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Scarsdale Student Awarded Prestigious Scholarship for Program in Turkey

kochThis June, Scarsdale High School Senior Robert Koch will travel to Turkey to represent the United States at People to People International's (PTPI) Peace Camp. Koch will join 29 other students, who will represent a total of 27 countries. More than 400 students applied to take part in Peace Camp, and Koch was one of only four Americans awarded the coveted scholarship.

Additional countries represented include Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, India, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Moldova, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Panama, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam. Via Facebook, the selected participants have already begun communicating, discussing topics ranging from prom (or a similar concept in other countries) to an examination of hatred and violence sparked by the recent burning of the Koran in the United States and the reaction in Afghanistan.

While in Turkey, Koch will participate in 18 hours of curriculum designed to enhance listening, communication, and conflict management skills. The goal of the program is to create a safe environment where outstanding young people of different nationalities and religions may freely express their views and experiences. Students will discuss world issues, religion, cultural diversity, conflict resolution and other important topics. In addition, they will have the opportunity to travel throughout the country, visiting Istanbul, Cappadocia, Izmir and Antalya, learning firsthand about Turkey's people, culture and history.

“Being selected for such a prestigious program means the world to me. I am really excited to be traveling to Turkey this summer to meet fellow students from around the world” said Koch. Koch traveled with People to People Ambassador Programs last summer to Spain, France and Italy and this year, when he noticed that scholarships for summer travel were available he applied. During the trip Koch hopes “to learn about other cultures, especially those he has never experienced before in the Middle East and Asia.” He also “hopes to make new friends with whom he can share the culture of Scarsdale.” At home he enjoys playing the guitar, flying, photography and ceramics. At SHS he is active in “Missing in Action” a group that raises money to donate to children and families coping with grief. Bound for college next fall, Koch plans to major in International Studies.

The inaugural Peace Camp program was held in Egypt in 2005. It was the brainchild of PTPI President/CEO Mary Jean Eisenhower, who understands the importance of nurturing the next generation of emerging youth leaders, and instilling in them a greater understanding of the similarities between cultures, in order to ensure a more peaceful future worldwide.

People to People International, with World Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri USA, was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on September 11, 1956 to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures. Today, PTPI has a presence in 135 countries with more than 80,000 families and individuals actively participating in People to People International programs. Visit www.ptpi.org for more information.

Phot:  Koch (plaid shirt) in Barcelona after learning how to cook Paella.

 

 

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