Field Study to Istanbul: Turkish delight for IDD students

This April more than 30 IDD masters students flew to Istanbul, Turkey, to participate in a field study organised with the help of IDD alumnus Dr Ali Ercan Ozgur, founder of IDEMA consulting. During this five-day study programme, more than fourteen speakers and nine host organizations shared their experience of government systems, business and public administration with the group.

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Every year all IDD’s Masters in Public Administration (MPA) or Development Management (Human Resources) students have the opportunity to take part in a study trip and this year the students, accompanied by Dr Elena Denezhkina, Dr Adrian Campbell and Ms Ann Westover, visited Istanbul, the vast but enchanting city on the edge of Europe, where West meets East.

The group's programme consisted of visits to non-governmental organisations and government agencies, including the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey, the Istanbul Development Agency, UNDP, the International Entrepreneurship Center, the Community Volunteers Foundation Turkey, the Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey, the Istanbul Development Agency, the Caspian Strategy Institute and the British Council Education Department and others.

The group also attended several sessions at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University held by Mr Serdar Dinler, Dr Ceyhun Gocenoglu and the organizer, Dr Ali Ercan Ozgur, who between them provided an overview of the Turkish political and governmental context. The CSR president made Turkey’s neglect of safety at work his key theme- something that we recalled a few weeks later when news of the massive mining disaster broke.

Overall the programme offered a case study of the changing relationship between nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurs, businesses and government in the context of rapid economic and social development, urban expansion and political uncertainty. Above all it showed the development strategy that underscores Istanbul’s leading role in Turkey’s economic development and modernization, reflected also in the international development for which Istanbul is (with UNDP’s new regional headquarters) becoming a regional hub.

Apart from exploring the economic and political context of Istanbul, students visited historical and cultural sights, learning about traditional Turkish food and music. For the group it was also a networking experience – the chance to widen our international links and knowledge of global politics.

Written by By Tomislav Korman, MPA student 2013-14.