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Periclean Scholars project helps with Expo 2020 bid

An Elon University professor and an alumnus visited Paris to help a Turkish city make its case for being awarded the bid to host the expo.

Jack Dodson '12 (left) and Professor Tom Arcaro were onstage in Paris on Nov. 22, 2012, to assist the city of Izmir, Turkey, with making its bid to host Expo 2020.


It started as a modest film project.

The Periclean Scholars Class of 2012 last spring created a short online video trailer for a documentary students were producing about health care access for India’s poorest citizens. India had been their focus for three years in the Periclean Scholars program, which challenges students in each class to work with faculty advisers to think critically as global citizens while engaging in projects of lasting social change.

Led by Associate Professor Martin Kamela, scholars researched health, philanthropy and social issues in the world’s largest democracy, even partnering with the nonprofit Comprehensive Rural Health Project to raise money for adolescent female health initiatives.

The title of the Periclean Scholars’ new 53 minute documentary: “Health for All.”

This fall, the former student leading the film project – Jack Dodson, now an Elon University alum from the Department of English – received an email from the man leading Izmir, Turkey’s bid to host Expo 2020. The city of nearly 3 million residents on the Mediterranean Sea had chosen “Health for All” as the theme for their bid and an online search uncovered the video trailer.

Izmir leaders wanted to use the Periclean Scholars film as part of their bid to host the expo, which can bring tens of millions of visitors to the region and, by extension, hundreds of millions of dollars. And they wanted Elon University to be a part of a formal 20-minute presentation to the organization that selects host cities, the Bureau of International Exhibitions.

On Thanksgiving Day.

In Paris.

From left: Professor Tom Arcaro, Dr. Shobha Arole, director of CRHP India, and Jack Dodson '12.

Dodson and Professor Tom Arcaro, director of Project Pericles, both represented Elon University on Nov. 22, 2012, as Izmir leaders made their pitch. “Paris is one of those places where anyone would be excited to visit,” Dodson said. “I’m more surprised and excited that the project has taken on a life that’s gotten the issue of rural health international attention.”

However, the duo is even more excited about another element to Elon’s involvement in Izmir’s quest for Expo 2020. Because Izmir’s leaders wanted to demonstrate their commitment to “Health for All,” money being saved by the university’s involvement was reallocated to help the Comprehensive Rural Health Project break ground this winter on a new training center that ultimately will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Indians.

Will Izmir host the expo, perhaps in part because of the Periclean Scholars work to produce “Health for All”? No one can say right now. Russia, Brazil, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates are the other nations with competitive bids. A final decision arrives next fall.

In the meantime, the Comprehensive Rural Health Project training center will be built, and Indian lives will be saved. “It makes me both humble and excited just thinking about this.” Arcaro said. “The Class of 2012 continues to made a big difference out there.”

Eric Townsend,
11/24/2012 1:45 PM