Prepping for the Middle East

Sitting in front of me is a growing checklist of everything I have to get done before I leave Virginia in 5 days and embark on my journey to Israel and the West Bank. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed since I first found out I was going to be a Peacebuilder’s Fellow, and now that I’m just a few days out from my trip, I can’ t help but feel overwhelmed and excited. I’ve been spending what little free time I have researching issues related to the water crisis in the region. Like every other issue involving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, it is a very complicated problem, but for me that is what makes this research even intriguing, and I know we will learn some amazing, heartbreaking, and inspiring stories from the Palestinian people.

This isn’t my first journey to Israel and the West Bank. In March 2012, I had the opportunity to learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a study abroad program sponsored by my undergraduate university, and it was during this time I fell in love with the region. My experiences encouraged me to pursue a career in conflict resolution and international diplomacy, and since then I’ve been dreaming of the time that I can return to the land that I fell in love with. I’ve just dug up my journal where I kept a daily log of everything I experienced when I was there before, which has made me even more excited to begin this two month adventure.

Planning this trip has been a whirlwind, to say the least. Like Lukas mentioned below, there were a few hiccups that made prepping for our adventure more stressful than anticipated. But we’ve got our tickets booked and an apartment reserved (and it’s super close to the Old City, which was my favorite place in Israel when I visited previously), so it’s just a matter of packing and traveling to Tel Aviv.

While this blog will be updated regularly with our research and the stories we obtain,there are so many places to see in Israel and the West  Bank, and Lukas and I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity presented to us. I will be creating a personal blog sharing these experiences, check out or follow me on twitter – @allycollender



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