JAC Journey: 4 cities, 4 flights, 7 days

After 24 hours in transit I arrived in Istanbul to the most glorious lightning storm igniting the skies over the Bosphorus. Welcomed with white wine, candles, jazz music, and a view only seen in postcards, my new friend Ahu and I laughed, oohed, and awed at the colorful light show. The next day, after a flight to Ankara, I was reunited with my friend, advisor (and former Burning Man camp mate), Mustafa where we excitedly planned our next steps.

On the third day in country, I embarked on the third flight; headed toward Kahramanmars, in southern Turkey, where the heart of the story is located. We met with factory owners, machinists, and carpenters in this small provincial town to explore possibilities for providing living wage jobs to Syrian refugees. Met with enthusiasm, curiosity, and a healthy dose of skepticism, we were tasked with solving the next part of the puzzle - partnerships with NGOs and IGOs to successfully train and hire refugees. With our new objectives in hand, we darted off to Gaziantep to catch the closing hour at Zeugma Mosaic Museum before our near-midnight flight back to Ankara.

Now back in Ankara, this week is full of fascinating meetings with different UN officers; uncovering and unlocking the different approaches to public-private partnerships in addressing the Syrian crisis. Stay tuned for more on the JAC Journey in Week 2. Follow us on instagram @RefugeDesign, #jacjourney for photos and updates.

Ray Boyle