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“This is our Taksim, this is our Istanbul!”


Thirteen MSGL students, along with 24 MBA/International MBA; 14 M.S. in Executive Leadership and 9 Monterrey TEC students, are in Istanbul, Turkey this week participating in a USD study abroad program focused on graduate level global business topics. Arriving from Berlin, Germany after their first week of study, most of the MSGL students had no idea they would be leaving the stable (and almost stoic) environ of western Europe for a powder keg battle for Turkey’s future centered just blocks from their hotel in Taksim Square.

Nightly, tens of thousands of Turkish citizens have been streaming into the square loudly calling for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to step down. Protests, that started as an outcry against a local development project in Taksim Square, have snowballed into widespread anger against what critics say is the government’s increasingly authoritarian agenda that threatens the basic rights of citizens here in Turkey.

Protestors Gathering at Taksim Square

Protestors Gathering at Taksim Square

“We are among a diverse people all seeking a common goal – it’s inspiring,” said Jeff  Haislet (Full-time MBA student). “It is very interesting that the Turkish people are thanking us (non-Turks here in Istanbul) for being here and supporting their cause,” shares Scott Mackin (Part-time MBA student).

“I feel honored to be witness to the Turkish people, especially the women, fighting for their freedom of thought and freedom of voice,” emphasized Trish Mahler (MSGL, Cohort 57).

“While initially we discouraged students from venturing into the throes of the protests, the generally peaceful demonstrations have been too much of a lure to our students’ global policy interests to keep them away,” says Stephanie Kiesel, Director of the MSGL program who is accompanying the students in Turkey.

The students will be heading home on Saturday, but will likely never forget their opportunity to be present in Turkey at a time when cries of “This is our Taksim, this is our Istanbul!” rang in the air.

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