Association of British Turkish Academics (ABTA) started its 2011-2012 season with its second annual lunch on 15th of October, 2011. The event organized at Hazev Restaurant at the Canary Wharf attracted about 100 academicians across the UK. Turkish and non-Turkish academicians joined the event from other cities and universities across the UK including Manchester, Newcastle, Leicester, Cardiff, Leeds, Cambridge, Southampton, and Oxford.
ABTA members enjoyed delicious Turkish cuisine, warm conversations, and new friendships over Turkish tea and coffee on a rare sunny October day in London. The event was introduced by Dr. Fahri Karakas from the Open University Business School; followed by greetings and welcome messages from Dr. Bilal Gokpinar from University College London. Dr. Gokpinar shared brief remarks on how Association of British Turkish Academics (ABTA) was born, the idea and vision behind ABTA, the range of its activities, and ABTA’s contributions to academic communities of the UK and Turkey.
The introduction was followed by a keynote address by His Excellency Mr. Unal Cevikoz, the Turkish Ambassador to the UK who has shared his strong support and appreciation to ABTA initiative. Mr. Cevikoz commended the sustainability and success of ABTA and stressed the organization’s significant role in advancing high quality education and research for Turkish communities in the UK. Mr. Cevikoz suggested ABTA to increase networking opportunities among its members, and particularly reach out to more British academics.
The keynote was followed by warm greetings by Mr. Ahmet Demirok, Turkish Consul General and Mr. Kemal Koprulu, the Ambassador of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in London. Both leaders offered unlimited support and encouraged ABTA to be both an academic and a social platform for members to meet, exchange ideas, and help each other to develop professionally and personally.
Prof. Izzet Kale, Professor of Applied DSP and VLSI Systems at the University of Westminster shared reflections from his research experience and elaborated on the key elements and factors of a successful innovation process.
Prof. Alp Ozerdem, Chair in Peacebuilding at Coventry University, shared his perspectives on Turkey based on his extensive research on peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
After the keynote addresses, participants enjoyed a delicious Turkish lunch with a mesmerizing live guitar performance by Sedat Sarici.
During the lunch, participants' suggestions for ABTA were collected via feedback forms. Turkish and British academics have provided huge enthusiasm and support for ABTA and many members expressed their support for a sustainable growth of ABTA.
The lunch was followed by informal gatherings, socialising and networking among some one-hundred academics who attended the event. The networking event was arranged into three sections:
1) Engineering and Natural Sciences,
2) Social Sciences,
3) Business, Economics, and Finance.
In the words of a participant: “ABTA’s second annual lunch was like a dream with fond memories – amazing colleagues who are fun to talk to, high quality connections and friendships, the magnificent view of Canary Wharf, an incredibly lovely sunny weather, and delicious Turkish food accompanied by warm conversations, and of course best Turkish tea and coffee.. We really felt at home in Turkey. What more can you want?”