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The Centerpiece of the PDLI Fellowship is an annual trip to Israel & the Palestinian Territories

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An unbelievable, intense, and endlessly fascinating experience. Fellows 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.

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The Trip

Previous Meetings

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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):

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Salam Fayyad

Former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority

Salam Fayyad was the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013. He also served as Finance Minister. 

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Rami Hamdallah

Former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority

Rami Hamdallah was the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2014 to 2019. 

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Daniel Shapiro

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Daniel Shapiro served as US Ambassador to Israel from 2011 to 2017 under President Barack Obama.

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Natan Sharansky

Former 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.

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Husam Zomlot

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Kingdom

Husam Zomlot also served as the Palestinian Ambassador to the U.S. from 2017 to 2018 Previously, he was a senior advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas.

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Justice Daphne Barak-Erez

Supreme Court Justice

Daphne Barak-Erez is the youngest female Supreme Court Justice in Israel's history. She has served on the court since 2012. 

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Elias Zananiri

Palestinian Authority Politician

Elias Zananiri is the Vice-Chairman for the PLO Committee for Interaction with the Israeli Society.

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Jodi Rudoren

New York Times Journalist

Jodi Rudoren is a journalist and the former Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times.

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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."

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Mohammed Dajani

Founder of the Wasatia Movement

Mohammed Dajani is the founder of the Wasatia movement of Islam. He is known for bringing Palestinian students to Auschwitz and Israeli students to refugee camps.

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Dr. Dalia Fadila

Arab-Israeli Educator and Activist

Dr. Dalia Faila is the founder of Q-schools and a women's education advocate. In 2022, she received the Presidential Medal of Honor.

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Reuven Rivlin

Former President of Israel

Reuven Rivlin served as the President of Israel from 2014 - 2021. He previously served as Speaker of the Knesset.

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Riyad Mansour

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations

Riyad Mansour has served as Permanent Observer of Palestinian to the UN since 2005.

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Ehud Olmert

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.

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David Friedman

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel

David Friedman, appointed by President Donald Trump, served as US Ambassador to Israel from 2017 to 2021. 

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Einat Wilf

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.

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Daniel Shapiro

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Daniel Shapiro served as US Ambassador to Israel from 2011 to 2017 under President Barack Obama.

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Gen. Stanley McChrystal

U.S. Four-Star General

General McChrystal led the Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 - 2008 prior to leading ISAF in Afghanistan

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Michael Oren

Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.

Michael Oren served as Israeli Ambassador to the US from 2009 to 2013. After his term, he was a MK from 2015-2019.

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Ami Ayalon

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.

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Bashar Masri

Palestinian Entrepreneur

Bashar Masri is a Palestinian entrepreneur who founded Rawabi, the first planned city in the West Bank, targeting upwardly mobile families. 

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Khaled Abu Toameh

Journalist

Khaled Abu Toameh is a prominent Israeli-Arab lecturer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker.

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                Requirements & Expectations

FUNDING

The initiative is heavily subsidized by foundations & individual donors, but students are expected to contribute ~$700 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.

BEFORE

By joining PDLI as a Fellow, students commit to attending PDLI meetings, dinners, & conferences and completing all required readings. 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.

AFTER

The PDLI Fellowship doesn't end when the trip concludes. After the trip, students are expected to complete a capstone 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. 

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