ISTANBUL — On a balmy moonlit May evening here, a group of about 70 Yale administrators, students and alumni gathered Wednesday on the Boğaziçi University campus for a reception complete with a glittering night view of the Bosphorus.
The event marked the kick-off of Yale Week in Turkey — a series of events organized by the Yale Office of International Affairs in collaboration with Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Bilkent University in Ankara and Yasar University in Izmir. The week’s events will include a concert by the Yale Symphony Orchestra and Turkish pianist Idil Biret in Hagia Irene (an Eastern Orthodox Church at the Topkapı Palace), a commedia dell’arte performance by Yale School of Drama students, a panel on environmental sustainability and a keynote address by Howard Dean ’71, former governor of Vermont and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer, who is in Istanbul for the program, said Yale Week in Turkey is a perfect example of Yale’s efforts to become a truly global institution and also demonstrates how much the University cares about Turkey.
“We organize Yale weeks in countries that are key to the century ahead,” Lorimer said, explaining that previous Yale weeks have been held in China, India, Mexico and Brazil.
“Turkey is a bridge between east and west. As a democratic country, it is key to stability in the region. And it is also a beautiful place,” she said, joking that it is hard to believe Turkish students would leave Istanbul to study in New Haven.
Lorimer added that the University plans to expand its partnership with Turkish universities through joint projects.
Kadri Özçaldıran, president of Boğaziçi University, pointed out that though Yale and Boğaziçi University have many differences, they share fundamental values in culture, philosophy and educational ideals, which go back to Boğaziçi’s roots as an American college.
Most members of the YSO missed the opening reception because their flights were delayed due to the British Airways cabin crew staff strike.