About

Board of Governors

The Board of Governors has full responsibility for the Institute of Turkish Studies' policies and programs. The Board is composed of distinguished scholars in the field of Turkish Studies and prominent individuals from the private and public sectors in the United States, including former U.S. ambassadors. The Board of Governors meets on a regular basis to review and evaluate the Institute's activities and makes all decisions for its grant program.

Adnan Akant
Fischer, Francis, Trees and Watts, Inc.

Adnan Akant is Chief Investment Officer for Currencies at FFTW, an institutional global bond management firm with over $50 billion in assets. Prior to joining FFTW in 1984, Akant spent six years managing the World Bank's liquidity portfolio and advising the Treasurer on the Bank's multi-currency borrowing program.

Akant holds Ph.D., SB, SM and Engineering Degrees from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science (1972-1977). He also holds an SM in finance from the MIT Sloan School (1978). Adnan Akant is Co-Head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank's FX Committee for the Buy-Side Group. He is also a member of the New York Academy of Science and Sigma Xi.
Prof. Sinan Ciddi (ex oficio)
Executive Director

Sinan Ciddi was appointed as the fourth Executive Director of the Institute of Turkish Studies, succeeding David C. Cuthell at the end of August 2011. Ciddi was born in Turkey and educated in the United Kingdom, where he gained his Ph.D. in Political Science from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in June 2007. He was previously an instructor at Sabancı University between 2004-2008 and completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the same institution between 2007-2008. He recently published a book titled Kemalism in Turkish Politics: The Republican People's Party: Secularism and Nationalism (Routledge, January 2009) focusing on the electoral weakness of the Republican People's Party. Between 2008-2011, he established the Turkish Studies program at the University of Florida's Center for European Studies.
Prof. David Cuthell
Columbia University

David Cuthell was the Executive Director of The Institute of Turkish Studies and a visiting Professor at Georgetown University between 2005-2011. He is currently a visiting professor at Columbia University. Cutehell previously directed the Turkish, Middle East and Central Asian Studies at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken New Jersey. Prof.Cuthell has a Ph.D. in history from Columbia as well as an earlier MA in Political Economy and an MBA in International Finance. Prior to returning to Columbia University in 1998 for his doctorate, Prof. Cuthell worked in the capital markets for twenty years in New York and London for Citibank and Morgan Stanley and later was a Managing Director of fixed income trading at Mabon Securities. His research interests include the social and demographic transformation of the 19th century Ottoman Empire as well as the impact of technology on Ottoman and modern Turkish society. He recently contributed to The Creation of Iraq: 1914-1922 (Columbia Press 2004).
Prof. Walter Denny
University of Massachusetts

Walter B. Denny joined the faculty of the UM/A Art History Program in 1970. His primary field of teaching and research is the art and architecture of the Islamic world, in particular the artistic traditions of the Ottoman Turks, Islamic carpets and textiles, Islamic imagery in European art, and issues of economics and patronage in Islamic art. His recent publications include the books Gardens of Paradise: Ottoman Turkish Tiles of the 15th-17th Centuries (İstanbul, 1998); Masterpieces of Anatolian Carpets from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul (Bern, 2001); Ipek: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London, 2002); and The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets (Washington D.C., 2002). Iznik: La Céramique Turque et l'art Ottoman appeared in 2004 in Paris (Editions Citadelles et Mazenod), followed by English (Thames & Hudson) and German (Hirmer) versions in 2005.

Denny has served as a Trustee of The Textile Museum (Washington) and was for three decades Honorary Curator of Carpets and Textiles at the Harvard University Art Museums in Cambridge. In addition to his ITS board membership, Denny serves as Charles Grant Ellis Research Fellow in Oriental Carpets at The Textile Museum. He is active as a lecturer and as a consultant to museums and other institutions in the United States and abroad. He is married to Alice Robbins, a professional musician (Baroque cello and viola da gamba) who is also an instructor in the Five College Early Music Program, and is the father of Matthew, born in 1988. Denny performs as a tenor soloist and chorister with various ensembles, including Da Camera Singers and Arcadia Players, and serves on the Board of Directors of Arcadia Players.
Prof. Sibel Erol
New York University

Sibel Erol, who holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, is a Clinical Professor of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies at New York University, where she has taught Turkish language and literature courses (including courses on Middle Eastern film and masculinity) since 1998. She works on a variety of topics such nationalism, modernity, postmodernism, gender, film and the novel. She is currently editing a book in Turkish on Orhan Pamuk's novel Snow. Her previous publications on Pamuk's works include Reading Orhan Pamuk's Snow as Parody: Difference as Sameness (originally appearing in Comparative Literary Studies, then reprinted twice in Contemporary Literary Criticism and Twentieth Century Criticism, respectively), and The Chronotope of Istanbul in Orhan Pamuk's Memoir Istanbul (published in IJMES). She has written extensively on the authors of the republican period such as Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu and Resat Nuri Guntekin. She works on women authors: on Halide Edib Adıvar, Adalet Agaoglu, Nazli Eray, Latife Tekin, Leyla Erbil among others. She has written a series of introductions for Halide Edib's Memoirs, for the English translations of Adalet Agaoglu's Summer's End (Yazsonu) and of Nazli Eray's Orpheus (Orfee). She has appeared in the Halide Edib documentary The Greedy Heart of Halide. She has contributed an essay on Turkish literature to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women, describing and analyzing the works of Turkish women authors. She has recently published Does Turkish Literature Exist: An Attempt to Answer through the Works of Leyla Erbil, Savkar Altinel and Ataol Behramoglu, in the Journal of Levantine Studies. She has served on the boards of the American Association of Teachers of Turkic Languages and of the Turkish Studies Association. She is currently on the editorial board of the International Journal of Middle East Studies.
Prof. Edward Erickson
Treasurer
Marine Corps University

Dr. Edward J. Erickson is a Professor of Military History in the Department of War Studies at the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. He is a retired regular US Army lieutenant colonel and was commissioned in the field artillery. He also qualified as a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Turkey. During his career, he served in artillery and general staff assignments in the United States, Europe and the Middle East (including three tours in Turkey). He is a combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. After retiring from active duty, Dr. Erickson worked as a school administrator and high school teacher in his hometown of Norwich, New York before returning to Baghdad, Iraq in 2007 to work as Professor of Political Science at the Ministry of Defense Training and Development College.

Professor Erickson is widely recognized as one of the foremost specialists on the Ottoman Army during the First World War. Among the numerous books and articles he has written are Ordered To Die, A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War; Defeat in Detail, The Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912-1913; Ottoman Army Effectiveness in WW1, A Comparative Study; Gallipoli and the Middle East 1914-1918, and Gallipoli, The Ottoman Campaign. He is the co-author, with Dr. Mesut Uyar, of A Military History of the Ottomans, from Osman to Ataturk. Dr. Erickson is a frequent visitor to Turkey and his latest book Ottomans and Armenians, A Study in Counterinsurgency is scheduled for release in 2013 from Palgrave McMillan.
Prof. George Gawrych
Baylor University

George W. Gawrych (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1980) joined Baylor University's history faculty in 2003. Prior to this position, Professor Gawrych taught for nineteen years at the Combat Studies Institute of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In his last year there, he was the distinguished visiting professor at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. His main fields are late Ottoman, modern Turkish, modern Middle East, and modern military history. Dr. Gawrych has written books, monographs, and articles on Ottoman and Turkish history and the Arab-Israeli wars. In 2013, he published The Young Atatürk: From Ottoman Soldier to Statesman of Turkey, a work that incorporated Ottoman archival material. The Society for Military History selected The Young Atatürk for its 2014 Distinguished Book Award for military biography.
Sylvia Önder
Georgetown University

Sylvia Wing Önder is Visiting Associate Professor of Turkish Language and Culture in Georgetown University's Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Division of Eastern Mediterranean Studies, where she has taught since 1998. Her PhD, in Interdisciplinary Turkish Culture, is from The Ohio State University, 1998. She has an MA in Folklore and Folklife (1991) and a BA in International Relations (1986) both from the University of Pennsylvania.

At Georgetown, she has designed and continues to teach Turkish Language at three levels, culture classes such as "Central Asian Cultures", "Introduction to Turkish Culture", and anthropology classes such as "Anthropology, Colonialism, and Islam", "Medical Anthropology", and "Intro to Cultural Anthropology". Her book, We Have No Microbes Here: Healing Practices in a Turkish Black Sea Village, came out in May of 2007 in the Medical Anthropology Series of Carolina Academic Press. Dr. Önder has taught at Georgetown University's McGhee Program in Alanya, Turkey. This year, she won a federal grant from the Department of Education, Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad, to run the ARIT-BU Fellowship competition for the Intensive Summer Advanced Turkish Language Program at Boğaziçi University in İstanbul.
Amb. Serdar Kılıç (ex oficio)
Honorary Chairman of the Board of Governors
Turkey's Ambassador to the United States

Ambassador Serdar Kılıç was appointed Turkey's Ambassador to the United States in April 2014. Prior to this appointment, he was previously Ambassador to Japan between 2012-2014. Amb. Kılıç joined the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1984. After working as an attaché in the Department of Eastern Europe and Asia, he was posted to Kuwait as Third Secretary between 1987-1989. Following this, he served two years in Los Angeles as the Deputy Consul General. After returning to Turkey, Mr. Kılıç served as First Secretary within the Gulf and Muslim Countries Department until 1993. He was subsequently assigned to the Permanent Delegation of Turkey to NATO as First Secretary and Deputy General Directorate of NATO as Acting Head of Department. From 1999 to 2003, he was a Counselor at Turkey's Permanent Delegation to NATO. Between 2003-2006 he assumed the position of Head of Department for the Balkans and Central Europe desk, and was subsequently named Deputy Director General of NATO, and Euro-Atlantic Security and Defense Affairs from 2006 to 2008. Prior to being appointed as Ambassador to Japan in 2012, he served as the Ambassador to Lebanon between 2008 to 2010, and Secretary General of the National Security Council from 2010 to 2012.
Prof. Jenny White
Boston University

Jenny White is professor of anthropology at Boston University, former president of the Turkish Studies Association and of the American Anthropological Association Middle East Section, and sits on the board of the Institute of Turkish Studies in Washington, DC. She has received numerous grants and fellowships from, among others, the Social Science Research Council, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and Fulbright-Hays. She is author of Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks (chosen by Foreign Affairs as one of three best books on the Middle East in 2012); Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: A Study in Vernacular Politics (Winner of the 2003 Douglass Prize for best book in Europeanist anthropology); and Money Makes Us Relatives: Women's Labor in Urban Turkey. She has authored numerous articles on Turkey and on Turks in Germany and lectures internationally on topics ranging from political Islam and nationalism to ethnic identity and gender issues. Professor White has been following events in Turkey since the mid-1970s. Her books have been translated into Turkish. She writes a syndicated blog on contemporary Turkey that Foreign Policy named as one of two blogs on Turkey that President Obama should read: KamilPasha.com.

She also has written three historical novels set in nineteenth-century Istanbul, The Sultan's Seal (2006), The Abyssinian Proof (2008), and The Winter Thief (2010). The Sultan's Seal has appeared in fourteen languages. The Sultan's Seal was named one of the top ten first novels of 2006 by Booklist and was shortlisted for the 2006 Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award.
Amb. Ross Wilson (retired)
Chairman of the Board Governors
Atlantic Council

Ross Wilson is Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council of the United States and a Lecturer in International Affairs at George Washington University. In December 2008, he completed nearly three decades in the U.S. Foreign Service, including six years as American ambassador to Turkey in 2005-2008 and to Azerbaijan in 2000-2003. Elsewhere overseas, he served at the U.S. embassies in Moscow and Prague and was American Consul General in Melbourne, Australia.

In Washington, Ambassador Wilson served as Chief of Staff for Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick in 2005. He was Chief U.S. Negotiator for the Free Trade Area of the Americas while on detail to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in 2003-2005. In 1997-2000, Ambassador Wilson served as Principal Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large and Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States (of the former Soviet Union). He was Deputy Executive Secretary of the State Department in 1992-1994, managing the policy process for Secretaries of State Lawrence Eagleburger and Warren Christopher, and before that was an aide to State Department Counselor and Undersecretary Zoellick. Early in his career, Ambassador Wilson served in the State Department's offices dealing with the Soviet Union and Egypt. A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ambassador Wilson received a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and master's degrees from Columbia University and the U.S. National War College. While in the diplomatic service, he won the President's Meritorious Service Award, as well as numerous Department of State awards and honors. He serves as chairman of the board of the Institute of Turkish Studies and is a member of the Academy of American Diplomacy, the American Foreign Service Association, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired (DACOR) and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. He is married to Margo Squire, who is a career diplomat with the State Department. They have two sons.
Prof. Birol Yesilada
Portland State University

Birol A. Yesilada joined Portland State University in 1998 as professor of Political Science and International Studies and holds the endowed chair in Contemporary Turkish Studies. He is also the Director of the Center for Turkish Studies in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government as well as Director of the Middle East Studies Center of PSU. Prior to joining Portland State, he was chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He received his B.A. degree in 1977 in Neurobiology from the University of California at Berkeley, his M.A. in Political Science in 1979 from San Francisco State University and his Ph.D. in Political Science in 1984 from the University of Michigan.

His current research interests include: Global power transition, World Values Survey (Cyprus), the European Union, political and economic development of Turkey, radical Islam and terrorism, the Cyprus negotiations and international conflict resolution, and politics of economic reform in the emerging markets. His recent publications include several books EU-Turkey Relations in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2013), Islamization of Turkey Under the AKP Rule (co-ed with Barry Rubin, Routledge, 2012), The Emerging European Union (Longman, 2010) and over 30 articles and book chapters. His is the former co-editor-in-chief of International Studies Perspectives and former Associate editor of Middle East Studies Association Bulletin. Dr. Yesilada has been a consultant at various Departments of the US government, the Council on Foreign Relations, the RAND Corporation, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Nathan Associates, Barclays Capital, the World Bank, and is an Academic Associate of the Atlantic Council. He was invited by the White House to take part in a panel study at the RAND Corporation on "Politics and Islam in the New Constitution of Afghanistan" as part of the commission that drafted the new Constitution of that country.
Prof. Heath Lowry
Governor Emeritus

Since 1993 Heath W. Lowry has been the AtatÜrk Professor of Ottoman & Modern Turkish Studies at Princeton University. Prior to that time he was a founding member of the History Department at the Bosphorus University in İstanbul, Turkey (1973-1980), and a Senior Research Associate at Harvard University's Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection in Washington, D.C. (1980-1983). Between 1983 and 1993 he established and directed the Institute of Turkish Studies in Washington, D.C. Currently, together with his position at Princeton University, he serves as an Advisor to the Bahçeşehir University Board of Trustees in İstanbul, Turkey.

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