Our delegation of 65 Yale alumni leaders, family and friends had the opportunity to share their unique sense of school loyalty and commitment – and to share their knowledge and experience in alumni relations – with the faculty, staff and alumni of the universities in Turkey.
When visiting the universities, Yale leaders sat on panels, gave presentations and facilitated discussions to share their experiences of volunteering at Yale – experiences such as reunions, class dinners, mini-reunions, club activities, AYA Assemblies, AYA Board meetings, Alumni Fund programs, shared interest group activities – any and all such ways they have contributed their time and talent.
The universities shared with us the rich history and culture of the Anatolian peninsula (also called Asia Minor), comprising most of modern Turkey. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited regions in the world due to its location at the intersection of Asia and Europe. The culture of the country reflects its transcontinental location as well as its long and illustrious history.
Here are a few of the highlights of the program.
- We were hosted by 5 prestigious universities in Istanbul including Bogaziçi University, founded as the first American school outside the U.S. and one of the most prominent educational institutions in Turkey, Istanbul University founded in 1453, Sabanci University, that offers a liberal arts undergraduate curriculum, Koc with the mission to produce the most capable graduates by providing a world class education and Bahçesehir University founded by a private foundation in 1998 for alumni relations sessions and shared friendship dinners
- We visited Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace and other sites in Istanbul.
- We were hosted at Catalhoyuk, the site of a Neolithic settlement, by the archaeological team for tours and a barbecue.
- We spent time in Cappadocia, a city with a unique landscape where erosion of volcanic ashes has created amazing looking cones and other formations. Volcanic rocks are permeated with churches decorated with beautiful frescoes. We visited Goreme Open Air Museum and an “underground city” and stayed in Argos, a cave hotel.
- We worked with Bilkent University in Ankara. Bilkent has over 10,000 students with foreign students from 72 countries. With funds from the endowments provided by the founder, the university each year awards full scholarships to over 2,500 students of high academic achievement.
- We visited the world-renowned Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara.
- We worked with Yasar University in Izmir.
- We visited the ruins of Ephesus, an important city of the 1st century visited by St. Paul, and the subject of Paul’s New Testament Letter to the Ephesians.
- We celebrated on our final evening with a cruise and a spectacular farewell dinner overlooking the Bosphorous.