The graduate students came to Palestine to improve their understanding of the situation on the ground. Some 14 different nationalities were represented, including Americans, Canadians, Indians, Pakistanis, Australians, French and Nepalese.
Supported by the Siraj Center, the students met with Palestinian government officials, local and international organizations such as the UNOCHA, to learn more about what is being done for democracy and justice in Palestine, and to discuss the challenges that people face. The tour also took the students as far north as Nazareth, Haifa and Tel Aviv where they had the opportunity to meet with Israeli civil society organizations.
The group walked through the Old City in East Jerusalem, where they had the opportunity to visit the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Seplechure, the Western Wall and see the diversity which exists within the Old City. In the Bethlehem area, the students visited the Aida Refugee Camp, learned about how the occupation is impacting the environment in Palestine, cycled in Jericho, swam in the Dead Sea, visited the Negev Desert, and watched how blown glass is made in Hebron.
Two nights before departure, a farewell dinner was organized by the Siraj Center at the Tent Restaurant in Beit Sahour, where a local dance group performed traditional dabkeh for the Harvard students as an expression of Palestinian tradition and salutation.