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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Students Say...

The Urbino Project has offered me more experience and knowledge than I could have ever dreamed of. I feel that I have become more adventurous, curious, and take charge because of this experience. The people who have helped me succeed on this trip have become lifelong friends and this town a beautiful sanctuary that I hope I will come back to in the future. The beautiful mountains take my breath away every time I see them and the adventures I have been on while exploring this town are good enough to tell to my future children. I wish I could take Urbino back with me, but I know it would be bigger than the 50lb suitcase limit the airlines allow. But no matter what, Urbino will always have a place in my heart.
by Katrina Delene, James Madison University, Urbino Project 2014