The olive tree, having deep roots and needing little water to survive, has long symbolized peace and reconciliation. It connotes wisdom, growth, and resilience. Embracing this symbolism, the Olive Tree Initiative empowers students in their scholarship and leadership by investing in and supporting a diverse community of engaged young people eager to make a difference globally.
The Olive Tree Initiative began in the Spring of 2007 at UC Irvine as a grassroots student and faculty initiative. The group ventured into the Middle East in 2008 with their inaugural trip to Israel and the West Bank. Since then, the group has expanded nationally and internationally; developing its academic foundation and becoming one of the world's premier training ground for international conflict analysis and resolution.
OTI's involvement includes the student body of active campuses and the local community. We pride ourselves on educating the next generation of leaders: many of our alumni have continued their OTI experience into graduate school and professional careers to become leaders in their respective disciplines. Community members also have the opportunity to participate directly in the program as OTI continues to facilitate education beyond the University setting.
The Chapman University chapter was established in the summer of 2017 as was the inaugural trip to Israel and the West Bank. Muhammad Karkoutli (Class of 2020) wrote of the experience, “OTI can equip the Chapman community with the tools necessary to engage in meaningful dialogue as well as enable students to study and witness conflicts first hand."
For more information, including contact information and details on the next trip, check out Chapman chapter’s Facebook page.