SERRA DIPTAS
CHAIR

Serra graduated from Sabanci University with honors in International Studies and a minor in Art Theory and Criticism. Currently she is doing her Masters of Arts in International Relations with a minor in Middle East at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Turkish Youth Foundation where she also served as the president of Foreign Affairs Commission in 2015. She was the head delegate for Turkey in Y20 Australia 2014 and the Director of Recruitment for Y20 Turkey 2015. She served as the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Youth Assembly between 2013 and 2014. At the assembly she carried out international projects related to youth, education, environment, culture and international affairs, and organized international conferences like the Turk Arab Youth Congress. While she took the role of Deputy Director for the Turk Arab Youth Congress in 2013 she served as the Director in 2014. She worked at the Turkish Ministry of European Affairs and Istanbul Policy Center as an intern. She was a research assistant for the EU FP7 Transworld Project to Prof. Meltem Muftuler Bac. She also graduated from Winter School of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and she took undergraduate courses at the London School of Economics & Political Science and Ghent University. Serra is also a Founding Board Member of YCDC. In addition to being fluent in Turkish and English, Serra knows basic Arabic and French. She likes travelling and horseback riding.

 

DENIZ BARAN
DEPUTY CHAIR

Deniz was born in 1992. He graduated from Cagaloglu Anatolian High School and Istanbul University with a degree in law. During his university years, he took part in numerous international projects and events in different countries as the chair of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Youth Assembly in 2012. He was the director of the first Turk & Arab Youth Congress in 2012. In 2013, he has participated Erasmus+ Projects in Europe and some activities in Asia. He took part in the Y20 Summit Turkey in 2015 as a moderator, then in 2016 he was a delegate to the Y20 Summit China in 2016. He also takes part at the organizations of the Al Sharq Forum. He is a member of Sen-De-Gel Association, an NGO that works in the humanitarian field for Gambia and Senegal. With a keen interest in press and media, he has taken up writing articles for an online Islamic culture bulletin, DunyaBizim.com. Deniz is also a freelance journalist and translator for the international news website, World Bulletin. He has worked for some monthly journals as a freelancer as well. He is currently working for a Turkish daily newspaper, the KARAR while continuing his legal internship and pursuing his master’s degree from Istanbul University’s Public Law Department. While his primary interests are international politics and international law, in his spare time, he enjoys researching Islamic law, philosophy, the history of religions and modern history. He loves sports and enjoys playing as well as spectating, especially soccer and basketball. His hobbies include video games and escape games / mazes.

ILKER GIRIT
DEPUTY CHAIR

Ilker earned his Bachelor of Arts in European Union Relations from Bahcesehir University in 2013. He works as a correspondent for Anadolu Agency’s English News Desk, Turkey’s state-run news agency. Previously he has worked as a trainee at the Turkish-American Business Association American Chamber of Commerce in Turkey (TABA/AmCham) for six months, before he enlisted himself to the Turkish army for twelve-month service. As a freshman, Ilker was nominated to be a member of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Youth Assembly in 2009. He was then elected to serve as the chair of the European Union Affairs Commission for 2010-2012 term. Within this period, he has realized international projects, which were primarily financed by the European Union, on the topics of social entrepreneurship, democracy and volunteerism. During this time, he participated in international training courses and conferences in Poland, Turkey, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Northern Cyprus, Romania, Greece and Kosovo respectively. In 2012, he was a Turkish delegate to the 2nd International Model OIC Tataristan. In 2013, Ilker enrolled in the trainer pool of Turkish National Agency, which carries out European Commission’s Erasmus+ Programme in Turkey, as a freelancer. Currently, he is a member and benefactor of the Sen-De-Gel Association, which carries out sustainable development projects in least developed countries like Gambia and Senegal; a council member of the Cayeli Foundation, which regularly gives scholarship to over 700 financially challenged university students every year. Ilker is also a graduate student in the Department of European Union at Istanbul University. He is married to Ayse Serra. He is native in Turkish, fluent in English. He likes playing strategy games on his computer and playing with CO2 powered air pistols.

MURAT DURU
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Murat has recently earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (ME) from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He has remained as the Student Supervisor for Instructional Technology and Media Services of NJIT. He was awarded the Provost’s Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship as a freshman and continued his research with the support of the Department of Physics and Newark College of Engineering (NCE), where he submitted his first invention disclosure. He was elected as the Vice President of Administration for the 2014-2015 term, and previously served as the ME, then NCE Representative in the NJIT Student Senate. As a sophomore, he became the only intern at Verizon to have level 1 manager status in the NY region. The following summer, he joined Verizon Enterprise Solutions – Managed Security Services team as a business analyst where his efforts resulted in the recovery of over $150K in yearly recurring revenue (YRR) and mitigation of approximately $400K in YRR loses. In 2014, he was a Turkish Delegate to Y20 Australia. He served as the Director of Global Affairs for YCDC in 2015 where he took a major role in organizing the Y20 Turkey Summit. He is fluent in Karachay, Turkish, and English. Loves to be in nature, thoroughly enjoys hiking as well as playing online games.

OGUZHAN MAILMAIL
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Oguzhan is a youth activist and entrepreneur. He graduated from Bogazici University with honors in Economics and a minor in Political Science and International Relations. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Management Studies at Stockholm Business School where he has been awarded the Swedish Institute Scholarship. During his studies he has actively partaken in several NGOs and youth organizations. He has initiated and coordinated international youth conferences and seminars in Europe, North Africa and Asia. In addition to his works in civil society, he experienced different business areas through the student ambassadorship at Google and an internship at Deloitte. As a member of Youth Commission for Diplomacy and Collaboration (YCDC), he moderated Youth Unemployment Sessions in Y20 Turkey 2015 and represented Turkey as head delegate in Y20 China 2016 Summit. His works mainly focus on youth initiatives to develop global collaboration opportunities and to search for sustainable solutions for global problems.

GULAY KAPLAN
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Gulay is pursuing her Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations with a focus on human and minority rights and the plight of Syrian refugees. Her intellectual interests have been persistently and profoundly shaped by the political scenery of her childhood. She started to become interested in human nature and the source of human diversity. This interest soon grew into a passion. As a member of this shared human society, she has always felt a strong urge to deploy theories in order to make a change in people’s lives. Driven by this purpose, she has pursued many public service experiences. She has been thoroughly involved with non-profit organizations. With her friends she had initiated several projects like the “Turk Arab Youth Congress” “Bridging Diversity” and “Two Hands One Brush” through non-profit organizations like IMM Youth Assembly and Doctors Worldwide. She had been in several Syrian refugee camps to engage the children in art projects with the intention of helping them cope with their trauma.
Gulay’s most recent project, and one she is actively directing, is “Two Hands One Brush” which she has shouldered with an independent group of university students. The project’s aim is to create resilience amongst both Turkish and Syrian children against hate speech towards Syrians in Turkey, and to lessen the prejudices that exist between the two cultures. It does so by creating a strong bond between Syrian and Turkish schoolchildren; having them feel welcomed in their new home by using art.

IPEK COSKUN
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Ipek is a researcher at the SETA Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Linguistics and minor in Sociology from Hacettepe University. She holds a master’s degree in Sociology with a thesis on educational inequality and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Gazi University now. She co-authored the books entitled ‘Küresel Eğilimler Işığında Türkiye’de Uluslararası Öğrenciler’, ‘Democray Watch: Social Perception of 15 July Coup Attempt and The Road Map for The Education of Syrians in Turkey. Her writings have appeared in various daily newspapers such as Sabah, Hürriyet Daily News, Anadolu Agency, Daily Sabah, New Europe and Kriter magazine. Currently she conducts different research projects at the SETA Foundation on Syrian refugee issue, Imam Hatip Schools, educational inequality and youth profile of Turkey.

MEHMET OSMAN GULYESIL
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Mehmet studied Law and Islamic Sciences at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen and the University of Münster as well as Yeditepe University in Istanbul. He earned his degree in Law with Honors. Currently he is a PhD Student at the Humboldt-University of Berlin and writing his dissertation on “Islamophobia and Law in Europe and Germany”. He participated in various international organizations supported by the Prime Ministry’s, of the Republic of Turkey, Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities, the United Nations, European Union, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), the Swiss Organization for Security and Cooperation of Europe (OSCE), the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). As a speaker he held lectures on topics such as Islamophobia, Religious Freedom, Legal Philosophy and Constitutional Law. In 2015 he represented Turkey as the head delegate at the Y20 Summit in Istanbul and also participated in the G20 Summit in Antalya. At the Universities of Berlin and Kassel he teaches International Law and Civil Law. Beside his academic work he is a columnist for thenewturkey.org. He speaks German, English, Turkish and Arabic. In his spare time he likes to travel, play basketball and football.

ZEYD BOHURLER
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Zeyd was born in Istanbul in 1988. After completing the German formation supported lycee of Cağaloğlu Anadolu Lisesi, he went on to earn his degree in Industrial Engineering at FMV Işık University. He then completed his Master of Science in Engineering Business Management at the University of Warwick in the UK. He has been involved with civil societies and youth NGOs since high school. He has participated in, organized, and supported large scale events, primarily in the international caliber. His social, professional, and entrepreneurial activities have taken place in a broad range of sectors including renewable energy, managerial consultancy, event & brand management in retail market, smart-city technologies, SME industry machinery, and innovation in solar lighting systems. He now serves as a project coordinator at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

EMRE ORHAN
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Emre is currently a senior at Nagoya University of Japan pursuing his degree in Automotive Engineering. He is also involved in research project in Japan focusing on transportation engineering, comparison of highway and motorway congestion at merging lanes in Japan and Turkey. During his sophomore year, with a goal to deepen his knowledge on ASEAN and Japan, and he joined ASEAN Youth Organization as the Vice-President for the Nagoya chapter to organize events, panels and discussions to strengthen the ties between Japan and ASEAN. He interned in several Japanese and German OEMs based in Japan for a total of 5 months; from production line to international sales and market management groups. He participated in international forums and conferences around Japan and had the opportunity to include in his network many NGOs such as UNDP Tokyo, Table for Two to work on the issue of hunger in Asia. In 2015, he was honored to represent Turkey as one of the five delegates at the Y20 Summit in Istanbul. He participated in Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations’ conference at Harvard University in 2016 where his primary focus was the entrepreneurship panel. Emre strongly believes in the power of entrepreneurship, as it reduces the unemployment and empowers the youth all around the world. Emre speaks English, Turkish, and Japanese fluently. He is a space enthusiast, and his dream is to book a flight to the space one day.

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ESRA MATUR SAGLAM
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Esra graduated from Civil Engineering Department of Bogazici University, certificated in Maritime Management and Brokerage by Shipbrokers’ Association and ITU. She started her career as a broker in Logistics. Upon spending 3 years in brokerage, she moved on as ERP and IT coordinator at Turkish Airlines company. She has been a member of Bogazici Managers Association since 2010 and voluntarily spent almost 4 years in Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Youth Assembly Foreign Affairs Commission engaging with various international projects in Turkey and abroad. She was the co-director of Turk Arab Youth Congress’14 and took role in Recruitment Team at Y20 Turkey 2015 as a member of Youth Commission for Diplomacy and Collaboration (YCDC). She is interested in regional culture studies, Grand Slam tennis tournaments and trekking.

BETUL AVCILAR
SECRETARY GENERAL

Betul was born in Istanbul in 1993 and completed her undergraduate studies in International Relations at Istanbul Bilgi University in 2015. In 2010, she traveled to Spain for Comenius Multilateral School Partnership Program and participated in educational and cultural co-operation studies. In 2014, she studied in Political Science at Facultes Universitaires Saint-Louis Bruxelles in Belgium for the Erasmus Exchange Program. Since 2012; Betul has been working voluntarily in NGOs such as Turkish Youth Foundation, Turkish Marine Environment Protection Association, Minik Gamzeler Association and Doctors Worldwide Turkey in the areas of social responsibility, volunteering, humanitarian aid, social solidarity, education, health, culture and environment for children, youth and adults. She also was a member of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Youth Assembly. Betul had the opportunity to manage/take a role in national and international organizations and projects such as Turk Arab Youth Congress, Young Diplomat Academy, Y20 Turkey Summit, World Humanitarian Summit. She started her professional career at Doctors Worldwide Turkey and she worked as the field coordinator of the cataract camp in Uganda and as the project coordinator of Yemen Nutrition Centers. She managed Medical Specialty Education Programs between Uganda-Turkey & Somali-Turkey. She works as Social Responsibility Program Manager at Albaraka Türk and she is doing her master in Social Projects and NGO Management at Istanbul Bilgi University. Betul loves traveling all around the world, ice skating, reading books, watching basketball matches with her husband and she speaks English well.