Istanbul, Turkey

Today, PrezBo announced the opening of Columbia’s sixth global center in Istanbul—joining the BeijingParisAmman, Mumbai, and the month-old Santiago centers. To kick off the launch, the Columbia Alumni Association is presenting two webcasts of panel discussions coinciding with the launch: “Is the Internet Too Free?” and “Egypt and Turkey: Comparative Perspectives on Democratic Transitions.”

The press release makes it clear that this global center is not designed to be a campus branch or a degree-granting school, unlike other university’s global initiatives, like NYU’s. Rather, the Istanbul global center aims to “provide [a] flexible regional hub for a wide range of activities and resources intended to enhance the quality of research and learning at the University… [by] establish[ing] interactive partnerships across geographic boundaries and academic disciplines.”

The following are some projects to be tackled at the Istanbul global center, from the press release:

  • Holger A. Klein, an art historian, connects Columbia’s art history and archaelogy department and the University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation to the Istanbul center through his research on Byzantine monuments.
  • Through Columbia’s Center for Democracy, Toleration and Religion, Karen Barkey and Alfred Stepan, the Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government, have established an ongoing conversation with the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation and Bogazici University on issues related to democratization in Turkey
  • Jack Saul of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health is partnered with Sabanci University, and Bilgi and Bogazici Universities to establish a two-year program on disaster relieft and to create an International Trauma studies Center in Istanbul
  • Elazar Barkan, director of Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights is involved in initiatives related to historical memory and dialog, conflict resolution and reconciliation.  He brings together’s Columbia’s Alliance of Historical Dialog and Accountability and Anadolu Kultur, a Turkish partner, which is actively involved in local and regional cooperation and reconciliation.

Istanbul via Wikimedia Commons