Trustees' 2006 Annual Report
The Turkish Cultural Foundation was established in January 2000 with the mission to support the preservation and promotion of Turkish culture and heritage worldwide through original programs and cooperation with like minded organizations. The Foundation is an US tax-exempt public charitable organization supported entirely by private donations.
Since its inception, the Foundation has provided an endowment for a permanent Turkish Language Lectureship at the University of Chicago and awarded grants to many leading organizations and individuals in the United States and in Turkey in support of their cultural programs.
In six years, the Foundation has become the leading private grantmaker for projects promoting Turkey, Turkish culture and art in the United States. In addition to supporting Turkish art and culture, as well as education in Turkey through its partnerships with like-minded organizations, the Foundation has undertaken a series of original projects aimed at increasing cultural exchanges between Turkey and the United States. Grouped under the concept of "People to People Cultural Exchanges", these projects focus to increase knowledge on Turkey and its contributions to humanity and introduce Americans from different segments of society to Turkey. More information about these projects can be found at www.turkishculturalfoundation.org
An important milestone in the development of the Turkish Cultural Foundation has been the incorporation of the Foundation's Turkey branch. The Turkey branch will move to its new offices in Taksim, Istanbul in early 2007 and is envisioned to grow into a center for the study of Turkish culture and art and its promotion worldwide.
In 2006, the Foundation allocated a total of $ 749,464 in grants and direct disbursements to pursue its mission.
These funds were distributed as follows:
The Turkish Cultural Foundation continued offering its "Turkish community schools" grant in 2006 and assisted the founding and expansion of four schools to serve children of the Turkish American community. Grants for this project were awarded to the American Turkish Association of Washington, DC, the Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan, the Orange Country Turkish American Association, and Friends of Anatolia/Bay Area Turkish American Association. (Photo)
In support of innovative charitable projects by the Turkish American community, the Foundation issued challenge grants to Friends of Anatolia and Bridge to Turkey Fund that were matched by these organizations for school renovation projects in Turkey. The Foundation also supported education in Turkey through allocating funds to the Primary Schools Aid Foundation (ILKYAR) to establish 13 playrooms for primary school children at regional boarding schools in Turkey. (photo1, photo2)
The Turkish Cultural Foundation continued its support to the education of underprivileged children through its contribution to the Turkish Educational Foundation in California. A creative project by a high school principal in Edirne to beautify his schoolyard to teach his students appreciation for beauty and nature also was found deserving of the Foundation's support (photo1, photo2).
A joint project with the History Foundation that began in 2005 to support school libraries with age appropriate publications of the History Foundation was completed in 2006. As a result of this project, a total of 1300 primary and high schools all around Turkey received these gift packages that included educational books and electronic media.
To support efforts to create exchanges between young Americans and Turkey, the Turkish Cultural Foundation designated a scholarship fund to support the semester abroad program at the Georgetown University McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies in Alanya, Turkey (photo); provided funds to organize a Turkey study tour by students of the Community College of Philadelphia and provided a grant to establish a school partnership that includes virtual classroom exchanges between a high school in North Carolina and in Turkey, under the "North Carolina in the World" program.
2. CULTURAL PROMOTION
2.1. Exhibitions, Festivals, Concerts and other Cultural Programs
Promoting Turkish culture in the United States through partnerships with other organizations has continued to be an important mission for the Foundation in 2006. Through these public events, thousands of Americans were introduced to the arts, music and cuisine of Turkey and met fellow Turkish Americans in their communities. The Foundation underwrote as primary sponsor the leading Turkish cultural festivals in the United States, namely in Houston (photo1, photo2), Monterey (photo1 , photo2), Seattle (photo1, photo2), New York and Chicago ( photo1, photo2). Supporting the promotion of Turkish cinema in the United States remained on the cultural agenda of the Foundation and through its partnership with the Moon and Stars Project (photo), acclaimed Turkish films were screened at a variety of Turkish film festivals around the United States.
The Turkish Cultural Foundation also underwrote the cultural programming of the Turkish American Cultural Society of Rhode Island and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations for 2006/2007. The Turkish Cultural Foundation also supported a concert by renowned Turkish composer and musician Fahir Atakoglu to benefit the Turkish Leukemia Society, organized by Bridge to Turkiye Fund. Washington, DC and worldwide audiences enjoyed Turkish classical music and sufi religious rituals performed by Mavera , a Turkish classical music ensemble, whose World Bank and Kennedy Center Millennium stage performances were sponsored by the Turkish Cultural Foundation. Both concerts were transmitted live via webcasts and the Millennium Stage concert remains archived forviewing.
The Foundation also partnered with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to bring to the Museum presentation/workshop on the Turkish art of paper marbling (Ebru) and a presentation of sufi music by renowned artists Eda Ozbekkangay and Niyazi Sayin.
2.2. Public Education/Outreach
The Turkish Cultural Foundation continued its activities in the area of public education and supporting such efforts of like minded organizations. The Foundation inaugurated the first educational website dedicated to Turkish music. Currently available in English, the site will soon be available in Turkish, German and French. The research phase on a new website dedicated to Turkish culinary art also nears completion and this site will be launched in early 2007. Efforts to improve and expand the Turkish Culture Portal of the Foundation are also continuing. The Turkish Culture Portal was visited by nearly 2.8 million visitors from all over the world, providing an important education and research service to the general public.
The Foundation also supported several media organizations serving to promote Turkey in the United States and increase communication within the Turkish American community, namely the weekly newspaper USA Turkish Times, Turkish American Hour TV and The Turkish American magazine.
Supporting public educational and particularly youth civic education, the Foundation provided grants to the Association for Intercultural Communication and the Community Volunteers Foundation in Turkey. The sponsorship for the Association for Intercultural Communication was dedicated to underwrite the organization's series of workshops, concerts and other cultural and artistic exchanges in rural Turkey. The grant to the Community Volunteers Foundation will be allocated to youth civic initiative and education workshops organized by the Foundation all over Turkey.
2.3. Cultural Tours
The Turkish Cultural Foundation organized its first cultural tour to Turkey in September 2006. A project under the "People to People Cultural Exchanges" program, the Foundation's maiden tour took participants on an itinerary that visited Istanbul, Thrace and Central Anatolia and was designed to be a musical, culinary and artistic exposure to Turkish culture. The tour received raving reviews from its participants and the Foundation announced two new tours for Spring and Fall of 2007.
The Foundation also co-sponsored again in 2006, the Istanbul cultural tour of the Turkey visit of staff of the United States Congress, organized by the American Turkish Council. The Foundation also became a sponsor of the visit to Istanbul of members of the American Council for Young Political Leaders by hosting a dinner and Turkish classical music concert for the program, which was organized by the ARI Movement.
3. CULTURAL PRESERVATION/DOCUMENTATION
Serving one of the pillars of its organizational mission, the Turkish Cultural Foundation funded and implemented three major preservation projects in Turkey.
3.1. International Conference on Oriental Carpets
The Foundation became the primary sponsor of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets to be held in Istanbul in April 2007 and assigned its sponsorship to the conservation of 118 antique carpets at the Turk ve Islam Eserleri Muzesi in Istanbul for exhibition during the Conference.
3.2. Kars Ottoman Heritage Project
The Foundation also sponsored a restoration project by the California based Global Heritage Fund in Kars, Turkey. As part of this project to restore and rejuvenate the Ottoman "Kaleici" district of Kars, the Foundation supported the restoration and rebuilding of the Namik Kemal House, which will be turned into a community center for Kars. (photo)
3.3. Karagoz Shadow Theater
A performing arts tradition that is unfortunately near extinction, the Karagoz/Hacivat shadow theater project was developed as a Turkish Cultural Foundation documentation/preservation project. Shadow theater artist and renowned shadow puppet maker Metin Ozlen (photo) has performed 20 plays of the Karagoz tradition to produce an archival film under the direction of award winning director Aytekin Cakmakci. The film will be available to the public in early 2007.
4. Arts and Humanities Education/Research
The Foundation continued supporting education in the humanities through various grants.
We supported the Glass Furnace Foundation's (Cam Ocagi Vakfi) long-term viability by sponsoring the education and employment of two apprentices for the Glass Furnace Foundation's own production line and sponsored four Turkish aspiring glass artists for the Glass Furnace Foundation?s summer workshops.
The Turkish Cultural Foundation also provided 10 scholarships to the Association for the Preservation of Turkish Historical Homes to be awarded to needy students studying architectural restoration at vocational high-schools and colleges.
Our support to the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) continued with a research fellowship grant that was awarded competitively to seven Turkish scholars with research projects in the humanities.
The Foundation also awarded a grant to the second Graduate Students Pre-Conference organized by the American Association of Teachers of Turkic.
The Foundation now operates offices in Boston, Washington, DC and Istanbul with a total of five staff members who develop and implement the Foundation?s mission and programs on a daily basis. A support team of experts in various aspects of Turkish culture assists the team in special projects.