Remembering İhsan Doğramacı
April 3, 1915 - February 25, 2010

Where it all began

In 1915 a baby boy was born in the dusty Ottoman town of Erbil in what is today Iraq into a prominent and forward-looking family. They owned vast tracts of land and countless villages, and the boy's farsighted father in the early 1920s sent a nephew to Texas A&M University in the United States to learn modern methods of agriculture. Thus it is not surprising that he sent his own son to the Preparatory School of the American University of Beirut. He wanted him to study law in order to manage the family possessions, but young İhsan preferred to study medicine in order to help those in need he saw around him. He began his studies in Baghdad, where the University of Edinburgh had opened a school of medicine with professors brought from the United Kingdom. After three years he transferred to the University of İstanbul Faculty of Medicine and graduated in 1938. He then went to visit his uncle who was governor of Manisa, a province close to İzmir. This holiday became a turning point in his life when Professor Albert Eckstein and his wife Erna, both pediatricians, came to call on the governor during their tour of Turkey collecting data on child health and mortality for the Ministry of Health.

Professor Eckstein was one of many German academics fleeing the Nazi regime who were hired by Turkish institutions of higher education in the 1930s. He invited the newly-minted physician to study pediatrics with him at Numune Hospital in Ankara, and İhsan Doğramacı was certified in that specialty in 1940. He returned to Baghdad, where his father was by now a senator in the Iraqi parliament representing the Erbil Turkmens, and served as pediatrician in a government hospital until 1944. While in Baghdad he married his wife Ayser, lifelong partner in all his undertakings, and together they decided to leave Iraq. First they spent time in the United States where İhsan broadened his professional knowledge.

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Halil İnalcık Receives TÜRKSOY Medal of Honor

Professor Halil İnalcık, renowned historian and founder of Bilkent University's Department of History, was awarded the TÜRKSOY Medal of Honor during a ceremony held at the Ankara State Museum of Painting and Sculpture on February 16 last week. The award recognized his vast and diverse contribution to historical scholarship, which has been illuminating many facets of the Turkic world and its culture for more than three-quarters of a century. As part of its mission of promoting and transmitting Turkic culture throughout the world and to future generations, TÜRKSOY (International Organization of Turkic Culture) awards its Medal of Honor to individuals who have made significant contributions to these ends.

The ceremony opened with speeches by TÜRKSOY Secretary General Düsen Kaseinov and Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertuğrul Günay. Prof. İnalcık was then invited on stage, and the secretary general and the minister presented him with the medal. Prof. İnalcık's acceptance speech, while perhaps short in duration, succeeded as always in captivating his listeners. When he mentioned that

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Personal Development Days Continue

The 8th Personal Development Days event began last week on Monday, February 12, with a speech by Prof. Ali Doğramacı, chairman of the Board of Trustees, entitled "Bilkent Vision." Prof. Doğramacı talked about the vision sustained at Bilkent since the university's foundation.

At another session, writer Ayşe Kulin captivated the audience by explaining how "reading" can change human life and bring greater value to it, with particular reference to true life stories. Her talk was followed by a seminar and workshop on CV writing.

On February 14, "Creativity" was discussed by Kağan İşmen of the Farkyeri Advertisement Agency, who illuminated the topic with examples relating to the creative processes he drew upon when establishing his own agency. Another presentation, by psychiatrist Prof. Dr. Yankı Yazgan, focused on decision making. Prof. Yazgan discussed the emotional and physical steps involved in the decisions we make in life and explained how the structure of our brain affects our decisions.

Personal Development Days is a series of workshops and lectures given by well-known and highly successful representatives of a wide variety of professions. If you missed last week's sessions, you still have the opportunity to attend this week's programs and pick up some tips that will help you advance your own personal development.