SFS Pioneers Turkish Studies
Georgetown's School of Foreign Service is currently bringing together the study of Turkish language, culture, history, and politics through cooperation between the Institute of Turkish Studies (ITS), the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies (CERES), the National Resource Center on the Middle East, and the McGhee Center program in Alanya, Turkey.
Kevin Boyd (SFS '08) spent the summer of 2006 at Boğazici University in Istanbul. Kevin's interest in Turkey developed in his classes with Turkish language Professor Sylvia Onder, who encouraged him to augment his studies with some time spent in the region. "Georgetown has afforded me countless opportunities to engage the local Turkish community, whether through the Language Exchange Partner Program, events organized by ITS, or even chatting with and getting homework help from the night shift at Philly Pizza. I've become entirely immersed in Turkish studies," he said.
The Language Exchange Partner Program, run out of the Office of International Programs, allows members of the Georgetown community to find others in the DC area with foreign language skills complementary to their own. The free program finds matches and organizes a language exchange.
Ben Lazarus, a student in the five-year BSFS/MA in Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, first became interested in studying Turkish at Georgetown as a result of the reputation of Georgetown's study abroad program in Alanya. He describes his time in Turkey as essential in his decision to pursue Turkish Studies at the graduate level through CERES.
ITS moved to Georgetown's campus a decade ago. It is the only non-profit, private educational foundation in the United States dedicated exclusively to the support and development of Turkish Studies in American higher education. Director David Cuthell believes that it has benefited greatly from its location at Georgetown--not just because of the breadth and depth of faculty expertise, but from the myriad interconnections between ITS, CERES, and the McGhee Center.
Cuthell believes, as do his students, that "Turkey is not only one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but it will be one of the most strategically important nations of the coming years."