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Volume 6, Number 9
22 November 1999

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Meet New Bilkenters!
Mark Laszlo-Herbert came to Bilkent two months ago as a master`s student in the department of International Relations. Mark was born in Cluj (the capital of Transylvania) and lived there until he finished high school. Then he immigrated to Hungary where he continued his education at the Budapest College of Management and Business Studies.

In 1998, he met two students from Bilkent during a summer school in Bologna (Italy). A month later, while he was passing by a Turkish Airlines office he saw an advertisement that said "Last Minute Tickets to Turkey". He bought a ticket the next day, came to Ankara and visited Bilkent. In July 1999, he decided to apply for the Masters Program in International Relations at Bilkent. He sent his application and got accepted.

Mark`s family is like a small resemblance of Transylvania, as far as his ethnic background is concerned: his mother is German and his father is Hungarian. Mark speaks five languages; English, French, Hungarian, German and Romanian. Both of his parents are musicians, so he grew up with music and learned to play the violin when he was a child. He is now planning to play in a string quartet formed by foreign diplomats in Ankara. Besides being an amateur musician, Mark is a professional figure skater. He participated in several championships in the past. Now he is volunteering at the sports center to teach Bilkent students figure skating with Dr. Levent Tunalư.

Mark calls Transylvania "the core of central Europe". Transylvania used to be a province of Hungary before it was included to Romania. Currently, it is a mixture of ethnic minorities. Mark says "The north-west region of Romania, which used to be part of Hungary, is very different from the south part which was under Ottoman domination for centuries. The southern Romania looks a lot like Turkey."

Mark traveled all across Europe and the U.S.A. For him life is a journey to be discovered and he prefers the road less traveled.

Following this philosophy, he invites everybody to explore Transylvania. He adds that Turkish people do not need a visa to visit Romania, "Everybody is welcome to stay in my parent`s house, this is an open invitation", he says in a hospitable manner. Mark seems to be "an interesting book to be read" with his calm and friendly soul.

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