Norwich Receives $20K from Olmsted Foundation to Send Students to Israel and Region to Study Conflict


March 21, 2017

Norwich University has received $20,000 from the Olmsted Foundation to send 10 students along with Peace and War Center Director Professor Travis Morris to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa, for two weeks in May for cultural immersion and to study the conflict there firsthand.

The trip is organized and planned by the students, who are all cadets on track to commission into the U.S. military. The Olmsted Foundation provides opportunities for U.S. military officers to travel for cultural immersion to enhance the American military. This program falls under the Olmsted Foundation’s undergraduate program, which is described as this: “These trips, typically 1-3 weeks in length, take place in a non-English speaking country with exposure to a national perspective and a focus on the role of US policy in that region.”

The Norwich students constructed this trip in order to seek to understand the perspectives of the Palestinian, Israeli, and international parties to the longstanding conflict in the region. Among the cultural immersion, students seek to learn firsthand how the conflict has evolved over time; what connects and divides those involved in the conflict; how those involved define and value the issues at stake. This is a student-organized study, and will result in a guide for military universities to prepare mixed groups (men and women, military and civilian, younger and older) to conduct similar professionally relevant field studies in the future.

The 10 students range in age from 19-21 and come from a wide range of academic majors including: business management; neuroscience; civil engineering, along with humanities such as criminal justice, international relations and studies in war and peace. The group represents all four service branches of the Department of Defense: Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines.

The Olmsted Foundation provides financial support to the three Service Academies and four of the Senior Military Colleges for these short-term immersion trips, which often provide the undergraduates with their first exposure to a foreign culture.

Since 1959, the Olmsted Foundation’s Scholar Program has challenged young military officers to learn a foreign language and pursue graduate studies in that language at a foreign university. The Olmsted Foundation was created through an endowment from Gen. George Olmsted, an Army major general who served with distinction in World War II and went on to become a philanthropist and a successful businessman in the insurance and banking industries.

This is the thirteenth year Norwich has received such a grant from the Olmsted Foundation. Since 2005, approximately 50 students have benefitted from this grant and have travelled to: Tanzania, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Croatia, Senegal, El Salvador, Chile, Turkey and Georgia.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here:    

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