Presenting Research In Istanbul, Turkey

Suzanne Neefus had a really neat opportunity to be a part of presenting research at a conference in Turkey. Here is a testimony she wrote about her experiences:

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a conference focused on religious liberty in Istanbul, Turkey! Dr. Kerton-Johnson was able to bring two of his student researchers along on this trip. Honors and the Women’s Giving Circle generous combined to make it possible for me to have this tremendous experience.

 The conference we attended was the annual meeting of the Religious Liberty Partnership, a collection of groups from around the globe working on religious freedom issues. The conference aims to foster collaboration between the many organizations working in the field, so its structure was designed to allow lots of free time for networking. Aaron Johnson and I had a number of excellent conversations with individuals who have years of experience working on religious freedom. I gained new perspective for the research that I am doing on trends in the United States by comparison with problem areas and trends in the rest of the world. I also attended a fascinating session discussing research methodology, and I hope to implement some of the ideas from that discussion into my continuing endeavors. Again, this conference was an excellent professional development experience because Aaron and I were the only students at this conference. We were able to make new connections with very senior level people in important religious freedom advocacy organizations. We also built on the connection we started with Tina Ramirez of the Becket Fund from when she was at Taylor earlier this semester.

Blue Mosque

  The Blue Mosque

Another highlight of the trip was exploring the city of Istanbul. This was my first time in Turkey, and we skipped several of the less interesting administrative sessions to go exploring. We toured the Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cisterns, and the Grand Bazaar (which you might recognize from the first scene in Skyfall).

–Suzanne Neefus

Hagia Sofia

Inside The Hagia Sofia, an ancient mosque valued by both Christians and Muslims

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