THO Non-Resident Fellowship Program Co-Chairs

Selma Bardakci

Selma is currently serving at the Center for Asia Leadership which is a group of non-profit international organizations that addresses public needs and problems in Asia through research, development, training and publication initiatives in the areas of public leadership, entrepreneurship and education in Asia. It was established in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2014. Selma has ten years of experience in the non-profit sector. 

She earned a Bachelor of Political Science and International Relations from the Bahcesehir University in Turkey, during which she was an Erasmus exchange student at European University Viadrina in Germany for one semester. She also holds a Master of Global Politics and International Relations from Bahcesehir University. She most recently served at the John D. Evans Foundation as an Atlas Corps Fellow. She spearheaded several high-profile events such as a Criminal Justice Reform Working Group Meeting, with diverse strategic partners such as the White House and George Washington University, built funding partnerships with organizations, worked with closely with different kind of organizations’ senior-level representatives. Selma was the Deputy Director of International Leadership Application and Research Center. There are two departments in this center: The School of Government & Leadership, and the American Studies Center. She worked closely with the government to facilitate dialogue among policy makers, experts, civil society leaders and academics on regional and global issues. She also helped to organize Bahçeşehir University’s School of Politics U.S. program, which is a two-week program for graduate school students to meet with political and business institutions including nonprofits, the U.S. Congress, think tanks, media organizations, and lobbying groups. Selma also organizes the Global Leadership Forum, which gathers international policy makers, academics and experts from around the world. In 2012, Selma led the Young Turkey - Young America Program, representing both Turkish young professionals as well as her own university. 

Selma enjoys focusing on the topics of US-Turkey Relations, US Foreign Policy, leadership development, diplomacy and youth empowerment. She is also a Co-Opinion Young Professional Fellow, which is a policy-oriented youth solidarity network that advocates an integrated approach for youth policies in the Middle East and North Africa region to improve the agency of youth and to enhance their economic and social prospects. She has a strong passion for human and social capital development. Through these experiences, she has developed strong project coordination, implementation and management skills. In addition to her professional roles, Selma works on a social project to help Syrian refugees. She is the board member of Al-Shami Kitchen project in Turkey. A project that aims to empower Syrian refugee women and support their social and economic integration into the Turkish society. Selma has been working on built partnerships, fundraised and increased visibility of the project internationally. Selma has been continuously contributing pieces and articles to the Huffington Post and the National Interest. Selma has a passion for soccer, theatre and urban exploration.
Ertugrul Genc

Ertugrul has extensive experience in the non-governmental sector, having worked on various projects for Amnesty International Turkey, the History Foundation (Istanbul), etc. His work involved cooperation with multitude of NGOs scattered across Istanbul, and the management of an international team.

Native of Istanbul, he earned his BA in Business Administration in Marmara University, then earned an MA degree in Political Science in Bahcesehir University and is still a PhD candidate in the same field in the same institution. During the early years of his PhD, he worked for the Graduate School of Social Sciences in Bahcesehir University. His work in the graduate school involved supporting admissions, designing and preparing curricula, and helping with the American Research Center for various events and activities. His research is focusing on democracy and political culture.

In addition to these, Ertugrul has been working as a translator, working for various private corporations and NGOs in Turkey and the US, and translating non-fiction books whose topics range from science fiction movies to environmentalism in literature, and most notably Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, which became an enormously successful bestseller in Turkey and the book of the year in Turkey in 2016 and one of the best-selling books in 2017. Since 2016, he has been living and working as a QA analyst at PhotoButler, a tech startup located in Boston, US, while continuing working on his research.