News Release

Sakip Sabanci International Research Award Winners Announced

May 10, 2007

The Brookings Institution and Sabanci University are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s Sakip Sabanci International Research Award. This annual award is named in honor of the late Mr. Sakip Sabanci, a prominent Turkish philanthropist and business leader. It is designed to promote fresh thinking, new ideas, and original research relevant to Turkish studies conducted in any field of the humanities and social sciences.

This year’s first place winner is Dr. Christine Philliou for her essay titled “The Paradox of Perceptions: Interpreting the Ottoman Past Through the National Present.” Dr. Philliou is an assistant professor at Columbia University.

To establish a prominent forum for exploring Turkey’s increasingly important role in the world, the Brookings Center on the United States and Europe and Sabanci University launched a lecture series in honor of Sakip Sabanci. Mr. Sabanci was one of the foremost Turkish business leaders of his generation, a visionary supporter of Turkey’s democratic and economic reforms, and a strong advocate of Turkey’s efforts to join the European Union.

“The Ottoman legacy has tremendous relevance for all the current issues facing these regions,” said Omer Taspinar, a Turkey expert and nonresident senior fellow at Brookings. “For some, this legacy is part of the challenge. For others it is part of solution. This year’s Sabanci Award greatly contributes to this crucial, yet much neglected,
debate,” he said.

Added Daniel Benjamin, director of the Center on the United States and Europe, “everywhere we look -from the Balkans to Iraq-the Ottoman heritage is just beneath the surface. The research award is helping cast a light on this vital past, which provides so much of the essential prologue to many of today’s key issues.”

Richard C. Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and vice chairman of Perseus LLC, delivered the third annual Sakip Sabanci Lecture, “Turkey and America: Indispensable Allies at a Crossroads.” Previously, Ambassador Holbrooke was the chief architect of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the war in Bosnia.

During the ceremony, Ambassador Holbrooke joined Ms. Guler Sabanci, chairperson of the Sabanci Group and niece of Sakip Sabanci, in presenting the winners of the third Sakip Sabanci international research award for the best essays on the Ottoman legacy in the Balkans and the Middle East.

The 2007 award winners are:

1st Place: “The Paradox of Perceptions: Interpreting the Ottoman Past Through the National Present”
Christine Philliou, Columbia University, New York

2nd Place: “Fighting the Specters of the Past: Dilemmas of Ottoman Legacy in the Balkans and the Middle East”
Suhnaz Yilmaz, Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey and Ipek K. Yosmaoglu, University of Wisconsin, Madison

3rd Place: “De/Constructing a ‘Legacy in Stone’: Of interpretative and historiographical problems concerning the Ottoman cultural heritage in the Balkans”
Maximilian Hartmuth, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey

Honorable Mentions:
Edin Hajdarpasic, University of Michigan
Charles Sabatos, Oberlin College

About Brookings

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