Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies inaugurated at Columbia University, New York

The first center for Turkish Studies in the United States named for its benefactor late Sakıp Sabancı; a businessman, philanthropist; inaugurated at Columbia University, forging a new era of scholarly collaborations between the two countries. The Center’s goal is to increase knowledge and awareness about Turkey, as well as its importance to modern regional affairs, and its historical significance.

Speaking in the inauguration, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger stated his thanks to Sakıp Sabancı family for their generous gift and noted that the centers belief was to engage student and the faculty from Columbia and all around the globe in teaching and research that would examine the region that’s arguably unsurpassed and its impact on the world and in shaping modern society.

“Understanding Turkish people is essential to navigate many challenges we face in this century.” 

Bollinger said that the Center was the first of its kind in the US for Turkish Studies, and expressed his belief that understanding in the politics, history, culture and the religion of the Turkish people is essential to navigating many challenges we face in this century.

Delivering introductory remarks, Güler Sabancı, Sabancı University’s Founding Chairman of the Board of Trustees, thanked President Bollinger and the Sakıp Sabancı Family for the establishment of the Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies in Columbia University.

 “Knowledge generation, research, scientific thinking and discussion will enable Turkey to become more effective, capable and consistent in finding solutions to regional and global problems.”

Güler Sabancı added in her speech that, “Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies aspires to situate studies on Turkey in comparative global perspective. We hope that the Chair and the Center’s activities will move focus from understanding Turkey to how Turkey can inform global debates around the world. Knowledge generation, research, scientific thinking and discussion will enable Turkey to become more effective, capable and consistent in finding solutions to regional and global problems.”   

Güler Sabancı stated that a global center with such an aim will inevitably touch many areas of inquiry: art, music, literature, business, history, politics, medicine, life sciences, engineering and others, and added that the Center will lead to innovative cross-fertilization across these disciplines. 

The ceremony followed by an academic panel in which professors from Columbia, Sabancı University and other schools explored “Human Rights and Hybrid Regimes”. 

About Sakıp Sabancı 

Sakıp Sabancı (1933–2004) was a businessman, philanthropist, art collector, social entrepreneur, pioneer in education, whose contributions have left indelible marks in Turkish business, education, arts, and social life. 

His children, Dilek, Sevil, and Metin Sabancı endowed the Sakıp Sabancı Chair and Center for Turkish Studies to honor his vision of constructing bridges between scholars of Turkish culture, society, and politics around the globe and to constitute a platform for the exchange of knowledge and ideas. 

Since 2006, in honor of the late Sakıp Sabancı,  “International Research Award” has also been given by Sabancı University in the field of Social Sciences.