WELLS RIVER -- Donna Waelter, a teacher of English, humanities and special education at the Blue Mountain Union School in Wells River, who lives in Groton, will travel to Turkey June 24 for a two-week study tour. Waelter is one of three Vermont high school teachers selected in a statewide competition.

The other two Vermont teachers are Kim Rizio, an English teacher at the Long Trail School in Dorset from Manchester Center, and Christopher Nezin, a middle school history teacher at Mount Abe who lives in Lincoln.

These teachers have been selected to travel to Turkey to learn about the country and bring their knowledge back to the classroom. They will join more than 100 teachers from across the United States this summer in learning about a country that has been at the crossroads of civilization for millennia and is today an emerging economic power and important broker between Europe, the Middle East and beyond.

The two-week program includes visits to important sites of antiquity such as Troy and Ephesus, sites of more recent historical importance such as Gallipoli, visits to schools and arts centers, meetings with local chambers of commerce and briefings on Turkey's domestic and foreign policy priorities. And of course, no visit would be complete without a performance by the whirling dervishes.

Waelter said, "I am honored to have the opportunity to explore the complexity of Turkey this summer. With a rich and ancient cultural heritage at the crossroads of two continents, its colors, sounds and fragrances are enticing, and I have long wanted to experience firsthand the "other" Middle Eastern democracy."

The Spotlight on Turkey Program is administered in Vermont by the Vermont Council on World Affairs, which is currently celebrating its 60th year of programming to "bring the world to Vermont and Vermont to the world." The program is sponsored by the World Affairs Councils of America, a national umbrella organization of almost 100 world affairs councils nationwide, and by the Turkish Cultural Foundation.

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