Middle East Program Offers New Perspectives

This past summer, 12 students participated in the Middle East study abroad course offered by Truman and led by Mark Appold, associate professor of philosophy and religion.

Students tour the King Hussein Mosque in Amman, Jordan.

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.

Students visit the treasury building in Petra, Jordan.
Pictured, back row, left to right: Alex Nyquist, Carnahan Lovewell, Ingrid Roettgen, Caitlyn Bess, Erin Nyquist and Molly Turner. Front row: Sean Lynn, Aaron Gershman, Mark Appold, Lillianna Burrow, Trent Hoover, Elizabeth Ward and Lauren Hennenfent.  

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. It was once a capital city during the Iron Age and home to the Geshurites who had relations with King David of Israel. Centuries later the small fishing village 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 and Palestinian conflict were central during the time in the West Bank and Bethlehem.