Message from the President

Prof. Dr. Şebnem Akçapar
DMEDD President (2023-2024)

Dear DMEDD Members,
Dear Friends,

Since its establishment in 1981, DMEDD has been involved in a wide range of activities and has provided scholarships to many martyrs' relatives and/or students in need, as well as providing much needed assistance to educational institutions. Today, thanks to the management and supervisory boards that preceded us, the name of our association has become known even in the farthest corners of Türkiye and has gained the respect it deserves. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude each and every one of our members who volunteered their time and efforts for DMEDD. Please rest assured that their names are well guarded at the forefront of our association headquarters as well as in our institutional memory.

As the 43rd Board of Directors, when we took office with great excitement, we faced a positive and a negative development. The positive development was that, thanks to the guidance of our predecessors, we chose the 2C (Continuity and Change) model to determine our own path. Under the Continuity Model, we not only welcomed back the board members who had served with such dedication during the previous term, but also witnessed the successful completion of previously initiated projects. We also started to work towards a more sustainable continuity of projects, such as gastro-diplomacy and new gains for our scholars. As part of the Change Model, we explored ways to make better use of digitalization and technological advances. For example, we tried to put a new face on our website and social media with bilingual sharing that allows foreign missions to follow us; we communicated with similar organizations of the European Union for international recognition; we discussed the problems of international spouses who have increasingly become a dear part of our community; and in the spirit of gender equality, we made efforts to include male members in the Board of Directors and Supervisory Board for the first time. We also initiated projects on various issues for our members, such as the reintegration of children into the education system, the creation of jobs abroad for spouses, and the right to retirement.

The negative development was the devastating earthquake on February 6, 2023, which shook us all deeply and caught us unprepared. During this period, we were deeply saddened by the loss of two of our most valuable diplomats, Ambassador H.E. Devrim Öztürk and KİM Officer Gökhan Aytaç, who were serving in our Hatay Representative Office. We gave the best example of social solidarity both individually and through the aid that reached Türkiye from different parts of the world under the coordination of you and your spouses in our missions abroad. During this period, the importance of civil society was reaffirmed. Starting from healing process of our own wounds, we developed in-kind aid projects for other earthquake-inflicted families and vulnerable groups such as women and children. We delivered these aids to the earthquake-affected families who were settled to Ankara. We also organized an event on April 23 at the Ankara City Hospital with children who lost their limbs in the earthquake but did not compromise their joy of life. Our social aid efforts in this area continue at full speed and we are on our way to signing permanent projects that will make DMEDD members proud.

This year has a special place in our hearts and minds as we get closer to celebrating the centenary of our Republic. We have not only started a seminar series on the topic but also planned ahead other activities. We are definitely proud that this turning point in history has crossed our path. I sincerely hope that we could celebrate it together with you in a festive manner that is most suited to the founders of Turkish Republic and our great leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you,