News Archive
Five area educators travel to Turkey
Perrysburg Messenger Journal, 23.07.2014

It’s  not  everyday  that teachers are given an opportunity to travel to a distant land to experience first hand the  cultures  about  which they teach. But that is precisely what five area teachers  had  the  chance  to  do, thanks to the World Affairs Council of Northwest Ohio, the Turkish Cultural Foundation, and the World Affairs Council of America. The program was a rigorous cultural and academic immersion into Turkey.

“It was really a magnificent  balance  of  learning about the arts, history, culture, cuisine, politics, the education system and more,” said Bill Hilt, a Perrysburg Junior High School teacher and member of the delegation. Twenty-three teachers from across the country took part in the first group, and 25 more are scheduled for the second group. The experience began in Istanbul  and  ended  in Ankara  with  nearly  2,000 miles  covered  including stops in Bursa, Canakkale, Kusadasi,  Pamukkale, Konya and Cappadocia.

While visiting archeological sites such as Troy and Catalhoyuk, the teachers had the chance to hear from experts  in  the  field.  They worked  hand-in-hand  with artists, met with and had discussions with the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, Chuck Hunter and Jess Bailey, the Charge d’Affaires in the  residence  at  Ankara. They met with teachers, students, and administrators at three  different  schools around  the  country,  and heard  lectures  from  nongovernmental organizations in  education,  women’s  issues,  the  environment,  as well as cultural preservation.

The  program  ranged from  visiting  excavation sites dating as far back as 6000 B.C. to viewing modern  design  techniques  inspired by Anatolia. The tour included more than 45 hours of lectures to supplement the immersion.
“Our  guide  was  so knowledgeable. As we rode on the bus, we continued to learn a wide range of pertinent information along the way,”  said  Jesse  Thomas, world  issues  and  government teacher at Penta Career Center in Perrysburg.

According to Kate Hunyor,  broadcast  journalism and  computer  applications teacher at Ottawa Hills, “the people at the Turkish Cultural Foundation went out of their way to provide a diverse and engaging program that was world-class.”
Each participant will create  a  lesson  plan  or  unit based on his or her experience and the World Affairs Council of Northwest Ohio will hold an event in October to give the participants a chance to present their experiences from the tour. At this Portrait of Turkey event, to be held at the University of Toledo, members, teachers and  community  members will  be  welcome  to  come hear more details of the cultural study tour, as well as express interest in any further programs.
The mission of the World Affairs  Council  of  Northwest  Ohio  is  to  promote awareness and engagement of world affairs in Northwest Ohio. The mission of the Turkish Cultural Foundation  is  to  support  the preservation and promotion of Turkish culture and heritage  world-wide  through original programs and cooperation with like minded organizations.

The  2014  groups  will bring the total to more than 500  participating  teachers since the program was initiated in 2007.