Prior to my travels with Rumi Forum, I was well aware of the strategic importance of Turkey to United States foreign relations in the Middle East. Turkey is figuratively and literally a bridge between West and East and a valuable ally in furthering U.S. friendships and trade relations in the region. What I didn’t know about Turkey was its culture and its people. I was eager to visit Turkey to meet elected officials, business leaders and educators – strengthening my knowledge of our important ally Turkey.
In order for me to perform my job duties as a Chief of Staff, it is imperative that I have the most comprehensive knowledge of foreign policy issues possible. Our visit to the capital city of Ankara provided me with the chance to have a constructive dialogue with Members of Parliament. These meetings were invaluable in gaining insight into Turkish foreign policy goals impacting the U.S.
The Turkish people are very friendly and ready to help wherever they can. The culture is full of color and life. We had the opportunity to have dinner with a Turkish family while in Ankara. This experience gave myself and other trip participants a close and personal experience of what daily life is for a Turkish family. They welcomed us into their home, fed us a wonderful meal and shared stories about their life and family. I can’t begin to fully express how appreciated they made our group feel.