IDI has been organizing several Intercultural trips to Turkey every summer.  These study trips are designed and organised to strengthen existing relations with trip participants and build bridges between communities, organizations and cultures.

These series of interfaith trips to Turkey are parts of the effort to share the cultural richness of this beautiful country with the community we serve. The trip helps discover the historical, cultural and natural beauties of Turkey, a living example of the harmony of different faiths for centuries.

IDI strives to make study trips a success, with participants as trip delegates, in cooperation with Turkey’s participating cities, community and business representatives, families and NGOs.  Participants have the opportunity meet and interact with the different sections of Turkish society acting as our hosts: individuals, business people, cultural religious representatives, educational institutions and officials in the designated cities.

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We have had the privilege of touring Turkey with many participants; some of whom are listed below:

In my 24 years with the RCMP, I have had the opportunity to travel to various countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. However, none have been as rewarding and enriching as my trip to Turkey with the IDI in the summer of 2009.

Having an opportunity to view, first hand, the numerous illuminated manuscripts described by Orhan Pamuk, the eminent Turkish Nobel Prize recipient for literature, he describes in his book “My name is Red” which can be viewed at the Topkapi Palace and the Mevlana Museum in Konya or to walk in the footsteps of Galip as he wanders the streets of Istanbul searching for his wife Ruya in his novel “The Black Book” was incredible. Turkey is indeed a wondrous country with an incredible history, fabulous culture and architecture, terrific food, friendly and welcoming people to say nothing of the great opportunity to see how Turkish Muslims live their faith on a daily basis.

The trip was the more enjoyable, thanks to the incredible insights given by our tour director Kerim Khan and his wife Seniha as well as the great travel companions. Having traveled to numerous countries, I can greatly appreciate all the work that went into preparing and coordinating the trip.

The IDI and their counterpart in Turkey, BAKIAD, did a fantastic job. By far the best and most rewarding part of the trip was the dinners we had with local families. Their hospitality was incredible. I found these hosts to be not only welcoming but very open, frank and willing to discuss a myriad of topics from their faith, to education, to the economy and relations with other countries and cultures.

This trip has certainly opened my eyes and made me realize how similar our fears and aspirations are. It has given me a much better understanding of Islam and the need for continued Dialogue between our faiths to make this world we all live in a better place. The only negative comment I can make is that the ten days we spent in Turkey was far too short a time. I am looking forward to returning to Turkey in the spring of 2011, this time for a whole month. To the members of IDI, many thanks for this wondrous opportunity.

Sgt. Daniel Ste-Marie

Immigration and Passport/Special Investigations Section (IPSIS) – Royal Canadian Mounted Police

 

In many ways this was the best trip we have ever taken. The generosity and hospitality of the Turkish organizers and hosts made us feel welcomed and very, very well taken care of. The beauty and diversity of the country makes it difficult to get a real sense of the people and history in only a week, but this trip is organized in such a way as to give the maximum exposure to Turkey’s many national treasures. We really had a great time. The best aspect of this trip is the access you have to the Turkish people, from all walks of life, and their patience and willingness to share and explain their culture. This trip is a marvelous opportunity to glimpse a country and its people in a way no average tourist tour could.

Tanya Byrant & Juan Miranda – Ottawa Residents

 

THE BEST ASPECT OF THIS TRIP IS THE ACCESS YOU HAVE TO THE TURKISH PEOPLE, FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, AND THEIR PATIENCE AND WILLINGNESS TO SHARE AND EXPLAIN THEIR CULTURE.

Our trip to Turkey was an amazing experience. Our hosts welcomed us into their communities and homes with open arms and they took great pride in introducing us to all aspects of their culture, including their history, their faith-and their food! During the trip, I gained an even greater respect for the Islamic faith, and especially its role in Turkish culture. I came away with the assurance that true Islam promotes peace among all faiths and cultures-and that the key is Dialogue among friends.

We never feared for our safety. Yes, we stayed at first-class hotels and were led by a Turkish-speaking guide, but it was more than that. The warmth in the actions and words of all the people that we met assured us that we were always among friends.

Paul Sales, Gift Planner for Montreal and Ottawa Conference, The United Church of Canada

 

Over the course of my visit to Turkey I enjoyed not only the amazing historic and natural sites of interest but also the warmth of hospitality at dinners and receptions in  the homes of our hosts.  These people introduced us to their families and served up amazing meals.  From the opening day of learning about Istanbul and the beauties of the Turkish coastline all the way through all the other interesting places and ending in Ankara the trip was a fascinating experience.  There were so many happy memories for me but perhaps my favourite was being able to see Konya and learn first hand about the distinctive religious and cultural traditions which originated in Turkey.  Izmir was also a treat as I come from Canada’s Atlantic Provinces and it was great to enjoy another coastal experience.

Let me also express my appreciation for our guides who gave generously of their time and enthusiasm.  Their assistance helped make the trip the great experience it was.

Hugh Melon

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