THO’s Inaugural Summer Research Program Takes Eight American Researchers to Turkey

In July and August, eight young American researchers traveled to Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Ankara and Gaziantep to study approaches to the refugee crisis.
In mid-July, eight young American researchers embarked on the inaugural THO Summer Research Program in Turkey, during which the researchers gathered information for individual research projects around this year’s theme, “Refugees and Asylum-Seekers in Turkey: Challenges, Opportunities, and Approaches.” 

After orientation meetings in Washington D.C., the researchers traveled to Istanbul, Ankara, and Gaziantep for a week each to get a firsthand look at whole-of-society approaches to the refugee and asylum crisis in Turkey. 

Between July 18 and August 15, the researchers engaged in more than 50 meetings with university research centers, academics, civil society organizations, think tanks, government agencies, international organizations, and NGOs. These meetings included visits with the following organizations:

Turkish government agencies and entities: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Labor, Social Services, and Family; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of National Education; the Ministry of Health; the Directorate General of Migration Management; the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority; Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality

  • U.S. government agencies and entities: The State Department, USAID, the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul; Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA); the offices of Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
  • International organizations and other government entities: UNHCR; the World Health Organization; the International Organization for Migration; the EU Delegation to Turkey
  • Universities and think tanks: Hasan Kalyoncu University; MiReKoc (Koc University); the Center for Migration Research (Bilgi University); the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV); the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV); the Asylum and Migration Research Center (IGAM); the Atlantic Council’s Turkey office
  • NGOs and civil society organizations: The Turkish Red Crescent; Development Workshop; Karam Foundation; Small Projects Istanbul; Kirkayak Kultur; the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (SGDD-ASAM); the Syrian Forum
  • Business community representatives: Turkcell; the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce
The researchers were also able to engage in multiple site visits to service centers, health centers, and community centers. During the Gaziantep leg of the summer program, the researchers visited the Nizip 2 Container City, which hosts approximately 4,000 Syrians.

Dr. Juliette Tolay, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg who has extensive expertise on asylum and migration, served as the academic guide for the program. The program was led by THO Program Officer Caysie Myers and was supported by THO Program Officer Audrey Williams.

Throughout August and September, the researchers will complete individual research projects, which will be published on THO’s website and presented during THO-organized events and activities beginning in Fall 2018.

You can read more about our researchers here and more about their projects in the blog posts below:

To learn more about each week of the program, see the weekly updates on our blog, Meddah

  • Ankara: July 29-August 5, 2018
We would like to thank our sponsors for their support of our Summer 2018 Research Program in Turkey.

About THO’s Summer Research Program in Turkey

THO’s Summer Research Program in Turkey is a new program aimed at giving young American researchers the opportunity to build research skills around topics of importance to Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy. 

The program aims to nurture the next generation of future specialists, academics, and policymakers and to give young Americans an opportunity to travel to Turkey, which is of special importance during a time when such programs are few and far between. 

The program is tailored to researchers between the ages of 21 and 30 who are either currently enrolled in undergraduate/graduate studies or have recently graduated. Each year’s program will be organized around a different theme and will provide researchers the opportunity to emerge from the program with a concrete research project, which can then be used to support the researchers’ academic studies and professional development.

If you have any questions about this year’s program or future programs, please contact Elvir Klempic (THO Executive Director) at