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ISTANBUL: a City suspended between dream and reality

By Franca Colozzo

If I had been told one day that I had to go to Istanbul, I would never have believed it. Yet from there my humanitarian and pacifist adventure began.

The beginning of my humanitarian experience’

When the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed me of my new destination after passing the language tests, I could not believe my ears. I was fascinatedby the idea of ​​Istanbul with its wonderful mosques and with its air of an old

lady like Agatha Christie.

A trip to Turkey is not just any trip, but the trip par excellence! Istanbul is a magical place, a surprising and dichotomous city with its ultra-modern steel bridges suspended over the Bosphorus, like arched dancers, joining the two opposite continents: Asia and Europe.

Istanbul: a dream between East and West, once a crossroads of all paths caravan, which branched off from there towards the Silk Road.

With its history layered over the millennia, Istanbul has brought about diversification of cultures heterogeneous, a jumble of religions and races, always in peaceful coexistence with each other.

But, beyond the beauty of the places, here is a breach in my heart in front of the poverty that we touched by the hand then.

Poor people on the street and especially children, put in the most disparate corners of the city to beg or to sell handkerchiefs. A coin dropped almost by chance into their cold hands was like a pain that was renewed every time in me.

The dichotomous side of the coin was my students, belonging to the Turkish upper class, who could afford exorbitant annual fees for enrollment in the Italian high school I.M.I., state-owned for Italians and private for Turks.

My mission, which later revealed its humanitarian aspect, was to teach Drawing, History of Art and Technology in Italian.

The initial difficulties encountered in transmitting knowledge were overcome by my predisposition to communicate a language, not just verbal, helping my students to overcome the initial difficulties.

Often the latter took two hours to get to school in the midst of the convulsive traffic of the megalopolis or came inside Lamborghinis or sparkling red Ferraris.

The Lyceum, with its team of Turkish and Italian teachers, represented a point of stability in the midst of the hectic life of a city that never sleeps.

The relationship established between me, my students, and their families was a harmonious cultural and human encounter.

I was able to graft my Italian culture on a fabric embroidered by magnificent mosques, the most beautiful in the world, and Byzantine churches asleep in the millennia of history.

So from my stay in Istanbul, a new inner journey began a new story that has led me here, on the threshold of the third millennium, to reshuffle my memories to give greater impetus to my thirst for humanitarianism and to my new mission for peace.


An Italian architect, writer, novelist, artist, poet, researcher, educationist, freelance journalist and Peace & Harmony activist ̶ is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Harmony Council ~ IHC, Sister Organization of INSPAD ~ Institute of Peace and Development, in Islamabad (PAKISTAN), thanks to its President & CEO, Dr. Muhammad Tahir Tabassum.

During the seven years spent in Istanbul on behalf of the Italian Foreign Ministry, thanks to her multi-ethnic and multi-cultural experience, she published catalogues and organized exhibitions of Art at the Italian High School I.M.I., the Italian Institute of Culture and the most prestigious universities in Istanbul (Turkey). Coming back to Italy in 2002, she conveyed her knowledge into the Italian teaching system through Art exhibitions about the artistic didactic path of her Italian High School students.

She was selected, in 2005, as E.N.D. OIB1 expert, Building Policy - GUIM 06/51, at the European Community of Bruxelles (BELGIUM).

Retired from teaching, she continues to practice as a part-time architect, painter and writer of poems, essays and novels, a freelance journalist. She obtained a lot of professional and academic awards from recognized international organizations.

Recently, her current focus is on writing articles, aphorisms, thoughts, essays, poems, etc., on Human Rights, Peace, environmental problems, refugees, women’s empowerment, education and health related programs, etc.

Nominated two years ago Global Goodwill Ambassador (GGA Director ~ ITALY)on behalf of the influencer Richard DiPilla (Virginia – USA), she is interested

in humanitarian and pacifist issues.

It once a crossroads of all paths caravan.

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