Author and Academic Adventurer
In the summer of 2010, I organized an academic road-show through the Caucasus for select MSU student veterans of my Model Arab League and BSEC debate classes, which were playfully known as "Goltz's Gulag" among survivors. The official name was of the for-credit class was the "New Silk Road," and the sub-theme was "Adventures in Energy and the Environment." Joining the MSU "Zombies" (the self-adopted name of my MSU students, many who had never been outside the USA before) were students from Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, one of whom was Armenian. Starting in Baku, we wended out way over mountain and through refugee camp in Azerbaijan and Georgia to Ankara and then Istanbul. The grueling, three week trip was puctuated with meetings/lectures with high ranking experts, academics, four ministers, five deputy ministers and even an 'unplanned' midnight chat with (then) President Mikhail Saakashvili in Batumi, Georgia.
The end result was a book built around student essays clustered around road-notes by Yours Truly.
Sadly, I do not have an electronic link to the book or the event, but here is a taste of the adventurer from scanned versions of the cover, Table of Contents and some representative pix. I would like to think that most participants are still recovering from (and absorbing) the life-altering educational/eye-opening experience now four years after the fact.
The "Herder Of Cats" Thomas Goltz
Students Tour Baku Old City
Meeting With Az. Foreign Minister
Site of Elnur's former Refugee Camp
Ramadan Concert at Tauz
SOCAR Georgia Team on Border
Team at Stalin Museum, Gori
"Montana Room" at Free Uni, Tbilisi
Surprise Meeting with Saakashvili
Istanbul and the Enf of the Road
Gas Bomb at Yazilikaya (Hitittes)
Meeting with Turkish Energy Minister
Nihat Gokyigit and Botanical Garden
Session at BSEC HQ on Bosporus
NSR Farewell Cruise on Bosporus