Don Zigler, Geographer at Old Dominion University, sharing his experience in Turkey during a trip with RumiForum:

Don Zigler

I am Don Zigler, I am a geographer at Old Dominion University, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This trip didn’t really start for me a week ago; it started perhaps eight or more years ago when my Turkish graduate assistant first appeared in my class as a teaching assistant. He was one of the first of three or four Turkish students who became my graduate assistant. Then in itself was a wonderful part of my continuing education. It was good for me, it was good for my class, it was good for my students. A little I did realize was to end up do for me than I ever did for him. In putting personal face on Turkey and putting a personal face on the Islamic religion.

I suppose our intercultural dialog took place over many years but one of the things I asked him actually my other graduate students to do too, was to go along with on meals on wheels runs, that through my church we do regularly, and my Turkish graduate assistant was delighted and very often when he sees me he still mentions it which comes as real boon to my soul. So that venture was sort of Christian faith in action, now I am here in Turkey and seeing how Islamic faith in action can operate as well. So I think I have been on a trip that really lasted may be a decade. I can’t quite remember when I first met my Turkish graduate assistant; it seems like forever. I would like however to thank the rest of this group, eventually I have to say I have taken groups abroad and I know the stresses of putting these things together, and adjusting schedules and meetings and visits at the last minutes. So it is very much appreciated; you did it flawlessly. We were not aware when somethings probably went wrong but didn’t. You did a good job of managing the whole process. It was a very very enjoyable experience. As a geographer I just have to say you know you have to realize that this is one of the premier places in all of the world history. I mean this intercontinental…