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By this Author: wacphila

World Leaders Symposium 2009

Follow WAC president Claudia McBride, as she embarks on our 2009 World Leader Symposium tour...

This trip features keynote speakers Secretary James A. Baker III; Ambassador Dennis Ross; Professor Larry Diamond and others continue our highly-acclaimed series with a journey to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. This tour, which includes a pre-land program in Dubai and post-land program in Oman, features a cruise aboard Silversea's deluxe 280-guest Silver Wind along the scenic coastline of the Gulf. Prominent local speakers provide additional perspective on the modern history and politics of this region. Behind-the-scenes touring of the highest caliber.

For more information on the trip, visit http://www.wacphila.org/travel/travel_upcoming.html#wls2009.

Posted by wacphila 12:18 Archived in Saudi Arabia Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Turkish Reflections

Saturday, 8/ 4/ 2007 10:43 a.m.

-17 °C

I can’t believe my trip to Turkey is over. More than six months of planning, reading and anticipation and finally it has come to fruition! Truly a dream come true.

My trip to turkey was an experience of a life time. It was heavenly to walk on the streets of Turkey especially in Istanbul with my husband Sanjay and six wonderful teachers. There was never a dull moment. Turkey is a mixture of east and west—with monuments and palaces from antiquities, Turkish flags hoisted almost everywhere, mosques on every street corner, food stalls and bazaars all over and good looking men, women and children. I found prayer callings from the mosques serene and beautiful. It almost made even non-Muslims stop and pray.

Ever since I have returned from Turkey, people have been asking me a very difficult question—what was your favorite spot in Turkey?
Several great spots have crossed my mind when answering this question such as Blue Mosque, Turkish Baths, theater at Aspendos, Troy, Pamukkale, Ephesus and Alexander’s Sarcophagus at Istanbul Archaeological Museum. I would have to say that my favorite spot is the most beautifully preserved Roman theater in Aspendos built in around AD162 by the architect Zeno. It was mind-boggling to see such a huge theater with a capacity of 12,000 spectators with 40 rows of marble seats in circular rows. The most impressive part was the man-made acoustics created by three walls—one in the front behind the stage called Skene and two on the sides. This theater is used even today for concerts. It is so interesting to see that a theater built in the 162 century A.D. is still hosting sold-out events to this day. Magnificent!
Prema Deshmukh
Penn Museum

Posted by wacphila 07:38 Comments (0)

Back in Town

There were absolutley NO problems on this trip!

I am pretty certain that I reflect the entire groups feelings when I say that this was one of the best travel experiences I have ever had. The group remained cohesive to the end. On the last night in Istanbul we went to a place recommended by Carlos, tour guide to the gods. His friend Edi ( I am guessing at the spelling) served a fabulous meal and ended it with apple tea on the house. It could not have been a more fitting end.
I walked around the area of Taksim Square on my last day and savored every bit of this wonderful culture.
I have come away convinced that Turkey is THE role model for how to blend east and west, secularism and religion, modernity and history and approach the future where global communications will bring all the continents together (as Istanbul has joined Asia and Europe).
On the plane I read an English language Turkish newspaper, "Today's Zaman" ( I am not sure if there is a pun in there about "Today's Man") and was thrilled to read about the Ukrainian ambassador to Turkey who was interviewed in a full page article. I had planned to use Turkey and Ukraine (both of which I visited with WAC in the last two years) as a comparison for my International Studies students to use in addressing these issues of east v. west, etc.
Well the ambassador, Dr. Olexandr Miscehenko said exactly what I think needs to be said about Turkey. It is a role model. His PhD thesis dealt with the transition from Ottoman empire to republicanism in Turkey. He sees the Ukraine facing that exact situation in post Soviet empire evolution.
I am excited about the return to the US and the classroom to explore these matters. I wish to thank the Okumus family, the members of TAFSUS and WAC for giving me this amazing opportunity. Above all, I want to thank the wonderful people of Turkey who have given me great hope for the future of the global community.
Best wishes to all, Joe Selfridge

Posted by wacphila 03:02 Comments (0)

Turkish Delight Indeed

Hello Everyone

A dream come true. I never thought ın a mıllıon years I would have the opportunity to visıt Turkey. After years of teachıng about the hıstorical events ınvolvıng Turkey, ıt felt only rıght that I should expereince the country myself. I have not been disappointed - the sites, food, nite life, and the new friends I have made will forever live in my memory. Aspendos and the churches at Göreme were definitely the highlight of my trip. However, these memories have come with a price. It seems every store we enter my wıfe buys somethıng :) One more day to go and I am sure it will be as excitıng as all the ones that have come before.

Chris Waychunas

Posted by wacphila 07:57 Comments (0)

We are ın Istanbul and Exploring on our own by Joe Selfridge

-17 °C

This may end up as the best part of all. Once you have seen a city with official guides and you have the ability to move about within the community , it is wonderful to just explore. Last night after a rather windıng and disjoınted stroll through some neighborhoods which are not on anyone's tour list we saw familıes at play and workers finishing up their week.
We eventually found an area wıth about two dozen eateries. The streets were strung with lights. Roving musıcians sang and played while patrons danced in the streets. It was very much like a cross between Havana and New Orleans.
We feasted on kabobs and lamb chops and eventually found our way back to the hotel after and arduous hill climbing. Today some are going to a museum and some are going to some bookstores near the bazaar which sell miniatures from Koran pages. We have our last formal tour this afternoon.
Tommorrow I hope to explore neighborhoods to listen and absorb.
The last stops on our tour turned out to be the most interestıng to me. Standing on the layers of Troy was especially powerful sınce this past school year some of my students attended a lecture at Penn by one of the archeologists who have worked extensively on the sight.
Finally, as a history teacher I was enthralled to stand upon the very grounds of the battles for Gallipolı and have the view whıch Ataturk had as he commanded the force. I purchased a hat which says (ın Turkish) Nobody Will Ever Cross the Channel. Carlos, after telling me what it saıd added that so long as one Turk, man woman or child ıs standing this will be so. As he said....that, my frıend, is Turkish nationalism. Carlos truly is my friend as is Mustafa. They showed us their country in every light ımaginable. As we parted he said....This is not Turkish hospitality..it is the love of family. I honestly felt it was true.

Posted by wacphila 23:44 Comments (1)

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