January 8, 2018
In December 2017, Associate Dean and Professor Michael Colatrella, an expert in negotiation and mediation, visited Israel to study the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with eleven other American dispute resolution scholars.
The trip was sponsored by Academic Partners for Peace, which is affiliated with the Jewish Federation of North America. The delegation of academics met with an array of people knowledgeable or directly involved with the peace process, including Israeli officials, as well as Israeli and Palestinian NGO leaders who run grassroots peace initiatives.
Among the highlights of the trip was a discussion with Aharon Barak, former President of the Israeli Supreme Court who, among other notable achievements, was responsible for the legal work on the Camp David peace agreement between Israel and Egypt during the Carter Administration while he served as Attorney General under Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The group also met with Tal Becker who serves as a senior advisor regarding the peace process to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and has been involved as an Israeli advisor in the peace negotiations since the early 2000's.
Professor Colatrella said that the trip, "was among the most enriching and important of his academic career." Colatrella continued: "The trip helped me to better appreciate the complexity of the conflict, the underlying cultural and political issues that fuel it, and the importance of supporting peace efforts in a region that is strategically important to the U.S. interests and culturally important to the world."
The American scholars posted blogs about their experience throughout their seven-day
visit. Included here is Associate Dean Colatrella's blog post about touring the Jerusalem country side with Ron Shatzberg, who works with a Tele Aviv-based think tank, Economic Cooperation Foundation, to
better understand the geopolitical issues involved in the conflict.