Volume 13, Number 28
01 May

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This Week

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Bilkent MBA Students Apply Book Knowledge in Mardin

After returning from a three-day trip to Mardin, March 24-26, a group of Bilkent MBA students has decided to get out of the classroom and get their hands dirty in the rich Mesopotamian soil.

With the support of Bilkent's Toplumsal Duyarlılık Projeleri (Community Projects) and Bilkent Marketing Professors Güliz Ger and Olga Kravets, the group has formed a club project, "Kapıları Açalım" Projesi (KAP), to aid youth in the region by developing sustainable work experiences through education and networking. They are primarily working with the Young Entrepreneurs of Mardin (YEM), a cooperative composed of high school-educated youth looking to start tourism businesses.

"We are excited that students have taken the initiative to invest in the future of the less fortunate," said Erhan Erkut, dean of the Bilkent Business School, "An MBA education includes the concept of social responsibility and we eagerly support our students putting such knowledge into action."

One of their projects this summer will be to provide English training to YEM members. They are gathering materials - pens, notebooks, books, and used laptops - to send to YEM as well as to supply the public library of the local municipality and to give to elementary-school children in a nearby village. In addition, they are seeking sponsors and donors to fund restoration work in the old city, subsidize the English training, and provide initial capital for YEM businesses.

Two groups from Prof. Güliz Ger's MBA Marketing Class are also working with YEM to develop marketing plans for potential tourism businesses, such as a boutique hotel or a local gift shop. This will fulfill their semester project requirement as well as provide YEM with a starting platform to achieve their organizational goal.

Young Entrepreneurs of Mardin
YEM was formed in November 2006 by ten Mardin youth as a result of a World Bank-sponsored project in Fall 2005 for twenty-five young males and females from the Mardin region. Following, Bilkent invited and sponsored them for a month-long language and life-skills training course conducted at the university in Summer 2006. The goal of the cooperative is to introduce Mardin to tourists by developing sustainable businesses that can provide employment for underprivileged youth and encourage racial diversity and cooperation in the region.
Project "Fly-In" English Training
Using a 3-month curriculum broken into week-long segments, volunteer groups of 2 students and/or faculty will fly down to Mardin weekly and give daily English lessons. In addition, with guided tours provided by YEM, they will be able to sightsee in Mardin, one of the most historically rich and culturally diverse cities in Turkey.
If you are interested in helping out and/or participating in activities or simply want more information, please feel free to contact the following:
Information about KAP - Jason Lau, lau@bilkent.edu.tr  
English Training Project - Bryce Anderson, curtis@bilkent.edu.tr  
Books and Supplies Donation - Zeynep Aral, gulbina@bilkent.edu.tr  
Sponsorship/Monetary Funding - Gözde Çolak, gcolak@bilkent.edu.tr


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