This initiative is part of a broader program of experiential learning that began at UCI with educational trips to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. After organizing four successful trips to the Middle East, OTI developed the Armenia-Turkey project. In 2012, OTI had their first educational trip to Armenia and Turkey with students from UCI. In 2013, the Armenia-Turkey project expanded to UCLA and OTI had their second trip to region with student from both UCLA and UCI. We hope to continue the expansion of the Armenia-Turkey project to other UC campuses. These trips to Armenia-Turkey are the first of many to come.



 Curriculum of Student Trip to Turkey, Georgia and Armenia

June 17th - July 1st, 2013


Disclaimer: Sensitivity to cultural and religious practice and observance is a strong value of OTI. Any religious sites or events listed on the curriculum are meant for educational purposes only. All participants (students, faculty, staff) are provided opportunities to observe their own religious practices during the trip, including but not limited to prayer services; consumption or avoidance of specific foods; observance of holidays.


Monday - June 17thFlight to Istanbul

  • 3:30 pm meet at LAX
  • 6:20 pm leave LAX for Istanbul

Tuesday - June 18thIstanbul, Ankara

  • 7:10 pm Arrive at Istanbul Ataturk airport 
  • 11:00 pm Leave from Istanbul to Ankara 
  • 12:00 pm Arrive in Ankara
  • 1:00 am Check-in at Hotel in Ulus

Wednesday - June 19thAnkara

  • 9.00 am  Jeremy Salt, Professor in Bilkent University
  • 11.00 am Ataturk Museum and Tomb then lunch
  • 1.30 pm Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sabri Ergen head of the department
  • 4.00 pm Sadi Cayci, Professor at Baskent Uni.
  • 5.00 pm Turkkaya Ataov, retired ambassador
  • 7.00 pm  Dinner 

Thursday  June 20th Ankara,Van

  • 9.00 am  Leave Ankara from Esenboga Airport
  • 11.00 am Arrive at Van
  • 12.00 pm Van Breakfast
  • 1.00 pm Akhtamar Island and Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Church
  • 3.00 pm Van Zeve Memorial and Cemetery, interview with locals about the past Turkish Armenian relationships and the story of the Turkish people that were massacred in Van
  • 5.00 pm Van Castle and Urartian Fortress
  • 7.00 pm Check-in at Hotel

Friday  June 21stVan, Ararat/Agri, Kars

  • Leave Van early in the morning by bus
  • 9.00 am Van Cat House
  • 11.00 am Muradiye (Armenian: Berkri) Waterfall
  • 2.00 pm Ishakpasha Palace
  • 5.00 pm Ani Ruins
  • 7.00 pm Check in Hotel
  • 8.00 pm Interview with a local family about current Turkish Armenian relationships and the border issue

Saturday  June 22ndKars, Tbilisi

  • Leave Kars early in the morning by bus
  • 9.00 am Kars Citadel (Surb Arakelots/Holy Apostles Church, today called Kumbet Mosque) 
  • 4.00 pm Arrive in Tbilisi
  • 4:30pm Check in hotel
  • 6:00pm Caucasus House; meeting with Paata Zakareishvili and members of the Caucasus house.
  • 7:00pm Dinner in Tbilisi

Sunday  June 23rdTbilisi, Sanahin, Vanadzor, Yerevan

  • 9:00am ‘Sameba’ Georgian Church
  • 10:00am Khojivank, Armenian intellectuals pantheon in Tbilisi
  • 11:00am left Tbilisi for Armenia
  • 12:00pm Sanahin Cathedral and Monastery (Sanahin, Lorri Province, Armenia)
  • 1:00pm Lunch in Vanadzor
  • 9:00pm Check in at hotel

Monday  June 24thYerevan

  • 11:00am – Matenadaran, Grand Candy
  • 12:00pm – Cascade (Kaskad) and Cafesdjian Arts Complex
  • 1:00pm – Lunch
  • 3:00pm – meeting with Dr.Ruben Safrastyan at the Oriental Studies Institute
  • 5:00pm – meeting with Salpi Ghazarian – Civilitas Foundation
  • 6:00pm – meeting with Vartan Marashlyan, former deputy of the diaspora, and founder of Repat Armenia, and fellow repatriates.
  • 7:00pm – traditional Armenian dinner.

Tuesday  June 25thYerevan

  • 9:00am meeting with Vazgen Karapetyan and Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan of Eurasia Partnership foundation
  • 10:45am meeting with Tevan Poghosyan, Parliament of Armenia
  • 12:00pm Lunch at Tumanyan Shawarma
  • 2:00pm-  Saro Saroyan and Manvel Sargsian of the Center for National and International Studies after Raffi Hovhanissian
  • 3:00pm - Stop at Vernissage outdoor market
  • 4:00pm – Liana Sayadyan – Deputy Editor, HETQ investigative journalism
  • 5pm – Dinner
  • 7pm – meeting with George Tabakian and Gayane Gevorgyan, SAHMAN NGO

Wednesday  June 26th: Etchmiadzin, Yerevan

  • 9:00am Etchmiadzin Cathedral and museum
  • 12pm – Tsitsernakaberd, Armenian Genocide memorial complex
  • 2:00pm – meeting with Alen Amirkhanian, American University of Armenia (AUA)
  • 3:00pm – Ara Papyan, former ambassador to Canada, political analyst, and director of Modus Vivendi center for social science.
  • 8:00pm – Left Yerevan for Tbilisi. (Tbilisi flight to Istanbul)

Thursday  June 27thIstanbul

  • 8.30 am Arrive at Sabiha Gokcen Airport
  • 10.30 am Mustafa Akyol
  • 12.00 am Bulent Kenes, Today’s Zaman
  • 2.30 pm TESEV, Sabiha Gundoganlar, Aybars Gorgulu
  • 4:00 pm Laki Vingas (Representative of Ministry Communities Foundation in Turkey)
  • 5.30 pm Taksim Square
  • 7:30 pm Check-in Hotel 

Friday  June 28thIstanbul

  • 9:00 am Barcin Yinanc, Special Projects Editor of Hurriyet
  • 10:30 am Mensur Akgun (GPOT), Culture University
  • 2:00 pm Hrant Dink Foundation, Melisa Akan
  • 3.00 pm Rober Koptas , Editor-in-chief of Agos
  • 4.00 pm Etyen Mahcupyan, columnist Zaman, Agos
  • 5.00 pm Sabine Freizer (previously on International Crisis group)
  • 6.30 pm Nisantasi, Ortakoy

Saturday  June 29thIstanbul

  • 10:30 am Aram Ateshyan, Armenian Archbishop and the Armenian church of Istanbul
  • 12.00 am Visit to Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Grand Bazaar
  • 4.00 pm Osman Kavala, Anadolu Kultur
  • 7.00 pm Dinner

Sunday - June 30thIstanbul

  • 10.00 am Shopping in Sultanahmet
  • 12.00 am Visit to Prince Islands, Kinaliada, (home to a big Armenian community)  
  • 6.00 pm Galata Tower, Istiklal Avenue, Taksim

Monday  July 1st: Flight home

  • 12:45 pm Leave from Istanbul to LAX
  •  4:30 pm Arrival at LAX