Len Friesen is a history professor and the founding Chair of the Global Studies program at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is the author of several books including “Transcendent Love: Dostoevsky and the Search for a Global Ethic” (2016).   He was married to Mary (Burkholder) in 1977 (time flies!); together they have three adult children, two “in-laws”, and five grandchildren.  Len has been fortunate to see a good deal of this world, though he highlights a year spent with Old Order Mennonites in Wellington Country, Ontario,  and another year spent in the Soviet Union in the 1980s.  Beyond that, Len has led tours across Europe, Russia and Ukraine, and South Africa, many of these with TourMagination where he appreciates the informal interactions with those who sign on. “It’s unlike any other tour company I know; it really is travel with a purpose. TourMagination builds community in life-changing ways, and we’re delighted to be associated with it,” Len says.

Italy: Bella Terra

See some of the wonders of our world, including the Colosseum in Rome and St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Wander the canals of Venice. Learn about Julius Caesar, St. Peter, St. Francis of Assisi, the Poor Sisters of Clare, Michelangelo, Mussolini, and pirates of the Mediterranean—among others. On this tour, you’ll gain a better understanding of the forces that have shaped so much of human activity over the centuries, from Roman civilization, to the Catholic faith, to the Renaissance.

The Mennonite Story & Highlights of Ukraine


On this tour of Ukraine, engage with the Russian Mennonite story past and present. Visit the Stalinist city of Zaporizhye and the former colonies Chortitza and Molotschna, which were settled by Mennonites in the late 1700’s. During visits to the colonies, explore villages related to your family roots. Expert guide Len Friesen will shed light on the Mennonite story within the rich context of Tsarist and Soviet history, as well as present-day realities and challenges. For an enhanced travel experience, consider combining this tour with the Treasures of Russia: Moscow & St. Petersburg Tour, June 10-17, 2019.

Treasures of Russia: Moscow & St. Petersburg

Explore the cultural and architectural riches of Russia in St. Petersburg and Moscow and explore its Soviet past. You’ll see many famous sights including the Winter Palace, Peterhof Palace and Gardens, the Kremlin, Red Square, wartime cemeteries, and stunning cathedrals. For an enhanced travel experience, consider combining this tour with the Mennonite Story & Highlights of Ukraine Tour, June 1-10, 2019.

South Africa: Safaris & Cape Town

Spend two days on escorted game drives where we hope to see Africa’s Big 5 and learn about animal conservation. Drive along South Africa’s scenic Garden Route, a coastal corridor along the southern coast lined with incredible views. Then spend seven days travelling in and around Cape Town. Tour Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. See one of Africa’s only two remaining colonies of penguins. Enjoy a cable car trip up Table Mountain and a visit to Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, and more.

Germany & Switzerland: An Alpine Adventure

Fill your lungs with fresh mountain air and your eyes with incredible views as you ascend peaks by cable car, hike mountain-top paths and wander valley trails. Also take a walking tour in Zurich and have a free day of shopping and sightseeing in the historic town of Lindau, Germany which is located on a small island connected with the mainland by bridge.