Annual Report 2005

Trustees' 2005 Annual Report

Dear Friends,

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 2004-2005, the Foundation provided a total of $ 519,931 in grants to pursue its mission:

The grants and sponsorships are dispersed as follows:

1. EDUCATION

In recognition of the importance of preserving Turkish language and culture among young Turkish Americans, the Foundation issued a challenge grant to local Turkish organizations in the United States and in Canada to open Turkish community schools. The Turkish American Cultural Alliance of St.Louis , The Turkish American Association of Central Ohio , The Pittsburgh Turkish American Association in the United States and The Turkish Canadian Society in Vancouver Canada, were awarded grants and opened schools to serve their community's children.

The Foundation also supported education in Turkey through grants to the Turkish Educational Foundation for scholarships to needy school children and to the Foundation for the Support of Contemporary Living (Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi / CYDD) in support of their "Father Send me to School / Baba Beni Okula Gonder" campaign which gives a financial incentive to families to support school enrollment for girls in Turkey. For more information on the Foundation's scholarship programs, please visit scholarships and research fellowships.

The Turkish Cultural Foundation is also partnering with the History Foundation of Turkey (Tarih Vakfi ) on a project to send publications by this Foundation to over 1,300 school libraries all across Turkey in order to support education on Turkish cultural and historical issues. The packages also include teacher's resources on more contemporary and updated teaching of history.

2. CULTURAL PROMOTION

2.1. Exhibitions, Festivals, Concerts and other Cultural Programs

The end of 2005 also saw the opening of a splendid exhibition at the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The Turkish Cultural Foundation was proud to be the lead Foundation sponsor of "Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey" on view from October 29, 2005 through January 22, 2006. For a virtual tour of the exhibition visit the Freer and Sackler Galleries . The exhibition, which received rave reviews in the New York Times, the Washington Post and Vogue magazine, was supported by the Koc Foundation and ITKIB USA (Istanbul Textile and Apparels' Exporters' Associations.) Also a sponsor of the exhibition, published ads in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.

The Foundation also was the main sponsor of "The Needle's Excellence: Ottoman Embroideries" at the Rhode Island School of Design, organized by RISD and the Turkish American Cultural Society of Rhode Island .

A young Turkish American painter, Ms. Gizem Saka of Cornell University, also received support from the Foundation to present her works at an exhibition in Montreal, Canada.

To serve its mission to promote Turkish art and culture in the United States, the Foundation also awarded grants to the Turkish Festival in Seattle; the 9th and 10th Boston Turkish Festival , as well as the 2005 Houston Turkish Festival . The Foundation also co-sponsored a concert by renowned Turkish pianist Idil Biret in Seattle, Washington. A grant in support of the organization's cultural and educational programs was also awarded to the Assembly of Turkish American Associations .

2.2. Turkish Cinema

To introduce Turkish cinema to American audiences, the Foundation awarded grants to several organizations to screen a Retrospective of films by the award winning Turkish director, Zeki Demirkubuz. In cooperation with the Moon and Stars Project , the Foundation supported the screening of this film series in Tempe, Arizona by the Bosphorus Art Project and in Ann Arbor, Michigan by the Turkish Student Association and the University of Michigan and in Buffalo, New York by the University at Buffalo. The Foundation also co-sponsored the 2004 and 2005 Turkish Film Festivals in Boston and the screening of a Retrospective of films by renowned Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan by the Turkish American Cultural Society of New England . In 2005, the Foundation awarded a grant to Moon and Stars Project in support of the 7th Annual New York Turkish Film Festival and for the screening of the Festival's featured movies in other US cities. With the help of this grant, Turkish films were presented in Seattle, Washington; Tempe, Arizona; and Madison, Wisconsin. The Turkish Graduate Student Association of the University of Massachusetts was also awarded a grant to support its Turkish films series.

2.3. Outreach and Worldwide Promotion

Promoting Turkish culture to a worldwide audience, the Turkish Cultural Foundation website remains the most visited site on Turkish culture, with over nine hundred thousand visitors in 2005 from over ninety countries. Our website, currently undergoing a facelift, is a cornucopia of information on Turkish culture and also works as a gateway to many other valuable sites on Turkish culture, helping to open these resources to the world. The site also features a Turkish Culture Calendar, which lists Turkish cultural events worldwide. The Foundation also commissions articles on unique aspects of Turkish culture from writers and experts for publication on its website, www.turkishculture.org. Among the writers who have contributed articles are Prof. Metin And, Andrew Finkel and Stephen Kinzer.

In addition to its main site, the Foundation also launched a new website dedicated to the worldwide promotion of Turkish music: Turkish Music Portal . The site is a resource on the history, types, instruments, as well as composers and performers of Turkish music and was coordinated by musicologist Dr. Melih Duygulu and a team of Turkish music experts. Visitors to the site will also be able to listen to numerous samples of different Turkish music genres at the site.

2.4. Tours

In support of increasing awareness on Turkey among opinion leaders, the Turkish Cultural Foundation has co-sponsored two tours to Turkey by members of the US congressional staff, organized by the American Turkish Council . The Foundation led tours of Istanbul's historic and cultural heritage as part of these programs.

3. CULTURAL PRESERVATION AND RESEARCH

3.1. Preservation

One of the long-term projects underwritten by the Turkish Cultural Foundation is the work of the Archeological Settlements in Turkey Project (TAY Project). This Turkish NGO?s mission is to record, protect and preserve the cultural and natural heritage of Turkey by creating a complete documentation of all archaeological sites starting from prehistoric times. The Foundation commitment to TAY Project stretches over the next eight years and will cover the creation of an "Iron Age Inventory".

The Foundation also supported the archeological work done by the Oriental Institute Amuq Valley Regional Project at University of Chicago. Led by Turkish American archeologist Aslihan Yener, this survey and excavation focuses on the exploration of ancient landscape features, as well as settlement patterns throughout the valley and large-scale excavations at the Hittite site of Tell Atchana (oi.uchicago.edu/OI/PROJ/AMU/Alalakh.html).

The Foundation is also supporting the English translation, publication and US distribution of the novel "Huzur / Peace of Mind" by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar by Archipelago Books due in Fall 2006.

3.2. Research

To support education and research in the area of humanities and art education, the Turkish Cultural Foundation has awarded a grant to the Turkish American Women's Scholarship Fund to support disadvantaged and successful female college students who will study in the humanities; to the American Research Institute in Turkey (ccat.sas.upenn.edu/ARIT) to create a joint Fellowship Program for research grants to Turkish scholars in the areas of archeology, the humanities and social sciences; to the Association for the Protection of Turkish Historical Homes (Turk Tarihi Evleri Koruma Dernegi) for scholarships to students who study architectural restoration; and to Anatolian Artisans to organize workshops on small business development for female artisans in developing regions of Turkey. The Foundation has also pledged a grant to the Glass Furnace Foundation in Turkey (Cam Ocagi Vakfi) to support Turkish young artists' and artisans' participation in the Foundation's glass art workshops. For more information on the scholarship and research programs of the Foundation, please visit scholarships and research fellowships

The Foundation also supported the first "Graduate Student Pre-Conference in Turkish and Turkic Studies" by the American Association of Teachers of Turkic (AATT).

Turkish Cultural Foundation Turkey Branch

The Turkish Cultural Foundation also received official status as a foreign Foundation in Turkey and opened its offices in Istanbul in November 2005 (Turk Kultur Vakfi Turkiye Subesi). A permanent representation in Turkey will enable the Foundation to better serve its mission and make contributions to the preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of Turkey. The Foundation's Turkey office can be reached at istanbul@turkishculture.org.