SU London is proud to be an official partner of Encompass Trust , an organization founded in the wake of the Bali terrorist bombings of 2002. The family of one of the victims—Daniel Braden—felt that as long as people are able to dehumanize the faith or culture of an ‘Other’, events like the one that killed Dan would continue to occur. Encompass’s mission is to promote tolerance and understanding among young people of different backgrounds, faiths and cultures.
Encompass’s signature program is the Journey of Understanding , a unique excursion that brings together 24 young people (ages 16-23) from the US, UK, Indonesia, Israel, and Palestinian Territories. The group spends 10 days together at the Outward Bound center in Aberdovey, Wales. Through a combination of intense physical challenges, team-building exercises and group discussions, participants address complex issues such as: stereotypes, identity, cultural heritage and ethnic conflict. The last day of the program is spent in London making presentations to local schools.
The American cohort is made up of SU London students. The program fee and travel costs are covered by Syracuse University. Any student who has been accepted to the SU London program is eligible to apply. Applications and interviews are conducted in the US prior to departure for London.
Here’s what previous SUL students have said after taking part in the Journey of Understanding:
“It was here that I faced some of the tough issues for the first time: the role of America in the world from my generation’s perspective, and most daunting, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This program not only gave me the opportunity to meet people from these regions for the first time ever, it really caused me to question my beliefs on the role of the United States in the world…The friendships built were something that my American friends at university were jealous of, and something that I treasure.” (Jeremy Deibler)
“Meeting the other individuals in the group was one of the most intimidating things I have ever encountered and saying goodbye to these individuals was one of the saddest things I have ever experienced… Nothing in my life has ever taught me as much about myself or others.” (Alison Labanoski)
“By the end of the trip I stopped thinking about the people in the sense that he is a Palestinian and she is Jewish, and more in the sense that we are all brothers and sisters from the world,” said Muller. “This is a powerful transition that can really affect thought, change and peace.” (Nathan Muller)
“Taking part in an Encompass Journey of Understanding has forever shifted my global and human perspectives. The relationships formed will stay deep within my heart forever, and I am forever indebted to these people for teaching me about themselves, their countries, and myself.”(Celina Tousignant)
For more information on Encompass Trust, please visit their website, www.encompasstrust.org .