TASSA 2012 Conference was a great success!
TASSA has completed another chapter with remarkable success by its Annual Conference at University of Maryland on March 3-4, 2012. More than 400 eminent scientists and scholars from both the United States and Turkey attended the meeting in growing numbers and created once again a spectacular showcase towards building a sustainable science bridge between the two countries. We share our pride with you and express our most sincere gratitude to all sponsors, speakers, and attendees. We also thank University of Maryland for their gracious support and hospitality.
This conference has been possible by the contributions of countless volunteers who worked diligently to bring you an informative and forward thinking program. We wish to go on record with our heartfelt appreciation for their tireless commitment to make TASSA’12 a highlight event.
We are continuing to post some snapshots of memorable moments from the conference as well as video streams as they become available. The video recordings of the speakers are also posted on the website, and the proceedings will be published in due course. The media had extensive coverage of the conference. On the other hand, we certainly recognize that there is always room for improvement.
If you attended TASSA’12 Conference, please send an e-mail to us and provide your valuable feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can better address your needs at our next conference.
For those who couldn’t attend the conference below please find a brief summary:
About 400 scientists and scholars from 240 institutions (academic, non-profit, industry, government) form the US and Turkey attended the TASSA 2012 conference. 62 percent of the attendees were from academic institutions. The concentration areas of the attendees varied between life sciences, social sciences, engineering, medicine, policy, law, literature, and art. 82 percent of the participants were from the US and 18 percent were from Turkey. 24 percent of the attendees were graduate students studying in the US.
The Conference started with the welcoming remarks of Conference Chair Murat Tarımcılar, TASSA President Haluk Ünal and Dean of R.H. Smith School of Business Anand Anandalingam. Next, H.E. Namık Tan, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the United States, welcomed the attendees and stated that this conference will shine an important light on the increasing presence of the Turkish Scientists on the world scene and will enable us to return the synergy of this conference into applicable policies that will increase scientific cooperation within Turkey and the US. The President of the University of Maryland, Wallace Loh, also welcomed the attendees on behalf of the University Faculty and students. He quoted former President of the US, Theodore Roosevelt “to educate a person in science but not in morals is to educate a menace in society” which he highly resonates with. He also mentioned that in today’s world there is a brain circulation and no longer a brain drain. He stated that we are in a time of collaboration and competition for the best minds of the 21st century and those minds will travel across national boundaries and that we are becoming universities without boundaries.
The conference program included 42 distinguished speakers. In Social Sciences and Humanities session, Daron Acemoğlu from MIT talked about the ten future trends that will likely shape our world and the connections among those trends. Kemal Derviş from Brookings Institution gave perspectives on the current state of the world economy. He added that Turkey has become more resistant to the global economic shocks. He further emphasized that the growth potential of Turkish economy is promising.
Murat Günel from Yale, Mehmet Toner and Gökhan Hotamışlıgil from Harvard University were the speakers of the Life Sciences session. They talked about the recent developments in Health Sciences. Later, Bruce Alberts from the US Science Envoy talked about the importance of credible and independent sources for science.
In the two parallel sessions; Engineering and Applied Sciences, Aydoğan Özcan from UCLA and Ümit Özgüner from the Ohio State University shared the results of their research with the audience.
In the Social Sciences session, Ahmet Faruk Aysan and Tuğrul Gürgür from the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey talked about the research opportunities in Turkey as the Chair of G20 in 2015. Additionally, Emre Doğru from TÜSİAD talked about the expectations of the business community.
Young Scientists made presentations on the recent discoveries in two parallel sessions. In the bioengineering and biomedical systems fields Melis Anahtar from Harvard University, Kıvanç Birsoy from Whitehead Institute, and Gizem Dönmez from Tufts University presented their research. In the session on energy systems, the presenters were Şeyda Ertekin from MIT, Anıl Ağıral from Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, Alper Ertürk from Georgia Institute of Technology, and Can Bayram from IBM Research Labs.
Davut Kavranoğlu from the Turkish Ministry of Science, Industry, and Technology said that the conference served an important forum on how Turkish universities and industrial firms could benefit from the knowledge and experiences of the Turkish scientists in the US. Jonathan Margolis, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State, said that there is great potential to further improve the cooperation between the US and Turkey. He also added that he was impressed by the knowledge and level of expertise of the Turkish scientists who attended the conference.
In the evening of March 3, Ambassador Namık Tan and his wife Fügen Tan generously hosted a reception at the Turkish Embassy Residence. He greeted the guests and gave a warm and friendly speech talking about the acquisition story of the Turkish Embassy Residence. About 300 guests attended this reception.
In the morning of March 4, TASSA conducted its General Assembly Meeting. The Acting President, Haluk Ünal presented the past activities of the Transition Team and described the current financial condition of TASSA. The voters elected him as the new TASSA President along with a new board consisting of eight members.
On Sunday morning, Çiğdem Acar from Acar Law Firm held an immigration law workshop. She talked about the U.S. Visa strategies, challenges and opportunities.
The next speaker Barry Bloom from Harvard University, had a conversation with Gökhan Hotamışlıgil about the roadblocks and solutions of developing science and technology.
In the next session, Gökhan Çetinsaya, The President of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), and thirteen Turkish university presidents interactively discussed higher education model for Turkey in a panel. Prof. Çetinsaya stated that Turkey needs a more educated human capital to globally connect with outside world and explore new opportunities in the science and technology field.
After the panel, Sandra J. Laney representing the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary, US Department of State, talked about the NeXXt Scholars Initiative that seeks to educate and engage young women in science and technology.
Sixteen presidents from Turkish universities introduced their institutions and talked about the job and collaboration opportunities for scientists and scholars.
Thirteen universities from Turkey met with 125 applicants in reserved rooms for recruiting purposes and provided detailed information about available positions.
Overall, 34 scientific and institutional posters were presented at the conference.
The attendees also filled questionnaires and provided very useful feedback about the conference. The majority of the comments were about the quality of speakers, the content of the program, the relevance of the program content for current issues, the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the conference, and the opportunities for networking, socializing, and employment.
We look forward to seeing you at the next TASSA conference to be held at UCLA in 2014.
TASSA Executive Committee