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"Kids are naturally curious, and they love to explore things they don't see every day," Galloway says. "The [Indianapolis International] festival may be the first — and for some kids, the only — chance to connect with other cultures and customs."

Headline: A world of possibilities

As vice president of Boyle Construction Management, Inc., Allen Galloway knows the building business. But Galloway — who earned a master's degree from the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI in 1985 — also is building something else near and dear to his heart: bridges linking Indianapolis with a world full of possibilities.

Outside of work, Galloway is the current president of the Nationalities Council of Indianapolis, Inc. (NCI), and in that role headed up the 2008 International Festival at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last November. The role, like his passion for all things international, comes naturally to the 50-year-old Galloway: after all, he was born in Turkey, the son of an American Air Force non-commissioned officer and a Turkish mother.

"I always tell people I am a product of the Cold War," Galloway laughs. "My dad was a Hoosier stationed in Turkey, and met my mother when she was interpreting for the Air Force."

Roots around the world

The SPEA graduate is proud of both halves of his heritage; in fact, he holds dual citizenship, after becoming an official Turkish citizen in 2006. He traces much of his international interest to "growing up in many places" as an Air Force kid. Being stationed abroad (in Turkey, West Germany and Libya) gave him a glimpse of a world that most of his fellow students never saw.

"Ever since I was young, I've been curious — I fell in love with geopolitics and economics," Galloway says.

He came to northeastern Indiana as a high school freshman, attending West Noble High School, and earned a bachelor's degree in political science and economics in 1981 after transferring from IPFW to IU-Bloomington. He later got a public management certificate from SPEA at IUPUI, where he earned his master's in financial administration in '85. Galloway says his interest in economics and finance is a departure from the "family business."

"My friends always thought I was destined for a post office career," he laughs. "After all, both my grandfathers were postmasters, one in Cromwell, Ind., and the other the postmaster general of Istanbul!"

His family history was so intriguing, in fact, that it was one of those included in the new book New Faces at the Crossroads: The World in Central Indiana (Indiana Press, 2007).

Spice of Life

Galloway's split heritage fueled an "interest in multiculturalism and diversity."

Getting to know people from other nations "is the spice of life for us — all these new people in our community are a great resource," he says. "They all have ties back to their homelands, and they talk about Indy and all the wonderful things happening here!"

That belief inspired Galloway to plunge headfirst into international life in his adopted hometown, where he settled in 1982.

"In my family, it's always been considered your civic duty to give back to the community," Galloway says. His two-year stint as president of the NCI is just one part of his community involvement, particularly its featured event: the Indianapolis International Festival.

"Our event shows the customs, the food, the sports and the heritage of other lands," he says. To Galloway, the International Festival is an educational event that just happens to be fun — or is that the other way around?

It's become a big hit with Indiana students in elementary, middle and high schools, too, something that doesn't surprise the curly-haired IUPUI grad a bit.

"Kids are naturally curious, and they love to explore things they don't see every day," Galloway says. "The festival may be the first — and for some kids, the only — chance to connect with other cultures and customs." Galloway is pleased that his alma mater played a pivotal role in the International Festival.

"Great community partners like IUPUI help make the festival a success," Galloway says. "IUPUI is so focused on international matters that it's a natural fit for them, and the campus is a great fit for us, too. We both consider it vital for Hoosiers to be exposed to the food, the entertainment and the music of other lands. The festival shows us all of that, while giving other countries a chance to market their own travel and work opportunities." He was excited about the Beijing Opera's performance at this year's festival. To Galloway, it's all part of the natural evolution of what he believes could become one of the city's leading events, given proper time, resources and support.

"The festival is part of the face we show the world," he says. "If we do it right, it could become something tremendous, something that not only entertains and educates us, but serves as a tool to build bridges between our city and other nations."

Lots to learn

The city and state still have a ways to go, though, he believes.

"We have lots of things going on that touch on international themes, but we don't work together," Galloway says. "That dilutes all our efforts — we need a more comprehensive approach, the way the city used public-private partnerships to build Indianapolis into the amateur sports capital of the world."

Sports, the theme of this year's International Festival, has played a pivotal role in Galloway's own life. He has a long-standing love of soccer — he lettered in the sport at IPFW — and got immersed in cycling while at IU in Bloomington, home of the worldrenowned Little 500.

Galloway has ridden competitively for nearly 30 years. This past fall, he rode for the U.S. national team in the Pan American Masters Championships in Argentina, earning fourth-place finishes in the 200-meter sprint and the match sprints. He also was a member of the same team in 2002 in Cuba.

"I've always been an athlete; I love to compete," Galloway says with a smile. "Cycling is a great way to stay in shape and still test myself. It's a great feeling out there," even when he's pushing himself with 12- to 15- hour training regimens weekly.

The construction management expert believes IUPUI is "pushing itself" in the right direction with its commitment to growth in international students, faculty and programs. "(International) students know they will come here and get a high-quality education, and they'll feel welcomed," Galloway says.

"That's what builds relationships. Those students who come here to get degrees, or faculty who come here to work, all have friends back home. And when they tell stories of their experiences on the campus and in the city, others will want to follow."

He is convinced that students from other lands leave their mark on IUPUI, as well. "When students hear the insights and perspectives of students from other nations and cultures, they can't help but have their eyes and minds opened," Galloway says.