Spotlight on Turkey Educational Program WACA

Spotlight on Turkey Educational Program

The Turkish Cultural Foundation (TCF) partners with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) each year for Spotlight on Turkey, a national educational program.
  • Teacher Workshops
  • Teacher Study Tours
  • Portrait of Turkey Cultural Programs

Organized in cooperation with WACA and funded by TCF, the program runs a full calendar year. It focuses on giving an overview of the history of Anatolia and Turkey with a special emphasis on Turkish culture to American educators and the general public. With Teacher Workshops on Turkey in the spring, Teachers Study Tours to Turkey in the summer, and cultural programs for the public in the fall, the program emphasizes classroom learning and public education about Turkey and its contributions to the global community. As of 2015, 575 American teachers visited Turkey on the TCF Teacher Study Tours and over 3,500 teachers learned about Turkey at the Teacher Workshops with an estimated student impact of nearly 370,000.

In 2015, TCF is working with the following 12 WACA councils: Santa Fe Council on International Relations, World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C., Pacific and Asian Affairs Council (Hawaii), Northern Nevada International Center, Montana World Affairs Council, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, Dayton Council on World Affairs, World Affairs Council of Las Vegas, World Affairs Council of Seattle, World Affairs Council of Houston, World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California. 48 teachers were selected to participate in the 2015 TCF Teacher Study Tours, which were organized on June 27-July 11 and July 21-August 4. The tours began in Istanbul and traveled through Bursa, Canakkale, Gelibolu (Gallipoli) and Troy, Kusadasi, Pamukkale, Konya and Catalhoyuk, Cappadocia and Ankara. Throughout the tour, teachers visited world-famous cultural, archaeological, architectural and natural sites of Turkey and met with diplomats, policy experts, educators and representatives of Turkish civil society. Four volunteer Turkish teachers accompanied the tours with a view to facilitate exchanges between Turkish and American educators. Teachers who participated in the 2015 tours will prepare now prepare lesson plans on Turkey for their own classroom, which will be shared with the educational community through the TCF Share Your Lesson Plan platform. The Spotlight on Turkey program will now continue with cultural programs for the general public, organized by participating councils.

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Spotlight on Turkey Program - At a Glance

Lesson Plans on Turkey

Teaching about Turkey in the classroom can be an enriching experience for teachers and students alike. The TCF Education Portal is a platform to locate and share lesson plans on Turkey with a view to assist teachers who wish to teach about Turkey, or use Turkey as an example to talk about a variety of issues of global importance, such as women’s rights, religion or cultural preservation.

TCF offers teachers a compilation of lesson plans developed by American teachers and educational experts. The majority of the lesson plans are created by American teachers who participated in the TCF Teacher Study Tours to Turkey. Other plans are created by American educational institutions and experts on Turkey. Please note that each year, the American Turkish Society, a New York based non-profit organization, organizes a grant competition for American teachers to assist curriculum development on subjects related to Turkey.

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Observations by TCF Teacher Study Tour Participants

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Words alone cannot even begin to describe how meaningful this experience has been for me. I am eternally grateful to the TCF for having selected me to participate in this once in a lifetime person to person cultural study tour. My knowledge and view of Turkey and the role it has, and continues to play, in the world has greatly expanded, and has altered my approach to this topic within the social studies curriculum. I am eager to share my experiences with my students once I return to the US. Myself and the other teachers arrived as strangers, but now leave as friends. Thank you for everything.

Mr. Andrew Krakat, Catholic Central High School; Watervliet, New York

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to visit the ruins of ancient Greece and Rome. It wasn't until my young adult years that I discovered Turkey was the home of my heart's desire. But I really didn't think beyond the past. This trip has opened my eyes to the colors and faces of a beautiful and complicated nation. Turkey is rich in history, cultural diversity, and artistic tradition. This trip introduced me to aspects of a nation that can become an agent of change in a complicated and restless region of the world, even while holding onto the traditions of the past. My experience in Turkey was enlightening. It was joyful, interesting and frequently spoke to my heart.

Ms. Brenda Bartnick, Ocoee Middle School; Orlando, Florida

This experiences has re-organized my approach to humanities studies about this region. I now have so many ideas about introducting aspects of Turkish culture to my students! From history to ethnicites, from geography to art, from architecture to patterns of politics and power, from literature to cuisine- I am full of knowledge shared with me through TCF from guides, scholars, museums, and sites. My life is changed because of this trip, no exaggeration! I cannot wait to spread this knowledge to others: what an amazing, generous and phenominal gift. I am humbled.

Ms. Kimberlee Rizio, Long Trail School; Manchester Center, Vermont