More than 30 TFAS travelers examined Sir Winston S. Churchill’s many roles – as a war leader and peacetime politician in England and a statesman and artist in Morocco – through an enriching journey this fall. “In the Footsteps of Churchill” allowed TFAS supporters to connect with one another while exploring the most significant places in the life of Winston Churchill.
One couldn’t help but come away feeling like you had lived in Churchill’s time and been witness to all the major achievements of his life.” – Frank Lauinger
Fitting for any TFAS program, the trip was a dual cultural and educational experience. Renowned Churchill expert Dr. James Muller, a professor of political science at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, who has studied Churchill for most of his academic career, guided the eight-day excursion.
Prior to the trip, travelers were encouraged to brush up on their knowledge of The British Bulldog through provided readings, including excerpts from Churchill’s “Thoughts and Adventures.”
Along the journey, Muller drew from the texts and brought forth insights into the places and experiences that shaped Churchill into one of the world’s most influential leaders. TFAS trustee Frank Lauinger said the carefully curated itinerary surrounding all aspects of Churchill’s life made the trip feel “up close and personal.”
“From being provided a reading list in advance, a Churchill expert who accompanied us throughout, and then to be met with a special guest speaker at virtually every critical stop along the way, one couldn’t help but come away feeling like you had lived in Churchill’s time and been witness to all the major achievements of his life,” he said.
At the first city stop on the journey, travelers joined local TFAS alumni for a special dinner in London. As the dinner keynote, former House of Commons member Douglas Carswell gave an overview of the impact of Brexit and shared what an EU-like organization combined of the nations of North and South America might look like.
During the dinner, TFAS alumni connected with the travelers and shared how the TFAS Journey has impacted their personal and professional lives. Lauinger said meeting with TFAS alumni made this an impressive occasion.
“This was a group of focused, intelligent men and women who you could tell had learned a lot through their TFAS experience and were living what they learned,” he said. “I have found it particularly gratifying to have now met alumni from each of TFAS’s programs around the world, who represent an engaged, interesting and outstanding group of young people.”
Continuing the journey throughout England, travelers had the unique opportunity to witness Churchill’s beginning and ending on one particularly special day. They began the day visiting Churchill’s birthplace at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, touring its permanent Churchill art exhibition and walking the trail to explore some of Churchill’s most cherished places on the estate. They then traveled to nearby Bladon and ended the day by paying their respects and ceremoniously laying flowers at Churchill’s grave at St Martin’s Church.
Following an extraordinary look at Churchill’s England, the group embarked on to the next continent to explore Morocco. Travelers toured the strategic World War II port city of Casablanca, where Allied leaders met for the famous Anfa Conference of 1943. In Casablanca, the group visited the Hassan II Mosque, the tallest religious structure in the world and explored the residential neighborhood where the original Hotel D’Anfa, the site of the Casablanca Conferences, once stood.
In Morocco, they also visited Marrakech, where Churchill and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stayed directly after the Casablanca Conferences. The group toured the Majorelle Gardens, surrounding neighborhood and landscapes that inspired some of Churchill’s finest paintings.
TFAS travelers rounded off the journey with a festive farewell dinner at La Mamounia, Churchill’s favorite hotel in Morocco, where he painted La Mamounia’s historic gardens, many of which are still on display in England.