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...

Istanbul left a strong cultural imprint in just one month. The city is constantly changing as it balances its rich history with an equally vibrant contemporary political climate. It was thrilling to report in this setting while immersing myself in all the culture had to offer. In such a large population, there are tons of stories left unheard. I am fortunate to have found one of those stories to amplify it for the world to see.
by Ali Tejani, University of Texas at Dallas, Istanbul Project 2015