Students participate in Truman’s Middle East study abroad programOctober 5, 2014
Pictured in front of the Treasury Building in Petra, Jordan are the 12 students who participated in last summer’s Middle East Study Abroad course offered by Truman’s Study Abroad Program and led by PHRE professor Dr. Mark Appold. Back row: Alex Nyquist, Carnahan Lovewell, Ingrid Roettgen, Caitlyn Bess, Erin Nyquist, and Molly Turner. Front row: Sean Lynn, Aaron Gershman, Dr. Mark Appold, Lillianna Burrow, Trent Hoover, Elizabeth Ward, and Lauren Hennenfent.
The course included four weeks of exploration and study in Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank. In Jordan students visited ancient and modern sites including crusader castles, remains of a Herodian fortress, Islamic desert castles, the Jordanian capital of Amman, the famous Decapolis city of Jerash, and the lost city of Petra, discovered in 1812 in the mountains of Jordan by the Swiss explorer, Johan Burkhardt. The Treasury building was featured in the Indiana Jones film, “The Last Crusade” where it served as a secret temple lost for centuries. For two weeks students lived in a Jewish kibbutz and worked on the archaeological site at Bethsaida, once a capital city during the Iron Age and home to the Geshurites who had relations with King David of Israel, and then centuries later a small fishing village that played a primary role in the ministry of Jesus.
The final week was spent in Jerusalem in a pilgrim house that served as base for three days of exploring ancient sites in Old Jerusalem and one day in new Jerusalem. Lessons in the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict were central during the time in the West Bank and Bethlehem, particularly on the last day when the trip to Hebron was cut short by the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers there and the subsequent Gaza invasion with its violent destruction.