In June 2014, Turkey’s pioneering ICT NGO Turkish Informatics Foundation and leading telecommunication and technology company Turkcell launched the Knowledge Society Institute in Istanbul. The institute was established in order to work on innovative projects to generate reliable data and know-how to help transform Turkey into a knowledge-based economy. The vision of the institute is to bring to life a pioneering think tank powered by Turkcell’s technology, which will also act as an innovation hub that encourages mobile software development and entrepreneurship. The institute will also serve as a meeting point bringing together the public and private and help to identify meritorious actors in the tech sector, highlight trends in writing, and forge international partnerships.
The Knowledge Society Institute recently announced its first international partnership with the Brookings Institution.
The launch event took place at Studio X Istanbul on November 27, 2014, where the partnership was announced in the presence of an audience consisting of various stakeholders, including senior ICT executives, representatives from ministries, academics, and NGOs.
The opening remarks were delivered by Faruk Eczacibasi, the president of the Turkish Informatics Foundation, who emphasized the need to produce reliable and quantifiable knowledge in order to inform policy in Turkey. “We are interested in technology as a means of influencing society, politics and our personal lives. In order to understand and manage this influence, we need to be able to generate data and have a clear grasp of where we are at various moments in history. With this partnership, we hope to meet the need to fill this gap,” said Eczacibasi.
Then, Eczacibasi yielded the floor to Burak Sevilengul, Turkcell’s chief consumer business officer. He conveyed the following messages: “At Turkcell, our goal is to make our customers’ lives easier, more enjoyable and more efficient through technology. Our efforts in mobile health, mobile education, machine-to-machine, and the Internet of things are already yielding results in this direction.”
He underlined that the partnership between the Brookings Institution and the Knowledge Society Institute will help to provide insights into the global knowledge produced in these fields as well as in connected living and wearable tech. He emphasized that it is an honor to be part of a partnership, which focuses on how to make a difference in the lives of individuals and the broader society through innovation.
Darrell West, vice president of Governance Studies and the founding director of the Center for Technology at Brookings, made a speech pointing out that ICT represents a chance to break down barriers and it can be a key driver of economic growth. West commented: “The ICT sector in Turkey is interesting in its own right but it is also well-positioned to promote knowledge society in this part of the world. We see this collaboration—which brings together different areas of expertise—as a project that can yield significant results.”