The Capstone of the PDLI Fellowship is an annual trip to Israel & the Palestinian Territories
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 the Palestinian Territories. 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 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, some time spent on the beach, and the breathtaking, historical sites of Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and the Galilee.
Over the course of the year-long Fellowship, PDLI fellows meet with speakers from all career fields, political ideologies, and backgrounds. While our lineup of meetings changes from year to year, we strive to meet with a diverse array of individuals who represent a wide variety of viewpoints. Past speakers include (but are certainly not limited to):
Former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority
Salam Fayyad was the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013. He also served Finance Minister.
Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority
Rami Hamdallah has been the Prime Minister of the PA since 2014. He is formerly a college professor.
Member of the Knesset; Activist
Natan Sharansky, a former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, spent nine years in a Soviet prison as a refusenik in the 1970s-80s.
Palestinian Ambassador to the U.S.
Husam Zomlot has served as the Palestinian Ambassador to the U.S. since 2017. Previously, he was a senior advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas.
Justice Daphne Barak-Erez
Supreme Court Justice
Daphna Barak-Erez is the youngest female Supreme Court Justice in Israel's history.
Former MK and Prominent Feminist
Einat Wilf served as a Member of the Knesset and an intelligence officer in the IDF. She is a scholar known for her work on feminism and zionism.
Elias Zananiri is the Vice-Chairman for the PLO Committee for Interaction with the Israeli Society.
Jodi Rudoren is a journalist and the former Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times.
Yossi Klein Halevi
Prominent Israeli journalist & author
Yossi Klein Halevi is an American-born Israeli journalist, contributing editor of The New Republic, and the New York Times bestselling author of "Like Dreamers."
CEO of the Gazit-Globe Group
Ronen Ashkenazi is the CEO of the Gazit-Globe Group, one of the leading real estate firms in the world.
President of Israel
Reuven Rivlin has served as the President of Israel since 2014. He previously served as Speaker of the Knesset.
Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations
Riyad Mansour has served as Permanent Palestinian Representative to the UN since 2005.
Former Prime Minister of Israel
Ehud Olmert served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009. From 1993 to 2003, he was the Mayor of Jerusalem.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel
David Friedman, appointed by President Donald Trump, has served as US Ambassador to Israel since 2017. He is formerly an attorney.
General Stanley McChrystal
General McChrystal led the Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 - 2008 prior to leading ISAF in Afghanistan
Former Director of Shin Bet
Ami Ayalon served as Director of Israel's intelligence service, Shin Bet. He represented Labour in the Knesset, and received the Medal of Valor, Israel's highest honor.
Khaled Abu Toameh
Khaled Abu Toameh is a prominent Israeli-Arab lecturer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker.
Founder of the Wasatia Movement
Mohammed Dajani is a professor and founder of the Wasatia movement of Islam. He is known for bringing Palestinian students to Auschwitz and Israeli students to refugee camps.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
Michael Oren, currently a Member of the Knesset, served as Israeli Ambassador to the US from 2009 to 2013.
Bashar Masri founded Rawabi, the first planned city in the West Bank, targeting upwardly mobile families.
PA Minister of Education
Sabri Saidam serves as Minister of Education and Higher Education for the Palestinian Authority.
Requirements and Expectations
The initiative is heavily subsidized by foundations & individual donors, but students are expected to contribute ~$450 to cover some of the expenses of the trip. All other costs will be covered by PDLI. In addition, a $300 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, PDLI will cover contributions for any student demonstrating need.
By joining PDLI as a Fellow, students commit to completing all required readings and attending PDLI meetings, dinners, & conferences. Readings will generally include 1-2 historical books in addition to a number of essays and articles. Fellows will also hear from a number of speakers at both Yale & West Point as well as our annual conference in New York. Admitted students who are insufficiently prepared will not be eligible to join the trip.
The PDLI Fellowship doesn't end when the trip concludes. After the trip, students are expected to complete a special project of their choice. This can take the form of a blog, long-form article, art project, video, or something else entirely. PDLI leaders will assist students with both the content of their pieces and with finding outlets to publish in. For some special projects, we may be able to help secure additional funding.