The meeting started with brief remarks on how Association of British Turkish Academics (ABTA) was born, the idea and vision behind ABTA, and potential contributions of ABTA 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 shared his strong support and appreciation to ABTA initiative. Mr. Cevikoz commended the unifying vision of this new organisation, and he suggested ABTA to increase networking opportunities among its members, and particularly reach out to more British academics.
In the second keynote address, Prof. Sevket Pamuk from LSE elaborated on the constructive role ABTA could play on establishing significant networking opportunities to academics in various disciplines. He suggested creating a database of all UK based Turkish academics and British academics interested in Turkey, and forming discipline-based subgroups. He also noted that the experience of TASSA (Turkish American Scientists and Scholars Association), a similar organisation established in the USA several years ago, and advised ABTA to carefully study this organisation, learn from their mistakes, and emulate their best practices.
Prof. Gulnur Muradoglu from Cass Business School shared her personal experience as a new faculty in the UK about ten years ago, and her transition from Turkey to the UK academic life. She suggested ABTA to be a key contact point especially for Turkish students who want to pursue academic careers in the UK. Offering her unlimited support, she 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.
After the keynote addresses, the attendees enjoyed a delicious Turkish lunch with a live Oud performance. During the lunch, participants' suggestions for ABTA were collected via feedback forms. Turkish and British academics welcomed the launch of this unique organisation with huge enthusiasm, and expressed their support for a sustainable growth of ABTA. The lunch was followed by informal gatherings, socialising and networking among some seventy academics who attended the event.