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.

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.

Mennonite History in Ukraine and Istanbul Tour

Experience the Mennonite story in Ukraine as you visit the historic colonies of Chortitza and Molotschna. Look for your family name in cemeteries, possibly visit the village of your ancestors. Marvel at beautifully constructed, brightly coloured Ukrainian Orthodox cathedrals. Tour a well-manicured park in the centre of Kyiv that is frequented by locals and visitors. University history professor and experienced tour leader Len Friesen will capably guide you. Can be combined with the Moscow & St. Petersburg Tour.

Moscow & St. Petersburg

Discover the history and culture of Russia as you explore Moscow and St. Petersburg during four days in each city. Learn about Lenin, Stalin, and the tsars. See many famous sights including the Winter Palace—once home to the Russian tsars, Peterhof Palace and Gardens, the Kremlin, Red Square, wartime cemeteries, and stunning cathedrals. Can be combined with the Mennonite History in Ukraine and Istanbul Tour.