Running on Fumes

Feeling a bit ill during international travel is normal. Within the first week, one of the program professors was knocked out for several days, and other students have missed stretches of the trip. Between being in close quarters on planes, trains, and automobiles, the foreign cuisine, and long days of meetings, it seems that half the group is currently feeling at least somewhat under the weather. Count me among them.


Knowing the difference between being dangerous to the rest of the group and able to push through is critical, and I walked that line today. I am thankful that I did because the meetings with the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies, Ankara Strategic Institute, and the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research afforded us a unique opportunity to hear similar though nuanced perspectives on the future of Turkey, specifically Turkey’s role as a leading power in the Middle East and its policy towards Syrian refugees.


We arrived on time for our first meeting to the location we confirmed in the spring, only to find an empty (though unlocked) office and a new address for the group. That characterized the unexpected challenges we faced all day, which left us fluctuating between running minutes late to an hour early. We arrived back at the hotel from our meetings around 5 o’clock, but there were no adventures or exploring the vibrant streets of Ankara in the evening. Rest was too important, and hopefully a good night’s sleep and lots of water find us all well enough to experience more of Turkey’s capital city tomorrow.



This website is simply a classroom project that uses a conventional study abroad trip, student talent, and faculty expertise to fill an important information gap concerning Turkish politics and the Syrian crisis. Overseen by faculty mentors Dr. Abbas Barzegar and Dr. Rashid Naim of Georgia State University, advanced graduate students and undergraduates from various disciplines were placed in small working groups tasked with explore key subject areas. They did this by conducting research before their trip and interviewing experts. During their three-week trip they continued this process as they visited NGOs, think tanks, and cultural sites. Every day they documented their experiences through the content material that can be found on this site. See this brief article about the project for more information.





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