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Scholars at Risk Program

Beginning in early 2016, in collaboration with the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs and the Einaudi Center, IES has worked closely with the International Institute of Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) to provide sanctuary for scholars at risk of persecution in their home countries. For these scholars, Cornell offers the opportunity to continue their research and teaching in a welcoming, safe, and supportive scholarly community as they pursue a more permanent situation for themselves and their families.

Ozgur Cicek is a Turkish film scholar who earned her PhD in 2016 at Binghamton University in Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Brandenburg Center for Media Studies (ZEM) in Germany. Cicek is the author of “Kurdish Cinema in Turkey: Theorizing a cinema of Imprisonment”, which she presented at the Mecetes European Screens Conference in September 2016. She also presented in her lecture on Kurdish cinema: Exploring the Cinema of Kazim Oz”, at the Common Stories of the Eastern Geography Workshop. Her research areas include arts and cultures, media and society, cinema literature, and film studies. For her Ph.D. research, she conducted interviews with various Kurdish filmmakers, as well as with the officials of art and culture centers, film festival organizers, and with the directors of conservatories and film schools. She also researched the impact of Kurdish oral culture on cinematic representation. 

Simten Coşar is a feminist political scientist. Retired from Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey) as a full professor (2017). Worked at Başkent University (Ankara, Turkey) (1998-2012), Eastern Mediterranean University (North Cyprus) (1997-1998). Also taught undergraduate courses at Middle East Technical University (1999-2002). She has published on politics in Turkey, intellectual history, feminist politics, and feminist theory in Turkish and in English. She is the co-editor of Universities in the Neoliberal Era: Academic Cultures and Critical Perspectives (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017), and Silent Violence: Neoliberalism, Islamist Politics and the AKP Years in Turkey (RQB, 2012). Coşar has also translated prominent works in social sciences from English to Turkish, and from Turkish to English.

Özlem Erkarslan studied architecture at Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir and obtained her master's and doctoral degrees from the same institution. Dr. Erkarslan taught as a full-time academic member in the departments of architecture of several universities between 1990-2010 including Dokuz Eylul University, Eastern Mediterranean University, and Izmir Institute of Technology. She also taught and conducted research in the graduate program of Women Studies at Ege University. She worked as department chair and professor in the department of architecture at Gediz University until 23 July 2016. Her research interests include anti-orientalism, architectural criticism, and space-gender issues. In 2002, Dr. Erkarslan was awarded the Milka Bliznakov Prize Commendation from the International Archive of Woman Architects at Virginia Tech University.

Azat Z Gundogan received his PhD in Sociology from Binghamton University for his work on peripheral urbanization and satellite city formation in the Istanbul area. He also holds a master’s degree in political science from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from Marmara University in Istanbul. His research interests stand at the junction of urban sociology, social movements, Middle East studies, and Kurdish and Turkish studies. He specifically focuses on the sociology of built environment, neoliberal urban governance in the Global South, urban renewal projects in low-income neighborhoods, and community struggles for the right to the city. He has published articles and book chapters on the Kurdish political movement in Turkey, and anti-urban renewal mobilization in the peripheries of Istanbul.

Dilan Okcuoglu received her PhD and MA in Political Studies from Queen’s University in Canada. She has an interdisciplinary background in politics, economics and philosophy. Dr.Okcuoglu's teaching and research interests primarily lie in the politics of MENA, conflict and peace studies, comparative territorial and border politics, democratization, ethnic politics and nationalism as well as state-minority relations in conflict zones. She has expertise mostly in qualitative research methods but her BA degree in Economics from Bogazici University equipped her with the necessary analytical skills to conduct quantitative research.

Ebru Öztürk is a political sociologist whose research interests stands at the juncture of European and Middle Eastern Studies and revolves around the issues of religious conversion in Sweden, unaccompanied minor migration to Europe, European Islam, jihadist Islamic networks in Europe, online Islamic radicalization, critical security studies, and Kurdish political movement. Ozturk's work examines what kind of experiences Iranian refugees in Sweden make during the process of conversion from Islam to Christianity. She explores the response given by a secular state to religious behavior, the autobiographical narrations about the process of conversion, and the biographical transition into a new social condition of the refugees. 

Ceyhun Mahmudlu was an Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations of Baku Engineering University (2017-2018). He worked at Qafqaz University (2003-2017). His teaching and research specialization is comprised of a variety of topics such as Peace and Conflict Resolution, Energy Policy and Security, Nationality and Ethnicities, and Research Methods in Social Sciences. His recent works appeared in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review, Energies, Sustainability, Problems of Post-Communism and so on.