Dr. Mark Fairchild: Fulbright Scholar in Turkey

This morning I opened my email to discover a much-anticipated post from the Fulbright Scholarship Board. Back in December 2020 I was informed that I was chosen as a Fulbright Scholar by the United States Fulbright Committee. At that time, they mentioned that this was the first step in the process. Over the next several months my application would be reviewed by the Turkish Fulbright Board, and if approved, my application would be examined by the U.S. State Department. With great hope and trepidation, I opened the email this morning (April 23) to discover that I have been granted final approval for the award and have been named a 2021-2022 Fulbright Scholar.

Huntington University has also graciously given me a sabbatical to coincide with the Fulbright Scholarship. While in Turkey, I will be working with scholars and archaeologists at Uludağ University in Bursa. The upshot of the award is that I will be spending the next year engaged in research with Turkish and French scholars on the newly discovered submerged basilica at Iznik (ancient Nicea). I previously wrote an article on this discovery that you can read on my website: www.AncientBiblicalWorld.com My preliminary investigations suggested that this basilica may be the church where the famed Council of Nicea first met during the reign of the emperor Constantine. A French film company will be following us around in Turkey to film the project, and they will come to the U.S. to interview me in the surroundings of Huntington University. We will also travel to the eastern U.S. to film and discuss an important related document in a museum in Baltimore.

It almost goes without saying that I am grateful and honored to be named a Fulbright Scholar. But I want to thank several people who assisted me in this process: President Sherilyn Emberton and Academic Dean Luke Fetters (Huntington University) who have encouraged me in my Turkish research; Karen Jones (HU) and Ken Hall (Ball State University), who provided academic references; and my Turkish friends Levent Oral, Benoit Hanquet, Davut Kil and Mustafa Şahin who have collaborated with me in research or have been faithful partners in my travels. I also want to acknowledge numerous Turkish friends who have spontaneously pointed the way or have spent hours with me at ancient sites. I have long-since forgotten many of their names, but I will not forget the gift of their friendship. Most of all, I want to thank my wife, Darlene, who has dealt with my long absences while in Turkey and has tolerated my inattention while at home. I am sure she expected more of me when we were first married. For my shortcomings, my Dear, I am sorry.