20th Aydın Doğan Award granted to Turkey’s disaster agency
AA photoThe 20th Aydın Doğan Award has been granted to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) for its efforts in hosting and providing social services to over 2 million refugees fleeing the war in neighboring Syria.
“We are really going through a tough year,” Aydın Doğan Foundation Executive Director Candan Fetvacı said, pointing to the ongoing crises in Turkey and its neighborhood.
“We wanted to award the prize to an institution working around these difficulties. A single civil society organization cannot cope with hundreds of people flooding the borders [with Syria]. The presence of a guiding organization like AFAD is a necessity,” Fetvacı added, underlining that this is the first time a state institution has been recognized by the award committee since its creation.
The prize, which has been issued since the establishment of the Foundation in 1996, aims to encourage and reward individuals who have committed their careers to contributing to humanity in the fields of arts, science and culture.
The award is granted to an accumulative contribution, rather than single projects, and also aims to reward an individual’s impact on Turkey’s international reputation.
“At a time like this, when we looked around to see who was doing a particularly good job, we thought of AFAD,” Fetvacı stated.
“AFAD is doing a very extensive work, not only hosting refugees but also providing education and healthcare. In addition to the refugees, it works to keep Turkey prepared for a range of natural disasters,” she said, adding that this year’s prize will be more than the usual 50,000 liras due to AFAD’s unique status.
“The national and international efforts of the prize winner crown Turkey’s international reputation. AFAD is a leading institution in its field and has gained international prestige and appreciation,” Fetvacı also said.
To date, the award has been issued to individuals and institutions who have excelled in, or contributed significantly to, fields such as novel writing, social sciences and the humanities, visual arts, poetry, history, music, archaeology and architecture.
Last year’s award was presented to Turkey’s Nobel laureate writer Orhan Pamuk for “masterfully bringing together the eastern and western poles and being one of masters representing Turkish novels in the world.”
The 2016 award was presented to AFAD in a ceremony in Istanbul on the evening of May 4.