Stanford suspends Istanbul Program due to security concerns

The university hopes to renew the program next year, if the situation improves in Turkey.

stifos/ Shutterstock Istanbul skyline

Stanford will postpone the planned Istanbul Overseas Studies Program for Winter Quarter 2015-2016 due to concerns about security issues.

Stanford has decided to postpone the Winter Quarter 2015-2016 session of the Istanbul Overseas Studies Program, citing a recent Turkey Travel Warning issued by the U.S. State Department and rising concerns among students about traveling to the country, Ramón Saldívar, director of the university's Bing Overseas Studies Program, announced today.

Saldívar said he made the decision to suspend the upcoming session after careful deliberation and in consultation with Harry J. Elam, Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education, Provost John Etchemedy, and other university leaders.

In recent months, he said, Stanford students and their families have expressed concern about travel to Turkey, resulting in numerous withdrawals from the program.

"The U.S. State Department travel warning – coupled with the fact that enrollment in the program has dropped in the past month from 25 students at the beginning of the recruitment period to the current level of 10 – convinces me that we should not proceed with the winter quarter session," said Saldívar, who also is a professor of English and comparative literature at Stanford.

Stanford launched the one-quarter program Winter Quarter 2014-2015. 

Saldívar emphasized that the Istanbul Program has been postponed – not cancelled – and that he hopes to renew it next year, assuming security has improved.

"This additional time will allow for security issues perhaps to be resolved or to have reached further clarity," he said. "While our commitment to the Istanbul Program remains strong, our primary concern must be the well-being of our students."

He said the students enrolled in the Istanbul program will be offered three options: automatic admission to the Autumn 2016-2017 quarter in Istanbul; the opportunity to transfer to this year's winter quarter programs in Kyoto or Madrid (which both have language prerequisites) or Berlin; not attend any overseas programs this year and re-apply for any of the programs during the 2016-2017 academic year.