Institute of Interfaith Dialog organized an intercultural trip to Turkey during the Spring Break in March 2012. Honory guests from Lubbock Christian University experience Turkey's emerging role as a democratic model.
Troy provides a backdrop for the group during a tour of Trojan War.
With much of the Middle East immersed in political change, one predominately Muslim country serves as a model for democracy while expanding its influence as a regional, economic and political power.
According to The Economist, the emerging Islamic mainstream will look for its model "to the democratically elected AK party in Turkey, with its Islamic flavor diluted by tolerance for others and respect for secular institutions."
The institute hosts these cultural exchange trips to bring global communities together to promote cooperation and understanding from the vantage point of respect, accuracy and appreciation. It has hosted visits of nearly 170 honory guests from Lubbock to Turkey since the program began, with participants drawn from government, academia, religion, law enforcement and media.
The entire group was impressed with the vitality of the country's democracy, now energized by national elections to be held in June.
Media visits were with the executive director of Journalists and Writers Foundation; an international news correspondent for Aksiyon, a leading Turkish news magazine; and a manager of the Samanyolu broadcasting group, Turkey's leading private television network.
Visits to various historical and cultural sites enhanced the trip, including stops in Istanbul, Ephesus, Bursa and Troy
Every person traveling on the trip was overwhelmed with the hospitality and friendliness of the Turkish people. Frequent invitations were offered to the Turkish hosts to visit Lubbock and share in the hospitality of its people.