Indiana University Bloomington

IU President Michael McRobbie to travel to Turkey

  • Sept. 19, 2014

Editor's note: This story from The Bloomington Herald-Times is being published here as a courtesy for readers of IU in the News.

By MJ Slaby

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie is embarking on another international trip to strengthen ties.

This time, the destination is Turkey -- it’ll be the first time a sitting IU president will visit the country since Herman B Wells in 1955.

This trip isn’t planned around a specific event, but it is part of IU’s international engagement strategy, said Mark Land, IU’s spokesman. He said Turkey is on a list of about 30 countries that IU is focused on due to those students coming to IU, IU students going there and other partnerships.

IU has long-standing ties to Turkey including a Turkish language program that began in the early 1940s and the Turkish Flagship program, which teaches students to be fluent in Turkish while pursuing an undergraduate degree. Turkey is also regularly in the top 10 countries of origin for IU international students.

“For more than 70 years, Indiana University has been a leading center in the United States for teaching and research in the areas of Turkish and Turkic languages and culture. … We are very enthusiastic about expanding upon our long history of engagement in this important part of the world,” McRobbie said in a press release.

The president's weeklong trip starts Sunday, and he will be meeting with government, university, philanthropy and business leaders. He will also speak at IU alumni events in Ankara and Istanbul.

On Tuesday, he’ll sign an agreement with Bogaziçi University to be a part of a Turkish government program that funds student and faculty exchanges between Turkish universities and others around the world.

Later in the week, he’ll meet with leaders from Middle East Technical University about education faculty exchanges and from Ankara University, which is host to IU students in intensive language programs. McRobbie will also award the Thomas Hart Benton medallion to IU alumnus Erdal Yildirim for his accomplishments in nonprofit management and philanthropy.

The trip is a smaller scale version of the longer, multiple country trip to Asia that McRobbie and other IU officials went on early this summer, Land said.  David Zaret, IU vice president for international affairs and Laurie Burns McRobbie, IU first lady will join the IU president on his trip to Turkey.

McRobbie’s last international trip for 2014 will be to Saudi Arabia and India around late October for the dedication of the IU office in India, Land said.