June 17, 2011, Washington, DC - The president of Turkey's Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Professor Muhammed Sahin, visited Washington, DC June 14-15, 2011 to promote ITU’s generous scholarship program for Native American students and to raise awareness for a new initiative to facilitate infrastructure development in Indian Country.
In collaboration with TCA, ITU launched a scholarship program in November 2009 to award 10 comprehensive scholarships to Native American students each semester. ITU’s new initiative, announced this year, will bring five additional Native American representatives to Turkey for an intensive, all-expenses paid workshop on infrastructure financing and development to support economic growth on tribal lands in the U.S.
During his brief visit, TCA introduced Prof. M. Sahin to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus and the only Native American Member of Congress. Both representatives were impressed with ITU’s scholarship program and were delighted to learn of TCA’s close collaboration with the oldest engineering school in Turkey. Prof. M. Sahin also briefed Rep. John Larson (D-CT), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, about ITU's new initiative, and visited the offices of Rep. Kristie Noem (R-SD) and Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK). In all of his meetings, Prof. M. Sahin encouraged Congressional support to strengthen Native American-Turkish economic relations.
Prof. M. Sahin met with Howard University's Dr. Kofi Bota, Special Assistant to the Provost for International Programs and Dr. Anita Nahal, Prof. of Southeast Asia and Women’s Studies. At a lunch meeting hosted by TCA, Prof. Sahin briefed Native American representatives, including the Native American Contractors Association and the National American Indian Housing Council, about ITU’s scholarships and pending initiative. Dr. Sylvia Onder of Georgetown University, who also was in attendance, pledged to publicize ITU and TCA’s scholarship programs.
“ITU’s generous scholarship program, coupled with its new initiative to facilitate infrastructure development in Indian Country, is a perfect complement to TCA’s efforts to build bridges to other communities in the United States,” said TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy. “ITU has been very generous in supporting TCA’s educational projects in the past and we look forward to continuing our partnership to bring our countries closer together.”
ITU launched its scholarship program during a TCA-sponsored Native American Lecture Tour of Turkey in November 2009. Participants of the trip stayed at ITU’s Macka campus and interacted with ITU faculty and students. In November 2010, participants in the TCA-sponsored Native American Business Cooperation Trip met with Prof. Sahin during a visit to ITU, which included a tour of the university’s Technopark.
ITU is the second Turkish institution, after Bahcesehir University, to offer scholarships that complement TCA’s scholarships for minority students. Each semester, Bahcesehir offers up to eight full-tuition scholarships to African American, Hispanic American or Native American students.