Istanbul Bilgi University (Bilgi), Youth Studies Unit

Established in 1994, Istanbul Bilgi University is a unique institution with its wide variety of cultural and social activities, dynamic environment, access to state of the art technology and exceptional academic staff who are the foundation of Bilgi’s quality education. More than 650 scholars of international standards offer high level education in 58 programs under six faculties, three Institutes, three School of Applied Sciences and a Vocational School. In the last three years, Bilgi has been involved in more than 60 international research projects, about 25 of which has been funded by the EU. Bilgi has been involved in four projects funded under the 7th Framework Programs. The University’s established cultural and scientific community promotes tolerance and respect for a diversity of individuals with different lifestyles, beliefs and ways of thinking within the framework of contemporary universal values, while maintaining strong ties with all segments of the society.

The Youth Studies Unit at Istanbul Bilgi University was founded in 2006 by a joint protocol between the university and one of the leading youth organisations in Turkey, that is the Community Volunteers Foundation (Toplum Gonulluleri Vakfi). The unit aims at contributing to the disciplines of youth studies and youth work and the development of democratic youth policies in Turkey. It specialises in four main program areas: 1) youth studies and policies research, 2) advocacy on youth policies, 3) networking and capacity building in youth organisations and 4) developing good practices in youth work. Working under the umbrella of the Civil Society Studies Centre of Istanbul Bilgi University, the Unit has four full-time employees specialised in one of the abovementioned program areas.

Persons involved in the project

Professor Nurhan Yentürk has been working as a professor in the Department of Economics at Istanbul Bilgi University. She has been the Director of the Istanbul Bilgi University NGO Training and Research Centre since 2003. Yentürk has extensively written articles, policy papers, and chapters in edited volumes on youth policies and youth unemployment. She is the co-author of the book Youth Work and Policies in Turkey. She has also been working on public spending for young people and how public spending can be used to empower young people. Yentürk has been working currently as an advisor to the IPA project called Network: Youth and Participation Project (NETWORK).

Yörük Kurtaran received his undergraduate and taught postgraduate degrees in political science at Bilkent University. Kurtaran has been working as the director of the Youth Studies Unit at Istanbul Bilgi University since 2006. He has published several articles on youth issues. He co-edited the book Youth Work and Policies in Turkey. Kurtaran has also been working as an advisor to the IPA project called Network: Youth and Participation Project (NETWORK).

Kenan Dursun has received his Mechanical Engineering degree from Sakarya University in 2007 and completed his MBA at Beykent University. As a student, he has been interested in civil society. He has participated at the national and international events of several civil society organizations as a volunteer. After his graduation, he started to work in civil society sector. completed his undergraduate studies in Political Sciences & International Relations and Sociology at Bogazici University. During his postgraduate studies, he worked as a researcher at the Bogazici University Social Policy Forum where he engaged in research projects on different dimensions of social policies. Currently a doctoral candidate in the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds, Yilmaz recently joined Istanbul Bilgi University’s Youth Studies Unit as a researcher. He is co-author of the book entitled Social Inequalities in Turkey (in Turkish).

Burcu Oy received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Boğaziçi University in 2004 and is currently a taught postgraduate student in the Clinical Psychology Program of the Institute of Social Sciences at the same university. With a vast voluntary experience in different NGOs doing youth work and running child-youth centres since 1999, Burcu Oy has been working for the Youth Studies Unit since 2009.

Laden Yurttagüler has been working as an instructor for the courses focusing on the civil society and participation at Istanbul Bilgi University. She has been working as a program coordinator in the Istanbul Bilgi University NGO Training and Research Centre since 2005. Yurttaguler has taken part in human rights and social rights focused projects as a content developer, training program designer and trainer since 2002. Yurttaguler contributed to several publishing on civil society, youth and social exclusion. As a research fellow in the Youth Studies Unit, Yurttagüler has developed training programs and also written several articles on the participation and social exclusion of young people. Yurttagüler has been currently working as an advisor and as an researcher to the IPA project called Network: Youth and Participation Project (NETWORK).

Ali Alper Akyüz (Asst.Prof.Dr.) holds a Ph.d. degree on Organisation Studies and he is currently employed in İstanbul Bilgi University Civil Society Studies Centre and Department of Arts and Culture Management. He acts as the coordinator of the Masters Programme on Social Projects and NGO Management. He has been teaching undergraduate courses on GE101 (Introduction to Practical Ethics), GE104 (Contemporary Issues in Environment and Ecology), GE201 and GE202 (Social Responsibility Projects I and II), GE213 (Introduction to EU Grant Schemes and Project Proposal Preparation), GE401 (Ethics and Life Course), EU426 (EU Funds and Projects), CAM412 (Non-Profit Organisations and Capacity Building), NGO507 (Local and International Funding for NGOs) and delivering on-line and face-to-face non-formal trainings on human rights and human rights education, NGO management, communication skills and EU for NGOs, young people and a variety of adult learners, including teachers. During his university education, he's been involved in advocacy activities aiming Turkey's admission to EU Education and Youth Programs, Socrates, Leonardo Da Vinci and Youth, by means of coordination of a Europewide campaign that included informing of related institutions and individuals, direct initiations and meetings with Members of European Parliament, and extensive documentation. His recent studies include articles and research reports on youth related services, organization of volunteering, volunteering laws and policies, civil society in Europeanization process, labour process and sensemaking of NGO professionals, sustainability issues, EU environmental laws and policies, education and training and project cycle management.

Pınar Gümüş has received her BA degree in 2007 from Political Science and International Relations, Bogazici University and her MA degree in 2010 from Cultural Studies, Sabancı University. Conducting an ethnographic field research with an amateur youth theatre group for her MA thesis, she has focused on young people’s everyday life experiences and their on-stage performances in relation. After working as the coordinator of Bogazici University Social Policy Forum Research Centre and then as the projects expert in Tohum Autism Foundation between 2010-2013, she is currently a doctoral fellow at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) in Justus-Liebig-Universitat Giessen/Germany. Her research interests are mainly in the fields of youth studies, social movements, gender studies and performance studies.

Hale Akay received her BA in International Relations and MA in Economics of EU from Istanbul University. She received DEA degree in Mathematical Economics from Université Toulouse 1 Sciences Sociales/Midi Pyrénées School of Economics. She worked in the Department of Public Finance finance in Istanbul University and Department of Economics Istanbul Bilgi University. At the same time, she has taken part voluntarily and professionally in several NGOs working on human rights issues. Recently, she has worked as a researcher in Helsinki Citizens Assembly's Cross-border Citizens' Network for Peace, Inter-communal Reconciliation & Human Security project. Her research interests include public policy analysis, security and conflict transformation studies.

Ferhat Mahir Çakaloz received his BA degree in Psychology and in Sociology from İstanbul Bilgi University. He received his MA degree in Philosophy from Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis University. He worked both voluntarily and professionally in several NGOs which are mainly focused on intercultural youth work and also in private sector as a youth trainer, a monitoring and evaluation expert and as a board/card game designer. He specialized in non-formal trainings on team building, communication skills, human rights education and training for trainers. His research interest is mainly about the history and the philosophy of education of youth.

Emre Erdoğan, PhD., is an expert of public opinion, statistical methods and political science. He is professor of political methodology in Istanbul Bilgi University and Boğaziçi University. Erdogan is author of several articles about public opinion, volunteerism, political participation, youth political participation and social capital. His book about perceptions of Europeans about Turks and Turkey, “They Know Us Wrongly” is published in 2012. He’s also the author of a book about civic and political participation of Turkish youth.

Main tasks attributed to Bilgi
-Partner in WP1, WP2, WP3, WP4, WP7 and WP8



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