McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies

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McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies
McGhee Center logo.jpg
Formation 1989
Type Academic center
Coordinates 36°32′1.4″N 31°59′45″E / 36.533722°N 31.99583°E / 36.533722; 31.99583Coordinates: 36°32′1.4″N 31°59′45″E / 36.533722°N 31.99583°E / 36.533722; 31.99583
Dr. Kay Ebel
Parent organization
Georgetown University
Affiliations Koç University

The McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies is an overseas academic center operated by Georgetown University in Alanya, Turkey. The McGhee Center was founded in 1989 after Ambassador George Crews McGhee, former United States Ambassador to Turkey and West Germany, donated his Mediterranean villa to Georgetown University to create a center for the study of the history and culture of Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean. The McGhee Center is academically affiliated in Turkey with Koç University and offers three types of programming: semester abroad, the Summer Institute in Intensive Turkish Language, and study tours and short programs.

The McGhee Villa and Student Residence[edit]

The Villa was built in the 1830s.

The principle facility of the McGhee Center is the 'McGhee Villa', an Ottoman-era mansion located in the historic district of Alanya, within the old walled city overlooking the harbor. The villa was built in the early nineteenth century by a local Orthodox Christian merchant who specialized in the export of timber to Egypt. After World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Alanya’s trade routes were severed and its Christian community departed for Greece. The villa, like many of Alanya’s grand old Ottoman homes, fell into disrepair and was gradually abandoned as more and more families came to prefer the comfort and convenience of modern apartment buildings. The villa was noticed by George McGhee and his wife Cecilia on a visit to Alanya during his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey in the 1950s. McGhee purchased the property in 1968 and renovated it for his family’s use. In 1989 he donated the villa to Georgetown University with the intention that it should be used as a center of learning and scholarship.[1]

Students and guests at the McGhee Center attend classes, meetings, special events, and take meals at the villa. The villa also houses a library, study areas, kitchen, faculty and staff offices, and space for visiting lecturers. The property includes a terraced garden that rises behind the villa, with a gazebo that has views of the sea and the city. The gardens are planted with tangerine, olive, lemon, pomegranate, bougainvillea, cypress, oleander, loquat, oregano, and cactus.[2]

Students at the McGhee Center are lodged in a student residence, an apartment building located halfway between the villa and downtown Alanya.[3]

Academic programs[edit]

Students present research at Side, Turkey

Semester Abroad Program[edit]

The semester abroad program is the oldest and most established program at the McGhee Center.[citation needed] From 1990-2008 it was offered as a spring semester program, but beginning in Fall 2008 it was offered in the fall semester instead.[needs update]

The semester begins with a two-week orientation program in Istanbul and Ankara, with excursions to Bursa and Edirne. Following orientation, classes begin in Alanya. Weekly excursions from Alanya introduce students to the cities and monuments of southern Turkey, complementing classroom study with field experience. Destinations include Antalya, Konya, Aspendos, Perge, Side, Anamur, and Antioch. A ten-day mid-semester study tour to Syria offers another perspective on the Eastern Mediterranean and an opportunity to visit early Christian, Islamic, and Crusader monuments as well as the modern Arab cities of Damascus and Aleppo.[citation needed] In years when political conditions do not permit the Syria excursion to run, the group travels instead in central and eastern Turkey.[needs update]

The language of instruction at the McGhee Center is English. The curriculum is interdisciplinary. Students in the program typically represent a wide range of faculties and majors.[citation needed] Courses of study on offer vary from year to year according to the specialization of visiting faculty. Course offerings in recent years[when?] have included:

  • Cultural Geography of Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean
  • History of the Crusades
  • Introduction to Architectural History Through the Monuments of Turkey
  • Pirates, Soldiers, and Diplomats: Islam and the West, 1450-1800
  • Empires and the Greater Middle East, 1453-2005
  • Environments of the Mediterranean
  • From the Village to the Internet: Contemporary Cultural Politics in Turkey
  • Encounters in Literature: The Ottoman Legacy
  • Political Economy of the Middle East.
  • Turkish language (all levels)

Some courses offer the option to earn additional academic credit by engaging in service learning activities with local educational and environmental organizations in Alanya.

The semester abroad program is open to undergraduate university students. Applications for the fall semester abroad are normally due during the preceding February and are made to Georgetown University's Office of International Programs. Competitive scholarships for participants in the semester abroad are provided with support from the Institute of Turkish Studies and the Turkish Cultural Foundation.

Summer Language Program[edit]

During the summer the McGhee Center hosts the Summer Institute in Intensive Beginning Turkish Language. The summer institute runs for eight weeks between mid-June and mid-August. Students receive 20 hours per week of Turkish language instruction and participate in cultural programming including field trips, lecture and film series, and Turkish conversation practice sessions.

The Summer Institute in Intensive Turkish is part of the Critical Languages Scholarship Program operated by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) with funds provided by the U.S. Department of State. This program is designed to promote the study of less commonly studied languages that are deemed crucial to diplomacy, commerce, and international security. The program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students as well as some early career professionals. Only U.S. citizens are eligible. Successful applicants receive full scholarships including tuition, travel and stipend.[citation needed]

Other programs[edit]

Other programs and opportunities at the McGhee Center include alumni tours and workshops, seminars, or retreats organized within Georgetown University and Koç University, or hosting of events organized in cooperation with external organizations. The villa also hosts a program on the Roman Empire,[4] a Georgetown University summer program directed by Dr. Josiah Osgood and Dr. Charles McNelis of the Department of Classics. This program ran for two weeks in late May and early June 2008, visiting Roman historical and archaeological sites in Istanbul and the Aegean and Mediterranean regions of Turkey. The second week of the program was spent in residence at the McGhee Center.[needs update]


The McGhee Center is on a peninsula above the Mediterranean Sea.

Permanent Faculty[edit]

Dr. Scott N. Redford is the Faculty Director and founding architect of the semester abroad program.[citation needed] He is Associate Professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and Director of the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations at Koç University in Istanbul. He specializes in the history of art, architecture, landscape, and archaeology of the Seljuk dynasty and late medieval Anatolia. His publications include Landscape and the State in Medieval Anatolia[5] and The Archaeology of the Frontier in the Medieval Near East[6] At the McGhee Center Professor Redford teaches Introduction to Architectural History and History of the Crusades.

Dr. Kathryn A. Ebel is Academic and Administrative Director of the McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Georgetown University.[citation needed] She is the on-site administrator for all programs at the McGhee Center and is responsible for program development and coordination. A specialist in the cultural and historical geography of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, her forthcoming book is titled City Views, Imperial Visions: Cartography and the Visual Culture of Urban Space in the Ottoman Empire 1453-1603.[7][needs update] At the McGhee Center she teaches Cultural Geography of Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Visiting faculty[edit]

Visiting faculty at the McGhee Center in recent years[when?] have included:[citation needed]

  • Dr. Lauve H. Steenhuisen, (Theology, Georgetown University)
  • Dr. Gabor Agoston (History, Georgetown University)
  • Dr. Timothy Beach (Environmental Science, Georgetown University)
  • Dr. Sylvia Önder (Turkish Language and Culture, Georgetown University)
  • Dr. Faruk Tabak (Ertegün Chair of Turkish Studies, Georgetown University)
  • Dr. Jo Ann Moran Cruz (History, Georgetown University)
  • Dr. John McNeill (University Professor of World History, Georgetown University)
  • Dr. Barbara Stowasser (Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Director Emerita of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies)

Turkish Language Instructors[edit]


  1. ^ McGhee, George; Cecilia McGhee (1992). Life in Alanya. Benson, Vermont: Chalidze Publications. ISBN 1-56541-217-6. 
  2. ^ "Living History". Blue & Gray. Spring 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  3. ^ Office of International Programs, Georgetown University
  4. ^ The Roman Empire in Turkey
  5. ^ Redford, Scott; Timothy Beach; Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach (200). Landscape and the State in Medieval Anatolia: Seljuk Gardens and Pavilions of Alanya, Turkey. Oxford: Archaeopress. ISBN 1-84171-095-4. 
  6. ^ Redford, Scott; Gil J. Stein; Naomi F. Miller; Denis C. Hodges (1998). The Archaeology of the Frontier in the Medieval Near East: Excavations at Gritille. Philadelphia: University Museum Publications, University of Pennsylvania. ISBN 0-924171-65-0. 
  7. ^ Ebel, Kathryn A. (Forthcoming). City Views, Imperial Visions: Cartography and the Visual Culture of Urban Space in the Ottoman Empire 1453-1603. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]