2007 TASSA Annual Conference - A Big Success!

TASSA has completed another chapter with remarkable success by its Annual Conference at Yale University on March 24-25, 2007. Eminent scientists and scholars from both countries attended the meeting in growing numbers (over 300) and created once again a spectacular showcase towards building a sustainable science bridge between the U.S. and Turkey. We share our pride with you and express our most sincere gratitude to all sponsors, speakers, and attendees. We also thank Yale University for their gracious support and hospitality.

We are continuing to post some snapshots of memorable moments from the conference as well as video streams as they become available. The visual presentations of the speakers are being collected for immediate posting, and the proceedings will be published in due course. The news reports in the press about the conference have been very positive. On the other hand, we certainly recognize that there is always room for improvement. If you attended TASSA'07, please give us your valuable feedback to make our future conferences even better. We also urge you to continue the fruitful discussions ensued during the conference on our Web site in the Forum area, and thus, take advantage of our virtual environment towards creating productive and goal-oriented action teams in your technical groups and expert areas.

For those of you who could not attend the conference, we provide a brief summary below.

Prior to the official opening of the conference, a welcoming reception was held on Friday evening for all participants at the New Haven Lawn Club where TASSA President Suleyman Gokoglu and Conference Chair Serap Aksoy greeted the guests arriving from many states and overseas. It was a joyous atmosphere and a celebratory mood. H.E. Nabi Sensoy, Turkish Ambassador to the United States, and H.E. Ross Wilson, American Ambassador to Turkey, were kindly present at the reception and informally addressed the attendees.

The Conference started officially on Saturday morning with the opening remarks of President Gokoglu and Conference Chair Aksoy. Subsequently, Provost Andrew Hamilton welcomed the participants on behalf of Yale University and gave an interesting account of Yale's long-time relationship with Turkey, especially in the fields of education and health care.

The opening remarks by H.E. Nabi Sensoy and H.E. Ross Wilson provided ample and substantive evidence for the commitments of both countries to promote scientific cooperation. It was made clear that their presence was a meaningful tribute to this vision and understood to be much more than a symbolic and ceremonial obligation.

Prof. Cemal Kafadar from Harvard University, the keynote speaker of the first day, dazzled the audience with his personal charm and profound perspectives of history while making emotional references to the poetic origins of the title of his talk "time for another howl: I saw the best minds of my generation…" Prof. Daron Acemoglu from MIT, the keynote speaker of the second day, mesmerized everyone with his visionary and enlightening presentation titled "Disease and Economic Development" in which his models based on quantitative analyses impressed even the mathematicians. Right after his talk, TASSA presented a plaque to Prof. Acemoglu as a newly conferred Honorary Member, adding his name to the select group of only five others.

Prominent scientists and scholars participated in two panels, "Emerging Fronts in Energy, Environment, Food and Health" and "European Union and Turkey". Speakers discussed their views and presented the state-of–the-art works on these most popular and important themes that stand to influence the prospects of future generations worldwide.

Three interactive sessions were organized where the panelists and the audience collectively searched for solutions to enable and promote academic interactions between the U.S. and Turkey. In the first session titled " U.S. - Turkey Academic Networks - Individual Experiences," we benefited from the experiences of our colleagues who have accomplished to establish such networks. In the second session titled "U.S. - Turkey Academic Networks - Institutional Perspectives," we debated the role of decision makers and institutional policies for building successful bridges. In the final session of the program under the title of "Turkey - US Innovation Partnership," first Prof. Cemil Arikan presented the findings and specific recommendations of the National Innovation Initiative in Turkey, and subsequently, the other speakers discussed how this study relates to and impacts the scientific and technological progress in Turkey within a global context.

This year, dedicated periods were allocated for poster sessions. We are happy to report that more than 70 posters were presented at the conference. TASSA was also delighted to provide travel grants to 12 poster presenters to enable their attendance.

Another plus for this year's program was the extra time allowed for coffee breaks and hallway discussions so that the participants could more effectively interact and network with one another, as this was one of the main purposes of the conference forum. A brief tour of Yale's campus was an added perk in the program and was very much appreciated by many people. A very special Reception Gala was organized for the enjoyment of everyone showcasing Yale University's spectacular and world-famous Peabody Natural History Museum. TASSA acknowledged the key sponsors of the conference and their high level institutional members by presenting them special plaques.

TASSA also took this opportunity to conduct its General Assembly during the conference. The TASSA 2006 Activity Report and the 2006 Finance Report as well as the associated Auditors' Report were officially presented to and approved by the membership. During the second part of the Assembly, which was conducted in an open forum format, several TASSA committees presented their ongoing activities and plans for the future, and were available to answer questions from all attendees. We encourage our members to get actively involved and assume responsible roles in its committees and task forces. You can always share your ideas with us and submit your suggestions to pave TASSA's future together.

The conference adjourned with the closing remarks of President Gokoglu and Conference Chair Aksoy. It was visibly obvious from the faces that the attendees were unhappy to see the conference come to an end. People pledged for a reunion at the next TASSA conference as they reluctantly left the Yale Law School.

TASSA Executive Committee