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Filled with excitement about the Middle East after finishing his senior honors thesis in history on the decline and bankruptcy of the Ottoman Empire, Geoffrey Gresh ’02 accepted a post from American University in Cairo to study Arabic and work in its Islamic Art and Politics Rare Books Library.

A history and French graduate, Gresh had the opportunity to travel around the region and watch history unfold as Egyptians charged to the streets and paralyzed Cairo’s center for days in protest of the Iraq War.

His time in Egypt further drew Gresh toward the ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire that once ruled over three continents. Today he is a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar studying Turkish and international relations at Bosphorus University.

“It is a momentous time to be living in Istanbul as Turkey seeks accession into the European Union,” says Gresh. “While in Turkey, I have had the opportunity to visit some of its eight neighboring countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, and Iran. My trips have further exposed me to the fascinating ancient civilizations and wonderfully rich cultures of this part of the world.”

Gresh, who spent his junior year in France, notes that his Lafayette experience instilled in him an excitement for learning and an understanding of how the world operates.

“As alumni, I hope we will continue to motivate others to take the opportunity to travel the world and learn about it from a new perspective,” he says. “In an increasingly global world, there is still much more to be taught and learned. I hope we as a Lafayette community can continue striving for better understanding and acceptance of the many wonderful people, cultures, and religions of the world.”

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles