About

Board of Governors

The Board of Governors has full responsibility for the Institute of Turkish Studies' policies and programs. The Board is composed of distinguished scholars in the field of Turkish Studies and prominent individuals from the private and public sectors in the United States, including former U.S. ambassadors. The Board of Governors meets on a regular basis to review and evaluate the Institute's activities and makes all decisions for its grant program.

Adnan Akant
Fischer, Francis, Trees and Watts, Inc.

Adnan Akant is Chief Investment Officer for Currencies at FFTW, an institutional global bond management firm with over $50 billion in assets. Prior to joining FFTW in 1984, Akant spent six years managing the World Bank's liquidity portfolio and advising the Treasurer on the Bank's multi-currency borrowing program.

Akant holds Ph.D., SB, SM and Engineering Degrees from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science (1972-1977). He also holds an SM in finance from the MIT Sloan School (1978). Adnan Akant is Co-Head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank's FX Committee for the Buy-Side Group. He is also a member of the New York Academy of Science and Sigma Xi.
Prof. Sinan Ciddi (ex oficio)
Executive Director

Sinan Ciddi was appointed as the fourth Executive Director of the Institute of Turkish Studies, succeeding David C. Cuthell at the end of August 2011. Ciddi was born in Turkey and educated in the United Kingdom, where he gained his Ph.D. in Political Science from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in June 2007. He was previously an instructor at Sabancı University between 2004-2008 and completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the same institution between 2007-2008. He recently published a book titled Kemalism in Turkish Politics: The Republican People's Party: Secularism and Nationalism (Routledge, January 2009) focusing on the electoral weakness of the Republican People's Party. Between 2008-2011, he established the Turkish Studies program at the University of Florida's Center for European Studies.
Steven A. Cook
Council on Foreign Relations

Steven A. Cook is Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S.-Middle East policy. Cook is the author of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square (Oxford University Press, Fall 2011), which won the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's gold medal in 2012, and Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007). His new book, Thwarted Dreams: Violence and Authoritarianism in the New Middle East, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2016.

Cook has published widely in foreign policy journals, opinion magazines, and newspapers, and he is a frequent commentator on radio and television. He also currently writes the blog, From the Potomac to the Euphrates.

Prior to joining CFR, Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution (2001-2002) and a Soref research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (1995-1996).

Cook holds a BA in international studies from Vassar College, an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and both an MA and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He speaks Arabic and Turkish and reads French.
Prof. Walter Denny
University of Massachusetts

Walter B. Denny joined the faculty of the UM/A Art History Program in 1970. His primary field of teaching and research is the art and architecture of the Islamic world, in particular the artistic traditions of the Ottoman Turks, Islamic carpets and textiles, Islamic imagery in European art, and issues of economics and patronage in Islamic art. His recent publications include the books Gardens of Paradise: Ottoman Turkish Tiles of the 15th-17th Centuries (İstanbul, 1998); Masterpieces of Anatolian Carpets from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul (Bern, 2001); Ipek: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London, 2002); and The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets (Washington D.C., 2002). Iznik: La Céramique Turque et l'art Ottoman appeared in 2004 in Paris (Editions Citadelles et Mazenod), followed by English (Thames & Hudson) and German (Hirmer) versions in 2005.

Denny has served as a Trustee of The Textile Museum (Washington) and was for three decades Honorary Curator of Carpets and Textiles at the Harvard University Art Museums in Cambridge. In addition to his ITS board membership, Denny serves as Charles Grant Ellis Research Fellow in Oriental Carpets at The Textile Museum. He is active as a lecturer and as a consultant to museums and other institutions in the United States and abroad. He is married to Alice Robbins, a professional musician (Baroque cello and viola da gamba) who is also an instructor in the Five College Early Music Program, and is the father of Matthew, born in 1988. Denny performs as a tenor soloist and chorister with various ensembles, including Da Camera Singers and Arcadia Players, and serves on the Board of Directors of Arcadia Players.
Prof. Sibel Erol
New York University

Sibel Erol, who holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, is a Clinical Professor of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies at New York University, where she has taught Turkish language and literature courses (including courses on Middle Eastern film and masculinity) since 1998. She works on a variety of topics such nationalism, modernity, postmodernism, gender, film and the novel. She is currently editing a book in Turkish on Orhan Pamuk's novel Snow. Her previous publications on Pamuk's works include Reading Orhan Pamuk's Snow as Parody: Difference as Sameness (originally appearing in Comparative Literary Studies, then reprinted twice in Contemporary Literary Criticism and Twentieth Century Criticism, respectively), and The Chronotope of Istanbul in Orhan Pamuk's Memoir Istanbul (published in IJMES). She has written extensively on the authors of the republican period such as Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu and Resat Nuri Guntekin. She works on women authors: on Halide Edib Adıvar, Adalet Agaoglu, Nazli Eray, Latife Tekin, Leyla Erbil among others. She has written a series of introductions for Halide Edib's Memoirs, for the English translations of Adalet Agaoglu's Summer's End (Yazsonu) and of Nazli Eray's Orpheus (Orfee). She has appeared in the Halide Edib documentary The Greedy Heart of Halide. She has contributed an essay on Turkish literature to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women, describing and analyzing the works of Turkish women authors. She has recently published Does Turkish Literature Exist: An Attempt to Answer through the Works of Leyla Erbil, Savkar Altinel and Ataol Behramoglu, in the Journal of Levantine Studies. She has served on the boards of the American Association of Teachers of Turkic Languages and of the Turkish Studies Association. She is currently on the editorial board of the International Journal of Middle East Studies.
Edward J. Erickson, Ph.D.
Scholar-in-Residence
Clark Center for Global Engagement at the State University of New York at Cortland

Dr. Ed Erickson recently retired as Professor of Military History at the Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. He now serves as a Scholar-in-Residence in the Clark Center for Global Engagement at the State University of New York at Cortland, Cortland, New York.

Dr. Erickson is a retired regular US Army lieutenant colonel and was commissioned in the field artillery in 1975. He also qualified as a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Turkey. During his career, he served in artillery and general staff assignments in the United States, Europe and the Middle East (including three tours in Turkey). In the Persian Gulf War of 1991, he served in the Third Armored Division as an artillery battalion operations officer, in Sarajevo in 1995 as a special assistant to the NATO Force commander, and in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 with the Fourth Infantry Division as General Raymond Odiernoís political advisor. He is the recipient of two Bronze Star medals, the Legion of Merit and numerous other military awards.

After retiring from active duty, Dr. Erickson worked as a high school social studies teacher and a school administrator in his hometown of Norwich, New York. He returned to Baghdad, Iraq in 2007 for a year to work as Professor of Political Science at the Ministry of Defense Training and Development College before coming to the Marine Corps University in Quantico in 2009. He has masterís degrees from Colgate University and Saint Lawrence University as well as a Doctorate in History from the University of Leeds in the UK.

Dr. Erickson is widely recognized as one of the foremost specialists on the Ottoman Army during the First World War. Among the numerous books he has written are Ordered To Die, A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War; Defeat in Detail, The Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912-1913; Gallipoli, The Ottoman Campaign; Ottomans and Armenians, A Study in Counterinsurgency; Gallipoli, Command under Fire; and Palestine, The Ottoman Campaigns 1914-1918. He is the co-author, with Dr. Mesut Uyar, of A Military History of the Ottomans, from Osman to Ataturk. Dr. Erickson is also the author of Strategic Water; Iraq and Security Planning in the Euphrates-Tigris Basin and A Soldierís Kipling, Poetry and the Profession of Arms. Dr. Erickson is a frequent visitor to Europe and the Middle East and his latest book project is titled Phase Line Attila, The Amphibious Campaign for Cyprus.
Ambassador James Jeffrey
Philip Solondz Distinguished Visiting Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Ambassador James F. Jeffrey retired from the Foreign Service with the rank of Career Ambassador in June, 2012. At present he is the Philip Solondz distinguished visiting fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Visiting Instructor at George Washington University, consultant, and member of the Secretary of Defense's Defense Policy Board.

Ambassador Jeffrey has held a series of senior posts in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Prior to his service as Ambassador in Ankara, 2008-2010, and Baghdad 2010-2012, he served as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor in the George W. Bush Administration. Previously he served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State, where his responsibilities included leading the Iran policy team and coordinating public diplomacy. Earlier appointments included service as Senior Advisor on Iraq to the Secretary of State; Chargé d'affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Baghdad; Deputy Chief of Mission in Ankara and Kuwait; Ambassador to Albania, and Deputy Coordinator for Bosnia.

A former infantry officer in the U.S. Army, Ambassador Jeffrey served in Germany and Vietnam from 1969 to 1976. His wife Gudrun and he have two children, Julia, and Jahn.
Sylvia Önder
Georgetown University

Sylvia Wing Önder is Visiting Associate Professor of Turkish Language and Culture in Georgetown University's Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Division of Eastern Mediterranean Studies, where she has taught since 1998. Her Ph.D., in Interdisciplinary Turkish Culture, is from The Ohio State University, 1998. She has an MA in Folklore and Folklife (1991) and a BA in International Relations (1986) both from the University of Pennsylvania.

At Georgetown, she has designed and continues to teach Turkish Language at three levels, culture classes such as "Central Asian Cultures", "Introduction to Turkish Culture", and anthropology classes such as "Anthropology, Colonialism, and Islam", "Medical Anthropology", and "Intro to Cultural Anthropology". Her book, We Have No Microbes Here: Healing Practices in a Turkish Black Sea Village, came out in May of 2007 in the Medical Anthropology Series of Carolina Academic Press. Dr. Önder has taught at Georgetown University's McGhee Program in Alanya, Turkey. This year, she won a federal grant from the Department of Education, Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad, to run the ARIT-BU Fellowship competition for the Intensive Summer Advanced Turkish Language Program at Boğaziçi University in İstanbul.
Kent F. Schull
SUNY Binghamton

Kent Schull is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Binghamton University, SUNY. He received a Doctorate and MA in history from UCLA and a Graduate Diploma in Jewish Studies from the University of Oxford. He is also a twice Fulbright Scholar to Turkey. Schull's general research and teaching endeavors focus on the history of the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East during the 19th and 20th centuries. Research specializations include socio-legal history, state formation, criminal justice, incarceration, identity, and Islamic criminal law in the Ottoman Empire and broader Middle East. His first book, Prisons in the Late Ottoman Empire: Microcosms of Modernity (Edinburgh University Press, 2014), investigates the intersection between Ottoman prison reform and the everyday lives of prisoners and prison officials. His second book, a co-edited volume entitled Living in the Ottoman Realm: Sultans, Subjects, and Elites (Indiana University Press, 2016), looks at the transformation of what it meant to be Ottoman during the empire's long existence as it transformed from a pastoral-nomadic polity, to a conquest state, world empire, and nation-state by the end of its existence. His third book, another co-edited volume entitled Law and Legality in the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic (Indiana University Press, 2016), looks at the intersection of law, legitimacy, and legality in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey from the early modern era till the early Turkish Republican era. His current research projects include comparative criminal justice between the Ottoman Empire and its Eurasian contemporaries during the long nineteenth century; an investigation of Ottoman POWs and "Enemy Alien" expatriates during WWI; the role of prisons and prisoners in the Ottoman war effort during WWI; Mormon Missionary and Relief efforts among the Ottoman Armenian populations, and the codification and transformation of Islamic criminal law and practice during the late Ottoman Empire.

Kent Schull is currently the editor of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association (JOTSA) and the book series editor for Edinburgh's Studies on the Ottoman Empire (Edinburgh University Press).
Angela E. Stent
Director of The Center for Eurasian, Russian & East European Studies

Angela Stent is Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She is also a Senior Fellow (non-resident) at the Brookings Institution and co-chairs its Hewett Forum on Post-Soviet Affairs. During the academic year 2015-2016 she is a fellow at the Transatlantic Academy of the German Marshall Fund. From 2004-2006 she served as National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council. From 1999 to 2001, she served in the Office of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State.

Stent's academic work focuses on the triangular political and economic relationship between the United Sates, Russia and Europe. Her publications include: Russia and Germany Reborn: Unification, The Soviet Collapse and The New Europe (Princeton University Pres, 1999); From Embargo to Ostpolitik: The Political Economy of West German-Soviet Relations, 1955-1980 (Cambridge University Press, 1981); Repairing US-Russian Relations: A Long Road Ahead (2009) Restoration and Revolution in Putin's Foreign Policy (2008), An Energy Superpower? Russia and Europe (2008), Reluctant Europeans: Three Centuries of Russian Ambivalence Toward the West (2007), and Putin's World (2014). Her latest book is The Limits of Partnership: US-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century (Princeton University Press, 2014), for which she won the American Academy of Diplomacy's Douglas Dillon prize for the best book on the practice of American Diplomacy.

She is a member of the senior advisory panel for NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a contributing editor to Survival and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Cold War Studies, World Policy Journal, Internationale Politik and Mirovaia Ekonomika i Mezhdunarodnie Otnosheniie. She has served on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council for Russia and Central Asia. She is a Trustee of the Eurasia Foundation and of Supporters of Civil Society in Russia. Dr. Stent received her B.A. from Cambridge University, her MSc. with distinction from the London School of Economics and Political Science and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Prof. Jenny White
Boston University

Jenny White is a social anthropologist and professor at Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies. She served as president of the Turkish Studies Association and of the American Anthropological Association Middle East Section. She is the author of Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks (chosen by Foreign Affairs as one of three best books on the Middle East in 2012); Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: A Study in Vernacular Politics (Winner of the 2003 Douglass Prize for best book in Europeanist anthropology); and Money Makes Us Relatives: Women's Labor in Urban Turkey. She also has published three historical novels set in nineteenth-century İstanbul, The Sultan's Seal (2006), The Abyssinian Proof (2008), and The Winter Thief (2010). The Sultan's Seal has appeared in fourteen languages. The Sultan's Seal was named one of the top ten first novels of 2006 by Booklist and was shortlisted for the 2006 Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award.
Amb. Ross Wilson (retired)
Chairman of the Board Governors
Atlantic Council

Ambassador Ross Wilson is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, visiting lecturer in international affairs at George Washington University, and chairman of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Turkish Studies. Over the course of a thirty-year career in the US Foreign Service, he served as American ambassador to Turkey in 2005-08 and to Azerbaijan in 2000-03. Elsewhere overseas, he held assignments at the US embassies in Moscow and Prague and at the American consulate general in Melbourne, Australia.

In Washington, Ambassador Wilson was principal deputy to the ambassador-at-large and special advisor to the Secretary of State for the new independent states of the former Soviet Union in 1997-2000. He also served as deputy executive secretary of the State Department for Secretaries James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, and Warren Christopher; chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick; chief US negotiator for the Free Trade Area of the Americas; and in the State Department's offices dealing with the USSR and Egypt.

In 2010-2014, Ambassador Wilson was director of the Atlantic Council's Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, where he led the Council's work on the former Soviet states, Turkey, and regional energy issues, and he organized the Council's annual Energy and Economic Summit in İstanbul.

A native of Minnesota, Ambassador Wilson received a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and master's degrees from Columbia University and the US National War College. He is a recipient of the president's Meritorious Service Award, as well as numerous Department of State awards and honors. He presently serves as vice chairman of the board of Global Minnesota (the World Affairs Council affiliate in Minneapolis) and on the Eurasia Foundation Advisory Council. He holds memberships in the Academy of American Diplomacy, the American Foreign Service Association, and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, and he is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. He is married to Margo Squire, formerly a career diplomat with the US Information Agency and State Department. They live in the Minneapolis area.
Prof. Birol Yesilada
Portland State University

Birol A. Yesilada joined Portland State University in 1998 as professor of Political Science and International Studies and holds the endowed chair in Contemporary Turkish Studies. He is also the Director of the Center for Turkish Studies in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government as well as Director of the Middle East Studies Center of PSU. Prior to joining Portland State, he was chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He received his B.A. degree in 1977 in Neurobiology from the University of California at Berkeley, his M.A. in Political Science in 1979 from San Francisco State University and his Ph.D. in Political Science in 1984 from the University of Michigan.

His current research interests include: Global power transition, World Values Survey (Cyprus), the European Union, political and economic development of Turkey, radical Islam and terrorism, the Cyprus negotiations and international conflict resolution, and politics of economic reform in the emerging markets. His recent publications include several books EU-Turkey Relations in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2013), Islamization of Turkey Under the AKP Rule (co-ed with Barry Rubin, Routledge, 2012), The Emerging European Union (Longman, 2010) and over 30 articles and book chapters. His is the former co-editor-in-chief of International Studies Perspectives and former Associate editor of Middle East Studies Association Bulletin. Dr. Yesilada has been a consultant at various Departments of the US government, the Council on Foreign Relations, the RAND Corporation, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Nathan Associates, Barclays Capital, the World Bank, and is an Academic Associate of the Atlantic Council. He was invited by the White House to take part in a panel study at the RAND Corporation on "Politics and Islam in the New Constitution of Afghanistan" as part of the commission that drafted the new Constitution of that country.
Prof. Heath Lowry
Governor Emeritus

Since 1993 Heath W. Lowry has been the AtatÜrk Professor of Ottoman & Modern Turkish Studies at Princeton University. Prior to that time he was a founding member of the History Department at the Bosphorus University in İstanbul, Turkey (1973-1980), and a Senior Research Associate at Harvard University's Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection in Washington, D.C. (1980-1983). Between 1983 and 1993 he established and directed the Institute of Turkish Studies in Washington, D.C. Currently, together with his position at Princeton University, he serves as an Advisor to the Bahçeşehir University Board of Trustees in İstanbul, Turkey.

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