The Arava Institute strives to bring classroom learning into a larger real-world context using educational field trips.
Each semester the academic program has at least one multi-day field trip off the campus in which students and interns have the opportunity to explore environmental issues on the ground. The group visits environmental initiatives and projects, and regional coexistence models. During these trips they have the opportunity to meet many speakers, researchers and community shareholders.
The Water Trip
The Transboundary Water Study & Field Expedition, also known as the “Water Trip,” is an essential component of the Water Resources in the Middle East course typically taught in spring semester. After approximately two months of coursework, this four-day field expedition provides students with the opportunity to move beyond the classroom and investigate real-world challenges and projects in Israel, Jordan, and Area C of Palestine. Students visit active projects and environmental sites that are both a point of contention in the management of natural resources, as well as areas of cooperation, innovation, and peace. Along the way, they hear presentations from regional researchers and experts in the field of water management. Additionally, through meetings with local stakeholders, participants are exposed to the environmental and socio-economic impact of the conflict on regional populations.
Examples of past components:
- Visit to a desalination plant in Ashkelon, Israel
- Tour of wastewater treatment facility plant
- Meeting with a lead water engineer of the Palestinian Authority about treating wastewater in Jerusalem
- Tour of a dam in Jordan with a Jordanian water resources management expert
- Visit to the Dead Sea
- Guided hike through Wadi Mujib in the Jordan Valley
The Negev Trip
The Negev Trip is a joint initiative between the fall ecology course and the two seminars: Peace-building Leadership Seminar (PLS) and the Environmental Leadership Seminar (EL). This trip integrates environmental issues examined in the environmental academic courses with the socio-political and cultural issues brought up during PLS and EL.
The trip follows the theme of environmental justice through three days of hikes, lectures, and activities in Arab and Jewish communities. By visiting different settlements in the Negev, students learn about the various people, communities and organizations, which form a complex and changing region.
As part of the Peace-building Leadership Seminar students partake in a Multiple Narratives Trip in order to visit peace-building initiatives and NGOs, participate in workshops, and hear different speakers and professionals working in areas that relate to peace-building, dialogue initiatives, and environmental leadership. Students hear varied narratives and visit relevant sites and see for themselves the many many different cultural, political, and historical facets of this unique country.
Examples of past components:
- Conversation and panel with members Parents Circle Families Forum and Combatants for Peace, two NGOs that promote reconciliation to break the cycle of violence.
- A tour of Lifta, an Arab village that was depopulated after 1948, and learning about the history of the village from a guide from the NGO Zochrot.
- A guided tour of Yad Vashem, the world center for the documentation, research, and commemoration of the Holocaust.
- A visit to the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Bilingual School for Jewish Arab Education, a school which brings together Arab and Jewish students to study together from an early age.
- Visits and workshops with Neve Shalom –(lit. Oasis of Peace), which is a cooperative village jointly founded by Israeli Jews and Israeli Palestinian Arabs in an attempt to show that the two peoples can live side by side peacefully, as well as to conduct educational work for peace, equality, and understanding between the two peoples.