Columbia University opens global center in Istanbul

Columbia University opens global center in Istanbul

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Columbia University opens global center in Istanbul

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger (R) and Istanbul Global Center director İpek Cem Taha (L) say they will focus on collaborative projects. Hürriyet photo

New York City-based Columbia University has opened its sixth international Global Center in Istanbul for encouraging academic partnerships and assisting in student and alumni affairs with Turkey.

“We are committed to providing new opportunities to strengthen our engagement with scholars, ideas and challenges across the globe,” said University President Lee C. Bollinger at the opening ceremony on Nov. 1.

 “Columbia’s intellectual history and engagement in Turkey has deep roots and our center here will allow us to build on this foundation in new and innovative ways that enhance our knowledge and contribute to society.”

The center will function as a network, facilitating long-distance collaborative programs and linkages between non-Columbia scholars, institutions, schools and academic departments back in New York.

“We are planning that ‘global free press’ will be one of the main themes of the Istanbul Center. Another program we are planning is a digital mapping of the main historical monuments from Byzantium and Ottoman times,” the director of the center, Ipek Cem Taha, a Turkish businesswoman, journalist and leading member of several community-based and international organizations, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

 Some of the research and scholarly initiatives will be regionally focused while others will involve multiple centers engaged in global conversations.

Other projects based in Istanbul will include connecting Karen Barkey and Alfred Stepan from Columbia’s Center for Democracy, Toleration and Religion to Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University on issues related to democratization in Turkey as well as partnering Jack Saul of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health with Istanbul’s Sabancı, Bilgi and Boğazici universities to establish a two-year program on disaster relief and to create an International Trauma Studies Center in Istanbul.

The first two Columbia global centers were in Beijing, China, and Amman, Jordan, and were launched in March 2009. Centers in Mumbai, India, and Paris, France, opened in March 2010. Earlier this autumn, a center in Santiago, Chile, was announced. A center in Nairobi, Kenya, will open in early 2012.