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Apr 28 2014

NYIT Hosts International Conference on Democratization

Challenges to Democratization in the Middle East

New York (April 28, 2014) – As part of NYIT’s “Year of Turkey,” NYIT today hosted an international conference, “Challenges to Democratization in the Middle East: The U.S., Turkey, and the Arab World,” at the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway. Besides NYIT, the conference was sponsored by the Turkish Cultural Center of New York (TCCNY); Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan; Peace Islands Institute; the Sasakawa Peace Foundation; and the Journalists and Writers Foundation.

The conference, co-organized by the Turkish Cultural Center, addressed issues surrounding democratic processes in the Middle East, including Turkey, over the past decade. Approximately 150 interested audience members heard from speakers including Hisae Nakanishi, Ph.D., of Doshisha University; Gail Linsenbard, Ph.D., of NYIT; Akira Matsunaga, Ph.D., of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation; and Kerim Balci of Turkish Review magazine.

Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., NYIT’s president, opened the conference with a discussion of higher education’s role in solving the world’s most complex problems, with NYIT as a model that integrates students, faculty, and research throughout the world. “We are proud of our growing partnerships with several institutions of higher learning in Turkey,” he said.

Turkish Cultural Center of New York

Sadri Altinok, president of the Turkish Cultural Center of New York, greeted attendees by noting that NYIT provides “a valuable contribution to world peace through education.” Mehmet Kilic, TCCNY’s vice president, and NYIT Provost Rahmat Shoureshi, Ph.D., also extended greetings. Dr. Shoureshi noted that in the spirit of globalization and technology for which NYIT is well known, the conference was being simulcast via Zoom.

Dr. Nakanishi discussed contrasting experiences of the Arab Spring in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, noting that “democracy has not taken, and will not take, a linear pathway” in the Middle East. Dr. Linsenbard examined Turkey’s situation as a democratic nation, stating that Turkey is “uniquely poised to be an exemplar of statecraft.” Dr. Matsunaga also focused on Turkey, saying that a decline in military influence has resulted from the rise of democratic institutions. And, looking at political and religious movements in a variety of Arab and Islamic countries, Kerim Balci explored how these groups might foster democratization rather than turning to violence or autocracy.

A lively discussion followed the panel presentations, with questions and comments from an NYIT graduate student with origins in Algeria, and others. Attracting an audience including officials, students, and academics, the conference was the fifth in a series of events treating the culture and politics of Turkey, where NYIT has close links with three Istanbul-based universities.

About NYIT

New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 13,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan; in Nanjing, China; in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.; in Vancouver, Canada; at other global partner universities; and online.

Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 95,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit



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