Iowa-Turkey Connections

The Honorable Fatih Yildiz, Consul General of the Republic of Turkey to Chicago, recently visited the UI for a talk on Turkish Foreign Policy in a Changing World. In honor of his visit, we have compiled a few examples of how the University of Iowa and Turkey are connected.

UI students Nick Hallman and Elijah Fleming visit Topkapi Palace in Istanbul in fall 2012. Hallman was studying international relations and history at Bogazici University when Fleming came to visit.

Exchanges and Study Abroad

In 2011-2012, 11 University of Iowa students studied abroad in Turkey, making it one of the top 20 countries in the world where UI students chose to study abroad last year. There are 35 international students from Turkey studying at the University of Iowa.

A new reciprocal exchange program between the University of Iowa and Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey, allows UI undergraduates to spend a semester or academic year of study in Turkey while fully integrated with Turkish students in student housing and regular classes. Course work is available in the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, engineering, education, and Turkish language and literature, and students are encouraged to participate in club activities during their stay, since that is an excellent way to mingle with Turkish students.

UI College of Engineering students traveled to Turkey for the “International Perspectives in Water Resources Science and Management” course, which takes students to a different country or world region each year for an in-depth analysis of the historical, cultural, social, economic, ethical, and environmental issues impacting water resources. The short course took place in 2005 at the Middle East Technical University (METU), in Ankara. In 2013, the UI College of Engineering signed an agreement with METU to establish future short-term student exchanges.

Zuhal Kasmer teaches local students about Turkey
Zuhal Kasmer teaches local students about Turkey


The University of Iowa community has been fortunate to have two Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) in the past couple of years. Ezgi Bircan Bahçe and Zuhal Kasmer each spent a year at the university teaching Turkish language classes to UI students and community member, taking graduate-level coursework of their own, and serving as cultural ambassadors for their country. They visited area classrooms to talk about Turkey and participated in events on campus like language fairs and culture nights.

Research Highlights

Volker Thomas
Volker Thomas

Professor Volker Thomas of the UI College of Education has collaborated on an international cross-cultural study, “The Treatment Effectiveness of Filial Therapy,” with Dr. Nilufer Kafescioglu, assistant professor of psychology at Doğuş University in Istanbul, Turkey, for the last two years.  The researchers seek to understand how effective Filial Therapy is in improving child behaviors of “at risk” pre-school children, and how effective Filial Therapy is in improving family interactions, such as problem solving and communication. They will compare results across samples collected in the U.S. of predominantly Caucasian families and collected in Turkey of SES matched families in Istanbul, Turkey.

Resmiye Oral
Resmiye Oral

Resmiye Oral, M.D., clinical professor of pediatrics in the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa, began educational activities in her home country of Turkey as early as 2002. Her seminars focused on establishing and increasing awareness of child abuse. In 2010, Dr. Oral helped establish the Ankara Children's Advocacy Center (CAC), a successful pilot program that led to the opening of another CAC in Izmir, Dr. Oral’s hometown. She has traveled to Turkey several times to train clinical staff and continue building and developing her connections with representatives from the Turkish ministries of health, justice, interior, social services, and education.

Brian J.K. Miller
Brian J.K. Miller

Brian J.K. Miller, a graduate student in Department of History specializing in Modern Europe and Turkey, is writing his dissertation on “Reshaping the Turkish Nation-State: Migrant Communities in Western Europe and Return Migration, 1960-1985.” He is currently conducting research in Turkey through an Institute for International Education (IIE) Graduate Fellowship for International Study and a DAAD Short-Term research grant.

See also:

Iowa-Malaysia Connections
Iowa-South Korea Connections
Iowa-Thailand Connections