Turkish-American relations conference first of its kind


Stevens Institute of Technology, Beykent University joint sponsors

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- An unprecedented gathering on American soil of Turkish cabinet members along with a host of Turkish cultural and business leaders will converge at Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ) for the first Turkish-American Conference on Technology, Business and Culture: "Geo-political Experiences," May 12-14, 2004.

Sponsored by Stevens and Beykent University (Istanbul), the conference is designed to advance Turkish-American cooperation in business, technology partnering, government and cultural understanding. Both Turkish and American leaders in each of these areas will attend.

"For two universities to succeed in reaching around the world to bring together this meeting of minds, we have needed compelling reasons, and we have found them," said Stevens' President, Dr. Harold J. Raveche. "Dr. Yusuf Ziya Irbec, the Rector of Beykent University, and his colleagues at Beykent, and the leaders at Stevens recognize Turkey's pivotal role in the Middle East, now and in the future, and how fundamental cooperation and exchange are to that role. Those who will attend this conference share in that vision.

"As the Middle East faces economic and political transformation in this century, Turkey has become a fulcrum between the West and the Middle East, of vital importance to the region, America, Europe, and the rest of the world," Raveché said.

Dr. Irbec said: "The rooted sentiment between the Turkish people and Americans is reflected in our partnership with Stevens, the fruitful outcome of which is the "Geo-political Experiences" conference. Turkey sets a model for Eurasia by its European outlook and shares common values with the West. Despite several challenges that changing threats pose on our common values with the West, Turkey, with its historical experiences and future visions, exemplifies that there is still a common ground between the East and West. It strengthens my unshaken hope for the future that we and our colleagues in the United States are more than ready to make every effort to expand this common ground for the generations to come. I hope that the partnership between Beykent University and Stevens Institute of Technology will foster the idea that we can make both the future and the present better."

Hosted by presidents Raveche and Irbec, the conference will include sessions on government, business and technology, culture, current issues and society. The conference is the first in a series of major biennial events Stevens and Beykent are planning in the interest of international cooperation. The two universities recently signed an agreement for international exchange programs involving students, faculty, academic offerings, publications and conferences for discussion of key issues. This conference is the first in that series.

The conference immediately precedes the annual Turkish Cultural Parade, held Saturday, May 15, in New York City.

Key participants

Among the governmental dignitaries from the Turkish Republic expected to attend and make presentations at the conference are the following Turkish ministers: The Honorable Prof. Dr. Mehmet Aydın, Minister of State; Mr. Ali Coskun, Minister of Industry and Trade; Dr. M. Hilmi Guler, Minister of Energy; and Mr. Binali Yildirim, Minister of Transportation.

Other expected guests from Turkish government and business sectors include: Mr. Murat Bayar, Undersecretary of Defense Industries; Prof. Dr. Nevzat Yalcintas, Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Head of the Turkish Delegation; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sait Acba, President of the Planning and Budgeting Commission; Mr. Nuri Gurgur, President of the General Assembly of the Chamber of Commerce of Ankara and member of the Scientific Research Council of the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey; Mr. Rifat Hisarciklioglu, President of the Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Maritime Commerce and Commodity Exchanges; Mr. Sahabettin Harput, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior Affairs; and Mr. Alaaddin Yuksel, Governor of Antalya.

Cultural leaders expected are: Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Director General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture; Prof. Dr. Mustafa Isen, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Turkish Republic; Ms. Esra Nilgun Mirze, Director of Corporate Communications, Istanbul Foundation for Cultural Arts; and Dr. Yavuz Gokalp Yildiz, Director of the Strategic Research Center of Beykent University.

The dinner speaker for the conference on Thursday, May 13, will be the renowned Turkish/American heart surgeon, commentator and author Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., Professor of Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Considered an innovator in his field, he holds several titles, including that of Director of the Cardiovascular Institute for the Columbia Campus of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

A number of other distinguished Americans will take part in the conference, including: The Hon. James McGreevey, Governor of New Jersey; Mr. Thomas Rabaut, President and CEO of United Defense; Mr. John A. Shaw, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, International Technology Security; Dr. Richard Bulliet, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, Columbia University; Mr. Stephen Kinzer, The New York Times; Mr. Ahmet Ertegun, Co-Chairman of The Atlantic Group (co-founder, Atlantic Records) and Chairman of The American Turkish Society; and Mr. Charles F. Dunbar, retired ambassador.

Conference sessions, locations

The Turkish-American Conference on Technology, Business and Culture: "Geo-political Experiences" begins the evening of May 12 with a Celebration of Turkish Literature at 7 p.m. at St. Mark's Church, 10th Street and 2nd Ave., New York City. The event is hosted by Murat Nemet-Nejat, a renowned translator of Turkish literature into English.

An exhibition of Turkish art will be on view during the conference at the Wesley J. Howe Center on the Stevens campus, May 13 and 14. All conference sessions for those two days will take place at Stevens' Howe Center (one block east of 8th Street and Castle Point Terrace, Hoboken, NJ). The conference concludes by 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 14, with closing remarks by the hosts from Stevens and Beykent University, Dr. Raveche and Dr. Irbec.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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