Anas Shallal, Businessmen and Peace Activist, talking about his trip to Turkey

 I am thoroughly impressed. If Turkey wants another citizen I may be applying so that could possibly happen. I found the whole organization of the trip the way that it was put together in such a thoughtful way that I think it really exceeded my expectations way beyond I could have ever imagined.  I have really enjoyed the culture immensely. I find the experience that we have that we were talking earlier today on the bus trying to figure out what was the best highlight of the trip, and I can’t think of the best highlight because each one of them was the best. I am forever appreciative for this opportunity. I could have come to Turkey on my own but I don’t think I could have seen it the way that you showed it to us Ali. I am looking forward to coming back to Turkey with my own family. Then I will be their tour guide at that point and show them around because I am really excited about the opportunity to do that. I want to be able to go to Konya and other parts that we didn’t see this time.

I like Istanbul, I like Izmir, I like Kayseri. All of them were beautiful beautiful cities, and the people we met were beautiful people. Some of the highlights were obviously the first I have seen the throne, where we were sitting on a boat, on the bus, experiencing all the beautiful sites this absolutely stunning city. And of course then being with the families was a whole different sort of outlook to the experience of what a typical Turkey family will be; I am not sure they are typical, but they had all the hospitality that I would expect from a culture like Turkey’s.  So I am just honored to be part of this hopefully very much growing community.

The schools were; I mean the idea that any organization that espouses to create world peace as part of their foundation and their mission is an organization that’s in my book worthy of anybody’s support. The schools were incredible. We went to the Fatih University today. To see that a university that has been operating only twelve years to have such a standard, certainly we didn’t see anything so specific .On the video the things we heard were quite encouraging. You have exceeded many universities that were around for long long time, much longer certainly than that, and what you have accomplished with eight thousand students already. Certainly the faculty seems to be extremely dedicated. To go to the elementary schools or high schools to see the caring and nurturing approach that you take toward your children and your; you know the idea that you speak about trying to start up more elementary schools because that’s where it starts. That’s the foundation that you talk about. I couldn’t agree with you more. Then being able to also to get a sense of the tolerance that I think is so apparent in this city, in Istanbul. The idea that, there is a certain; I don’t know; it is hard to explain really; there is a certain organic comfort in the way people perceive themselves and perceive others. The idea that you have three great religions that can coexist together is certainly exciting and encouraging; both well for the possibilities for the rest of the world try to emulate. I think Turkey has always been seen as a bridge literally and figuratively between East and West. The idea to have the bridge that spans the two continents speaks a lot.  I think it was destined to be a place where that type of peace and harmony can be encouraged and brought about. Cok tesekkur (Thanks so much)! All best of luck!

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