Volume 15, Number 13
December 23, 2008

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The Debate Society Heads for the World Championship

This week, the Bilkent Debate Society team will be traveling to Ireland to take part in the World Universities Debating Championship hosted by the University College Cork. With over three hundred teams from leading institutions around the globe attending, competition is bound to be tough at what is widely considered to be the most prestigious and challenging student event among world universities. Expectations are running high as the Bilkent team takes its rivalry with other top Turkish universities to the highest international field, but the Bilkent Debate Society is confident their team is more than capable of holding its own when it comes to competitive debate.

Debating is a relatively new student activity in Turkey. It has been barely a decade since the first debate societies were established at leading universities. World-wide, however, student debating has a deep-rooted history and solid reputation for nurturing countless successful public figures and politicians through their university years, and debate societies at institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge have been producing prime ministers and leading statesmen since the beginning of the 19th century. Since their founding, these societies have propagated a culture of critical thought, public discussion and vigorous democratic discourse, providing a forum for free speech where the clash of arguments delivers the good and discards bad ideas. Members of debate societies, equipped with eloquent and fluid speaking techniques, solid argumentation skills and vast debating experience, enjoy a tremendous advantage in public and professional life after graduation.

At Bilkent University, the Bilkent Debate Society is the student organization which aims to provide a platform for students interested in debating. The Competitive Debate Team trains for, and competes in, various national and international debating events throughout the year, both in English and Turkish. Through the Society, educated and articulate individuals who excel in presenting and defending their ideas are developed. The Debate Society also aims to organize open student debates, invite guest speakers for open discussions, throw parties and have an obscene amount of fun while doing so.

Whether you wish to improve your speaking skills, learn how to argue effectively, hone your English rapidly through intensive practice, travel abroad to compete in tournaments, meet interesting people, organize events or just watch others debating, you can join the Debate Society by sending an email to debate@lists.bilkent.edu.tr

Library Art Gallery Unveils Latest Exhibition

koray aydinBilkent University's Library Art Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition by Cihat Aral who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in İstanbul. His first solo exhibition opened at the Taksim Art Gallery, İstanbul, in 1977. He later went to France to continue his education. All together, he has had 21 solo shows held in Istanbul, Paris, Ankara, İzmir and Copenhagen, and has participated in a variety of group exhibitions.

Of course, it's a hectic and stressful time of the year for staff and students alike. A visit to the Main Campus Library Art Gallery might be just what you need to clear your mind for a spell. And, it's a perfect opportunity to see the inspiring, exciting creations of Cihat Aral before the show ends on January 14. Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

New Road Connects Main and East Campus

new road

The new road which joins the East Campus with the Main Campus opened on November 21. The 8 meter wide, 1100 meter long road is well marked and lit, and six speed bumps help to slow traffic. The road allows for easier passage between the two campuses. With the opening, the Transportation Department has altered the routes for the Main Campus to East Campus Ring Bus as of December 1. For route information, visit www.bilkent.edu.tr/~transprt/.

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Exchange Students Perform Plays in Turkish with Impressive Results

Hats off to all of the exchange students (and a few teachers) who participated in the small plays organized by the Turkish classes they are currently enrolled in. Five popular children's stories were presented to the audience, followed by a short guitar/singing performance. The stories were not represented in a formal manner whatsoever. They were extremely creative and humorous, using very little props. Not only was the acting great, but the Turkish language skills the exchange students displayed was nothing but incredible. I've lived in the Middle East for 19 years and, unfortunately, I cannot speak Arabic as well as they can speak Turkish, which is an embarrassment to me. I applaud the instructors who have the patience to teach the students, and the students who have the motivation to learn such a language.

The thing I enjoyed most about the plays, personally, is how they included the audience. For instance, when a modernized version of Aladdin was performed, hip hop songs were used as the sound track. The audience sang and clapped to the rhythm, and everyone shared in the laughs.

Preparing for such activities is time consuming, so the students did a great job balancing it out with their busy class schedules. Unfortunately, not many students participated as a part of the audience. I think it is important for more students to support these events by taking the time to attend. Make sure you take part in this activity next year! It comes with great laughs!
İrem Esen (MAN/II)

New Room for Visually Impaired Students to Open

The Handicapped Students Unit, BILMED and the Alumni Center are proud to announce that a room for the visually impaired has been built in the Main Campus Library thanks to donations made by Bilkent Alumni, and the contributions of BILMED. This room has been equipped and furnished with the most advanced technology to help students with visual impairments succeed.

There will be an opening ceremony on Thursday, December 25, in room
A-107 in the Main Campus Library Building, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. All are welcome to attend.

Bilkent Professor Becomes Associate Editor for Prestigious Journal

koray aydinProf. Cevdet Aykanat of Bilkent's Computer Engineering Department, has recently been appointed to the Editorial Board of "IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems" as an Associate Editor. The journal is one of the most prestigious in the parallel and distributed computing field.

Cevdet Aykanat received his BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from the Middle East Technical University, and a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Ohio State University where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He worked as a research associate at the Intel Supercomputer Systems Division in Beaverton, Oregon. Professor Aykanat has been affiliated with the Department of Computer Engineering at Bilkent since 1989 and has been the director of Bilkent's Summer School since 2005.
He has authored and co-authored approximately 50 indexed journal articles. His publications have received more than 300 citations. He has been the coordinator and principal investigator of several applied research projects funded by the European Union, TUBITAK, and Intel-SSD. He is a past recipient of the 1995 TUBITAK Investigator Award and the 2007 Parlar Science Award.

Also in this issue:

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Please submit your letters to bilnews@bilkent.edu.tr
or to the Communications Unit, Engineering Building, room EG-23, ext. 1487.
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