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Travel Programs

Civil Rights 2020


March 10 - 17, 2020

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This tour is now sold out and we have started a waitlist. To be placed on the list, please contact Distant Horizons directly at (800) 333-1240.

Hosts: Katherine Hite, Professor of Political Science on the Frederick Ferris Thompson Chair, and Taneisha Means, Assistant Professor of Political Science on the Class of 1951 Chair

Join faculty and fellow alumnae/i on a uniquely Vassar program which focuses on the Civil Rights Movement, perhaps the most significant movement to shape American history. We will begin in Jackson and travel to Little Rock, Memphis, Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery, visiting historic sites to explore the deep history of this struggle. We will visit the museums of memory and memorials that help us understand the connections of the past to the present and, along the way, we will meet with many of the figures who were involved.  Framed within the civil rights story are also the histories of the music and cuisine of the South to explore together.

  • Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
  • Medgar Evers Home Museum
  • BB King Museum
  • Emmett Till Interpretive Center
  • Little Rock High School, with Elizabeth Eckford, one of the nine African American students who broke the color barrier there in 1957
  • 16th Street Baptist Church
  • Brown Chapel African American Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration
  • Civil Rights Memorial
  • National Memorial for Peace and Justice
  • Conclude with a briefing at the Equal Justice Initiative

Cost:  $3,680 per person, double occupancy, plus airfare; single room supplement $980 (limited availability).

Tour provided by Distant Horizons (800) 333-1240.

Austria 2020

April 16 - 25, 2020

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Host: Jon Chenette, Professor of Music

Explore the history, music, fine art, and beautiful scenery as we journey through the cities of Vienna and Salzburg with musician and scholar Jon Chenette. In the year of Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th birthday, we will begin with a walking tour of Vienna to visit the palace of Beethoven's patron, Prince Lobkowitz, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum, featuring its special installation Beethoven.The Exhibtion. We will enjoy performances by the Vienna Philharmonic, with Zubin Mehta conducting and Pinchas Zukerman on violin; the Vienna Boys Choir; the Vienna State Opera's production of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier; a concert of Haydn symphonies at the Musikverein; and a Mozart dinner concert. Our tour takes us along the Danube Valley to include the town of Melk, where we will visit the fabulous Baroque Benedictine Abbey and take a short boat ride down the Danube - the best way to see the natural beauty of the Wachau Valley!

Cost:  $4,980, double occupancy, plus airfare; single room supplement $1,490.

Tour provided by Discover Europe (866) 563-7077.

Dublin and Belfast 2020

June 12 - 21, 2020

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Host:  Ron Patkus, Head of Special Collections and Adjunct Associate Professor of History on the Frederick Weyerhaeuser Chair

As summer begins, join Ron Patkus on a journey through the cities of Dublin and Belfast and the surrounding garden countryside. A special focus of the tour will be the long and noteworthy connections the two cities have had to the world of literature and libraries. In Dublin we will visit St. Patrick's Cathedral and the adjacent Marsh's Library, at Trinity College Library we will examine the 1,200-year-old-Book of Kells, and then on to the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle. A highlight will be the opportunity to attend events on June 16th, known as Bloomsday, the annual city-wide celebration of James Joyce's novel Ulysses and a performance at the Abbey Theatre.

In Belfast, we will tour the Titanic Museum and the Linen Hall Library. We'll spend a day out in the beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland, which has inspired so many creative works over the centuries, and then on to the Giant's Causeway, with its basalt columns receding into the ocean. Our last full day will take us to the seaside town of Malahide to explore its castle and gardens. Along the way, through lectures and casual conversations, Ron will share his expertise and enthusiasm for the literature, history, and culture of the two cities.

Cost:  $4370 per person (double occupancy), plus airfare. Single supplement is $990.

Tour provided by Discover Europe:  (603) 563-7077

Cultural Poland

July 11 - 19, 2020

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Host:  Paulina Bren, Adjunct Associate Professor of International Studies

Explore Poland's multi-faceted history and culture through this uniquely designed, seven-night itinerary. Visit four UNESCO World Heritage sites - the historic centers of Warsaw and Krakow, the solemn Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, and the masterfully carved Wieliczka Salt Mine. Discover Warsaw's dynamic past in its restored palace and the Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Uprising. Journey into Poland's spiritual heartland, Czestochowa, to see the Black Madonna icon in the Pauline Monastery of Jasna Gora. In Krakow, tour the Jewish heart of Kazimierz, visit the Gothic Mariacki Church and the ancient Royal Castle on Wawel Hill. Specially arranged cultural enrichments will include a panel with local residents, a recital of music by celebrated Polish composer Chopin, and meals featuring authentic cuisine. Enjoy ideally located, deluxe accommodations in Warsaw and Krakow.

Cost:  The Early Booking Discount has been extended to March 31, 2020! $3,795 per person (double occupancy), plus airfare. Single supplement is $1000. After March 31, the cost will increase by $600. We are pleased to share this departure with alumni from Oberlin College and their faculty host.

Tour provided by Thomas P. Gohagan & Co. (800) 922-3088 or (312) 609-1140.

Vietnam Explored: A Journey Through Its History and Culture

October 11 - 20, 2020

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This tour, originally planned for March 2020, has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Our travelers' safety is our primary concern. The new dates are October 11-20 for Vietnam and October 20-25 for the Cambodia post-tour extension. The itinerary remains the same. Promotional emails will follow shortly.

Hosts: Robert K. Brigham, the Shirley Ecker Boskey Professor of History and International Relations, and Monica Church, Advisor to PHOCUS and the Baldeck Photographic Center.

Vietnam is known as a land of incredible beauty with dramatic landscapes and a fascinating history. Our Vassar hosts will take us on an exploration of a country they know extremely well. Time in Hanoi allows us to take in the city’s colorful Old Quarter, its historical highlights, and its many museums. We will meet the people primarily responsible for Vietnam’s remarkable transformation into one of the most dynamic countries in Asia. A morning flight takes us to Hue, the last imperial capital of Vietnam. We will enjoy a boatride in Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its majestic karst limestone mountains jutting out of the water. We next fly to Da Nang in Central Vietnam. A short drive takes us along the famous China Beach en route to Hoi An, another UNESCO World Heritage site, with its eclectic mix of architecture showcasing old houses in French, Chinese and Japanese styles, all of which miraculously escaped the ravages of war. We end the trip in bustling Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), a mix of old and new that makes the perfect bookend for the journey.

Professor Brigham's area of scholarship is the Vietnam War and he will offer lectures throughout the tour, as well as specially arranged meetings with diplomats, writers, and artists. Sites such as the "Hanoi Hilton" and the War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace will be visited. Using his recently discovered father's combat photos (U.S. Marine Corps Sargent Bruce Allen Atwell), Professor Brigham will help us to understand the 1968 Tet Offensive in Hue, the week of the most intense urban fighting during the entire war. 

Optional post-tour extension to Cambodia begins with the capital city of Phnom Penh. Once the “Pearl of Asia,” Phnom Penh’s glory was tarnished by the impact of war and revolution. But the city has since risen from the ashes to take its place among the emerging capitals of the region. Upon arrival we will drive to the site of Cheoung Ek, known to the world as the Killing Fields, where the Khmer Rouge executed over one million people. Today, a Buddhist stupa commemorates those who perished here. We will continue our journey in Siem Reap, home to one of Indochina’s most magnificent sites, the temples of Angkor. Ornamented by the finest artisans of its time, once redolent with incense and prayer, Angkor was lost beneath the sands of time only to be rediscovered at the opening of the last century.

Cost: $7,170 per person, double occupancy, plus airfare; single room supplement is $1,710. Post-tour extension to Cambodia is $2,310; single room supplement is $970.

Tour provided by Authentic Asia (888) 586-9958.

Island Life in Ancient Greece


October 22 - 30, 2020

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This tour is currently sold out. To be placed on the waitlist, please contact Gohagan & Co. at (800) 922-3088 or (312) 609-1140.

Host: Kirsten Menking, Professor of Earth Science on the Althea Ward Clark Chair

Once again, Vassar alumnae/i, their families and friends are invited to explore the Greek Islands on a nine-day Aegean odyssey aboard the five-star ship Le Bougainville. Our round-trip cruise from Athens will take us to the islands of Delos, Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, and Santorini, and the Peloponnese Peninsula. We will visit extraordinary Meteora, where 14th- and 15th-century monasteries stand high atop natural and sandstone pinnacles, and we will walk through legendary sites of antiquity, including the ancient citadel of Mycenae and historic Epidaurus. Along the way, we will meet local residents during the specially arranged Island Life Forum for a personal perspective on the true character of the Aegean Sea's maritime culture.

Athens pre-cruise and ancient Olympia post-cruise options are also available.

Cost: An Early Booking Discount of $1000 per person is in effect through March 10.  Cabin catergories range from $4,895 per person (double occupancy) to $13,495. After March 10, prices will increase by $1,000. Single category cabins are very limited; please call Gohagan & Co. for options. 

Tour provided by Thomas P. Gohagan & Co. (800) 922-3088 or (312) 609-1140.

Cruising the Antiquities of the Red Sea and Aegean Sea, including a Transit of the Suez Canal

October 29 - November 11, 2020

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Host:  Anne Pike-Tay, Professor emerita of Anthropology

Enshrined with more than 5000 years of human history, the storied lands of Jordan, Egypt and Greece stand at the crossroads of religious faith and cultural enlightenment. Portals of antiquity lead to a treasure trove of ancient wonders. This custom-designed, 14-day journey to the classical world's "cradle of civilization" will take us to three continents, as we navigate the legendary waterways of the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Aegean Sea, transit the Suez Canal and experience nine UNESCO World Heritage sites. Cruise for eight nights. See the Great Pyramids and, mid-cruise, overnight in Luxor with a Nile-view room. Follow in the footsteps of Bedouins across Wadi Rum, an orange-hued sea of sand where Lawrence of Arabia established his base. View antiquities spanning 7000 years at the Egyptian Museum. It's a once-in-a-lifetime journey!

Cost: An Early Booking Discount is in effect through March 30th. Cabin categories range in price from $7,695 per person (double occupancy) to $17,195. Single cabins are very limited; please see brochure for details.

Tour provided by Thomas P. Gohagan & Co. (800) 922-3088 or (312) 609-1140.