Faces of Istanbul – 2011

A computer scientist who decides to give up his days in the lab, to become a ferryboat captain on the meditative Bosphorus strait. The impish chef renowned for researching great Anatolian recipes of the past, and popularizing them with a modern twist. The feminist activist who spent years fighting for women’s rights, only to witness some of those rights compromised in an increasingly religious society.

These are just some of the faces of Istanbul. Their stories represent the diversity of ideas and personalities in a country known more for its rugs, mosques, and Turkish delight than for its ethnic influences, its struggles for balance between religious freedom and secular ties to the West, and its continuing march toward democracy.

University students in ieiMedia’s Istanbul Project sought out these stories, during a one-month international journalism program in Istanbul. Here they share their discoveries about the complexities, the beauty and the many personal triumphs of the people of Istanbul.

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My time in Urbino has truly been indescribable. It’s not just the gorgeous city itself, but it’s the local people of this small town that have made the past couple weeks so special to me. Everyone here is so full of life and passionate about what they do; all they want is to share what they know with us, while learning a thing or two from us Americans as well. I will never forget my trip to Urbino, the rich lessons learned and the amazing people I met along the way.
by Stephanie Strickland, James Madison University, Urbino Project 2012