgetown
    • Justice Daphna Barak-Erez – Israel’s youngest female Supreme Court Justice
    • Sabri Saidam  - Minister of Education and Higher Education, Palestinian Authority
    • Einat Wilf - Israeli Politician and member of Independence party
    • Ami Ayalon – Former head of Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency
    • Elias Zananiri – Vice Chairman of the Palestinian Committee for Interaction with the Israeli Society
    • David Keyes – The current spokesperson for Benjamin Netanyahu
    • David Horovitz – Founding Editor of the Times of Israel and former Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post
    • Khaled Abu Toameh – Prominent Arab Israeli journalist, lecturer, and film-maker
    • Jodi Rudoren – Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times
    • Mohammed Dejani – The Founder of the Wasatia movement of moderate Islam and prominent professor and peace activist known for organizing an initiative sending Jewish students to visit Palestinian refugee camps and Palestinian students to visit Auschwitz
    • Yossi Klein Halevi – American-born Israeli journalist, contributing editor of the New Republic, and New York Times bestselling author of Like Dreamers
    • The leadership team of Rawabi – The first Palestinian planned city in the West Bank targeting upwardly mobile families
    • Ronen Ashkenazi – The CEO of Gazit Globe Group, one of the leading global real estate companies in its field


    Students’ safety is of paramount concern, and we do not expect any problems. We will be working closely with all necessary bodies on the ground in order to ensure that the trip runs smoothly and safely. We have hired an experienced travel agency that has run countless such trips in recent years and will be able to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken. We are also in close contact with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and, should safety concerns arise, we will immediately notify all participants. In the event of the trip’s cancellation, all costs will be refunded.

  • Testimonials from past participants


    “While it would take lifetimes to ever fully understand this conflict, PDLI laid the groundwork for approaching the conflict with nuance, compassion, and balance. This program has profoundly impacted my perspective on politics, theology, sociology, history, and international relations. I could not be more grateful for this life-changing opportunity, and I hope to build upon this experience throughout my college career and beyond.” -Yale ‘20


    “PDLI was founded to temper polarized dialogue, promote cross-cultural communication, explore conflict resolution, and expand civil-military relations, and I can confidently say it achieved exactly that.” -West Point ‘19


    “Back in April, when I told my friends that I was participating in PDLI, I was met with some expressions of surprise. I was a Hindu Indian with no ‘stake’ in the conflict, they said. What could I possibly contribute to a conversation grounded in millennia old Abrahamic theology. This thought gnawed at me for a while. Indeed, the Israel-Palestine conflict was one I had come across academically and had largely studied from an intellectual viewpoint, thus far. However, over the course of twelve days PDLI gave me the ability to empathize with people I had no apparent connection to and to understand their cause intimately.”
    -Yale ‘20


    “I am so grateful to have been chosen to take part in this experience. I was blown away by the VIP-like access we students had to the key leaders, diplomats, and thinkers on both sides of this conflict. I will never again experience the same depth of exploration into an international relations issue with the same breadth of speakersand sites we had access to—it was a gift to be a part of.”
    -West Point ‘20


  • Requirements and Expectations

    Applicant Profile

    We are looking for students who have demonstrated significant leadership on campus in their respective fields of interest and who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit Israel.


    Applicants do not need to have any background in international relations or in the Middle East in order to apply. In fact, we are looking for a diversity of backgrounds including the arts, science, business, the humanities, various interest groups, and political persuasions. Applicants do have to be interested in learning about the issues surrounding Israel and the region at large, as well as thinking about the role that the U.S. should play there. Whatever your background, there will always be a way to connect your personal interests with the many different aspects of Israel and the Palestinian Territories that we’ll be addressing.



    Preference will be given to sophomores and juniors, due to the expectation that they can remain involved in the initiative upon their return to campus. However, exceptional freshmen and seniors who will be continuing their education immediately post-graduation will also be considered.


    Funding and Trip Costs

    Students are expected to contribute approximately $450 to cover part of the expenses of the trip, all other costs will be covered by the program.

    In addition, a $150 deposit is required, which will be returned at the end of the trip, once all responsibilities have been fulfilled.


    Lack of funds should not preclude any qualified student from participating. If these costs are too great, please let us know and we will work with you to make sure that you can still join us.


    Various foundations and individual donors fund the bulk of the initiative.


    This initiative goes beyond most student-led trips. By signing on, students are committing to fulfill all expectations that are outlined here. PDLI will provide a significant amount of resources (ideas, logistical support, and financial support when necessary) in order to help students accomplish these goals.


    There will be a number of readings and on-campus meetings prior to the trip in which all students are expected to participate. Admitted students who insufficiently prepare will not be eligible to join the trip.


    Participants are expected to discuss the trip on an official trip blog and/or in an outlet of their choice. This can take the form of a series of photos with short descriptions, free-form blog posts describing their thoughts, or longer form essays in publications ranging from blogs to campus newspapers to national news outlets.


    Since one of the main purposes of this initiative is to encourage a conversation on campus related to the US role in the Middle East, students will be expected to work together to organize events or dinners with the wider student body on issues related to Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and the United States' role in the region.


    At the end of the day, this initiative was formed to help participants form relationships with one another and to encourage the discussion of issues and ideas that we think are absolutely vital in today’s globalized world. So if you have any other ideas or suggestions for how to achieve this, we look forward to hearing them and to helping in any way we can.

  • Apply Now

    Apply Here



    First Round Deadline: November 12th, 2017

    Second Round Deadline: November 26th, 2017



    Stay tuned for updates on our Facebook page!

    Selection Process

    • Online application: The application requires that you answer several short questions, upload a CV, and provide an academic and personal reference.

    • References: Academic and personal references may be contacted in January.

    • Interviews: Select candidates will be asked to participate in phone/Skype interviews in December

    • Decisions: Decisions will be announced in early January.

  • Contact Trip Coordinators

    For any questions about the trip or the application process please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the trip coordinators.


    For general inquiries about the initiative please contact info@pdli.org.


    Alexander Posner

    Executive Director



    Elias Mastakouris

    Deputy Director



    Eliot Schulte

    Events Director



    Andreas Ravichandran

    Finance Director