Monday, December 24, 2007


Expat Harem Contributor Susan Holm is Building Bridges

In a heartwarming chain of events, the Expat Harem anthology brought Susan Holm, the writer of "Conversion in Erzurum", back to the ancient Eastern Turkish city she fell in love with -- and renewed her philanthropic ties to Turkey.

Now a chaired professor of Modern Foreign Languages at Monmouth College, in 1966-68 Sue was a Peace Corps volunteer in Erzurum, teaching English at Atatürk University. She returned to Turkey in 1974-75, living in Ankara and Northern Cyprus.

Thirty-one years later, while giving an Expat Harem reading in North Carolina in March 2006, she met Emin Pamucak and Ismail Arslan of the
Bridge to Türkiye Fund (BTF), a charitable organization supporting disadvantaged segments of Turkish society. At their invitation, Sue returned to Erzurum and Hasankale to tour a school that BTF helps. She also visited her former workplace Atatürk University to visit physicians who participate in a cleft palate surgery project funded by BTF. She met one of the families whose young son had benefitted from the surgery.

Sue joined forces with BTF to participate in a playschool project with her circle of friends. Recently completed, the Çiçek Playschool Playground in Mamak, Ankara provides a safe environment for toddlers of socio-economically struggling women.

Ellerine sağlık, Sue!

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