Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication Crossing Culture Borders


Date posted: August 21, 2012

Jennifer Mercado, August 2012

A small group of University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) faculty opened a line of dialogue with educators and professionals during a trip to Turkey last month. Hosted by the Niagara Foundation, a handful of SJMC faculty and eastern Iowa-area professionals travelled to Turkey June 15-24 to learn about the country and experience its culture.

“We ran out of adjectives to describe and superlatives to praise what we saw,” said David Perlmutter, SJMC director, of his experience on the trip.

sjmc-2

Chief Rabbi Ishak Haleva receives a gift from Bill Casey, publisher of the Daily Iowan and David Perlmutter, SJMC director, during a visit by an Iowa delegation to Turkey

The Niagara Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to “promoting global fellowship,” hosted the trip. The Foundation regularly organizes intercultural trips and other events to provide an opportunity for the healthy exchange of ideas. Niagara was founded and is supported by followers of the Turkish Imam Fethullah Gülen (who lives in the United States, near Niagara Falls).

Perlmutter, who learned about the Niagara Foundation while teaching at the University of Kansas, was asked to organize the outreach trip. He said this summer the Foundation is working with various sister alliances to send over 50 groups from across the United States to Turkey.

During the nine-day adventure, the group spent time in Istanbul, Izmir, Ephesus, Cappadocia and Kayseri. They met with professionals from a cross-section of industries, including newspaper editors, political leaders, business professionals, university presidents and professors, cultural curators and the country’s Chief Rabbi as well as ordinary citizens.

Vanessa Shelton, executive director of Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for high school journalists, told of one evening during which they had dinner with a medical doctor and his friends.

“One of his friends was a big singing star [in Turkey] and another had just launched a magazine last year,” Shelton said. “He had some of the magazines with him and the discussion all night was on the publication and the next steps he should take instead of being focused on the singer,” she laughed.

Ambition is a common quality among Turkish people, according to Shelton, who also said a part of the country’s booming modernization is investing in its people’s education.

“They have a pretty solid vision of where they want to be as a country and it’s very admirable,” said Shelton.

This year alone, the government is opening 20 new universities, in addition to the private school sector.

“They are heavily invested in higher education,” said Perlmutter, who added that the country is looking to U.S. institutions to educate its young adults because there are not enough schools within its own borders.

In a newly thriving country, opportunities are endless.

“Turkey is seen as the key country in the Muslim and Middle and Near Eastern world. It’s looked to as a bellwether for other countries in terms of democracy and economic prosperity,” said Perlmutter. “It is in America’s interests for Turkish democracy and modernization to thrive.”

While Turkey’s innovation spreads through the country, Perlmutter and Shelton both saw opportunities to intersect it with Iowa life and enrich the lives of SJMC students. Perlmutter hopes that in the near future the school can develop a partnership of sorts with Turkey and its educators. Some of the opportunities he would like to see evolve include: recruiting from Turkish high schools, creating semester-abroad programs, having Iowa faculty travel to Turkey to teach and having their educators come to the University of Iowa to teach.

Shelton said she spoke with one newspaper editor who seemed attracted by the idea of high school journalists.

“It was interesting what the editor from Zaman has in mind exploring work with high school journalists,” said Shelton. “They have excellent, top-notch students there who would be eligible and a great addition to Quill and Scroll,” she said.

With the global economy, Perlmutter said it’s very likely graduates today might work in other countries, with people from other countries, or for a business or corporation that has locations across the world. “Being able to cross cultural and international boundaries and work for common goals is a basic job skill today.”

For more information on the Niagara Foundation, visit http://www.niagarafoundation.org/.

Source: August Newsletter, University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Journalism and Communication


Related News

Water Well Constructed in Uganda in Memory of Slain Journalist

The charity Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There?) and the Embrace Relief aid foundation, founded by Turks residing in the US, have jointly constructed a water well in Uganda dedicated to the memory of James Foley, an American journalist killed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Turkish American Society Builds Bridges

The Turkish American Society of Chicago inaugurated its brand new culture center. The event was attended by prominent politicians, artists and businessmen from the windy city. The TASC supports multiculturalism and is dedicated to establishing good relations between the American -Turkish diaspora. Fatih Yildiz, the Turkish Consul General in Chicago, encompassed the philosophy of the […]

President Fox speaks about Fethullah Gulen and Gulen Movement

Vicente Fox served his term as President from 2000 to 2006. He was the first candidate from an opposition party to be elected president since 1920. Under his leadership, the country experienced a stretch of fundamental economic strength and stability. The perspectives of the Institute are inspired by the life and works of the distinguished contemporary scholar and civic leader Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader, educational activist, and preacher emeritus. He is regarded as the initiator and inspirer of the worldwide social movement of human values known as the Hizmet (Service) Movement or the Gülen Movement.

Turkish Cultural Center Hosts Food Drive

The Humanitarian Aid group under the Turkish Cultural Center (TCC) held a meat drive on Monday, August 3rd for Eid al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) at the Turkish Cultural Center on Revere Street.

Turkish ambassador leads an unrealistic mission: bringing a reclusive Muslim cleric before Turkish courts

Although Turkey immediately blamed Gulen for the coup attempt, it took Ankara nearly six weeks to make a formal request for his extradition — and that was based on earlier alleged crimes, not for his supposed role in the coup.

Peace Valley Foundation recognizes reporter, teacher, preacher for community work

At about the same time tonight, April 18, 2013, that a keeper of the peace at Massachusetts Institute of Technology was fatally wounded by gunshots; in the same week that some vicious destructors left bags of explosive shrapnel aimed at runners, family and children at the finish line of the Boston Marathon; in the same […]

Latest News

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

Grondahl: Turkish community strong in wake of threats from back home

In Case You Missed It

Monday Talk with Michael Rubin on Trump, Iran and Turkey

[Erdogan’s] Turken Foundation: A Wolf in the Neighborhood [in the US]

LDP leader says received ‘indecent proposal’ from pro-gov’t paper

UN-affiliated aid organization becomes new witch hunt target

40 CSOs in US slam hate speech being used by gov’t officials

Northern Iraqis cheer as Turkish schools donate meat

Turkish daily exposes secret plot against Gülen endorsed by gov’t

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News