June 22-July 4, 2014
Application Deadline I April 20/Deadline II May 10
Limited spaces available/Rolling acceptance

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********************* and Politics In The Field are pleased to announce the Third Istanbul-Ankara Exchange. The twelve-day conference June 22-July 4 will be held over 10 days in Istanbul and two days in Ankara, immersing students and professionals from around the world in some of the key issues facing Turkey and the surrounding region. This year, there will be also be an optional* two-day cultural excursion July 5-6 to Edirne, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire.

The Istanbul-Ankara Exchange rests on two tracks:

Track 1 – Academic Seminars. Participants will attend a series of seminars with leading academics, journalists, business people and public intellectuals. Topics will include (among others):

- Gezi Protests and social movements;
- AK Party and the Gulen Movement conflict;
- Political atmosphere ahead of the upcoming presidential and national elections;
- The future of Turkey-EU and Turkey-US relations;
- Turkey and the Syrian Civil War;
- The Kurdish question and the Peace Process;
- Economic reform challenges now and on the horizon;
- Turkey’s role in energy politics in the region;
- The AK Party in domestic and regional politics;
- Turkey’s constitution and justice system;
- The status of women;
- Human rights and Internet/press freedoms under attack?
- Refugees in Turkey;
- Role of opposition parties

Track 2: Dialogue with Leaders. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and engage social, political, religious and economic leaders from across the spectrum in Turkey.

Speakers & Institutions from previous programs (partial list only): 
Tariq Al-Hashimi, Vice-President of Iraq
Mustafa Akyol, Star Daily
Talip Küçükcan, Foreign Policy Director, SETA
Cengiz Çandar, Radikal Daily
Hugh Pope, Turkey/Cyprus Program Director International Crisis Group
Ceyda Karan, Journalist
Joost Lagendijk, Analyst at Istanbul Policy Center – Today’s Zaman
Bülent Keneş, Chief of Editor Today’s Zaman
Prof. Fuat Keyman, Director of Istanbul Policy Center, Sabanci University
Diba Nigar Göksel, European Stabilty Initiative – GMF
İdris Kardaş, General Coordinator Platform for Global Challenges
Prof. Hasan Köni, Istanbul Kültür Univeristy
Oğuz Demir, İstanbul Trade University, Economists Platform
Burcu Gültekin Punssman, Researcher TEPAV
Faik Tunay, Republican People’s Party MP-CHP
Oktay Vural, Vice President of Nationalistic Movement Party Group
Nuh Yılmaz, Marmara University, Star Daily
Zeynep Başer, TESEV
Asaad Asaad, Chairman of Support Center of Psychological and Personal Development of Syrian Refugees in Turkey
Murat Çekiç, Turkey Director of Amnesty International
Kemal Cicek, Turkish Historical Society
Mustapha Turkes, METU
Ersel Aydinli, Bilkent Universtiy
Arzu Celalifer, USAK
Aysegul Kibargoglu, METU
Lale Kemal, Taraf Newspaper
Onur Oymen, MP-CHP
Yassar Yakis, Former Foreign Minister of Turkey
Suleyman Ozeren, Police Academy
Alper Sozen, Police Academy
Ozlem Tur, METU
Zita Onis, Koc University


Prime Ministry
AK Party Foreign Affairs Presidency
Secretary General for EU Affairs
Prime Ministry, Housing Development Administration (TOKI)
Information Technologies and Communication Agency (BTK)
Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA)
Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD)
Hrant Dink Foundation
Neve Şalom Synagouge
Turkish Radio Television (TRT)
Municipality of Istanbul
Religious Affairs Presidency
Greek-Orthodox Patriarchy
Armenian Patriarchy


Program Format:

The first nine days of the Exchange will take place at a hotel in downtown Istanbul (program opens at 6pm on June 22), although there will be several bus trips to meetings arranged outside the conference center. After that, two days of the Exchange will be spent in the capital, Ankara, where a series of meetings with political and diplomatic leaders will be convened. The final day of meetings on July 4 will be held in Istanbul at the hotel (program close by 6pm on July 4).


Tuition : $1800, partial financial aid is available for those students and professionals that can demonstrate need, including being a current recipient of financial aid.

Accommodation: Our group rate is $65 per night, per person for a shared double room, breakfast and all taxes included. Students residing in Istanbul have the option of off-site stay during the duration of the program. The hotel will be announced to those students accepted in the program.

Airfare: $400 approximately from the EU. Bus travel to and from Ankara is included in the overall tuition cost.

* Cultural Excursion: Participants will have the option of joining us on a trip to Edirne, the historical capital of the Ottoman Empire before Istanbul, located at the intersection between Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria. The additional cost for the excursion is $200 which includes bus transportation, one hotel night stay and all meals and taxes. The group will leave Istanbul early Saturday morning on July 5th and will return to Istanbul by the early afternoon on Sunday, July 6th.


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About the Exchange Co-Directors:

Baybars Orsek holds his Bachelors degree in International Relations from İstanbul Bilgi University and obtained a Masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Sabancı University. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Political Science at Yeditepe University. After serving as a coordinator at Istanbul Bilgi University’s Platform for Global Challenges for two years, Orsek is currently acting as the Founder & CEO of the Istanbul Solution Center and is General Coordinator of

Monica L. Marks is a Rhodes Scholar and doctoral candidate at St. Antony's College, Oxford University. Her work, which focuses primarily on Islamism, youth politics, and security reform in Tunisia, has appeared in the New York TimesForeign Policy, and the Huffington Post, as well as academic publications. As lead Tunisia researcher for the Barcelona-based Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) in 2012-2013, Ms. Marks drafted "Inside the Transition Bubble," a report analyzing international technical assistance flows to four key sectors of Tunisia's transition. She is also the author of the Brookings Doha Center's February 2014 analysis paper “Convince, Coerce, or Compromise? Ennahda’s Approach to Tunisia’s Constitution." A former Fulbright Scholar to Turkey, Ms. Marks returned there to work as an instructor at Istanbul's Bogazici University in 2013 and again in 2014. Despite frequent trips to Oxford and to Turkey, Ms. Marks is based in Tunisia, where she has also moonlighted as a freelance journalist for the New York Times, covering the September 2012 attack on the US Embassy, the February, 2013 assassination of Chokri Belaid, and other breaking stories.

Ferdi Ferhat Özsoy was born in New York City, in 1985.  He received his undergraduate diploma from City University of New York at Brooklyn College where he triple majored in History, Political Science and Education. He is currently completing his MA on International Relations at Istanbul Bilgi University and is working at the Platform for Global Challenges at Istanbul Bilgi University as an Organization Coordinator, organizing seminars, conferences and panels on foreign affairs. He is also part of Politics in the Field team.

Nicholas Noe is currently co-editor of the Heinrich Boell Foundation's journal on the Middle East Perspectives, the editor of the 2007 book, Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah (Verso), Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of the Beirut-based news translation service covering the Middle East media and the Director of the Beirut Exchange program ( which now counts more than 300 student alumni from 45 different countries. He regularly provides commentary for Al-Jazeera International, BBC, CNN and several US and European publications and is the author of a White Paper for the Century Foundation entitled: “Re-Imagining the Lebanon Track: Towards a New US Policy.” His Op-Eds on the region have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Foreign Policy Magazine, Asia Times, The National and The National Interest.