70 Students from 23 Universities on 5 Continents Gather in Turkey to Reject Extremism


70 Students from 23 Universities on 5 Continents Gather in Turkey to Reject Extremism

Organized in partnership with Bahçesehir University, Mohammed V University of Rabat, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, London University) within the framework of the European Commission’s Erasmus+ program and in partnership with 20 universities from Europe, the Middle-East, Africa, North and South America, the 2015 International Summer University took place in Cappadocia, Turkey from July 19 to August 2 on the theme “The Power of Images: Truth, Manipulation and Intolerance”. It ended with the awarding of diplomas of “Youth ambassadors for peace and dialogue among cultures” to the seventy one participating students.

With the advent of mass media and the internet, the modern world has shifted from a print culture to a visual culture: a new age of image-centered communication has begun. In this transition, the use of analogical thinking has also shifted from verbal metaphors to visual ones. This shift is particularly evident in the use of intercultural communication. This year’s program explored the power of images as a basic and indispensable tool of cultural interaction: how images are processed, how they function in relation to our innermost beings, and how they form the psychological fabric of our political, social, and economic environment. A focus was put on the role of the various media in creating the images which impact our lives: how visual images create a language with profound psychological meaning, and how print, television, film and the newly-arrived social media manipulate images to create desired emotional effects. We looked at the most controversial areas of image persuasiveness today -- advertising, politics, and entertainment.

Cutting across many disciplines (psychology, politics, history, sociology, law, religious studies, journalism…), the course was done in the form of a lecture series by eminent scholars in the field, combined with active participation by students in the form of project presentations and discussion groups. The team projects and discussions groups enabled students to develop their communication, listening and interaction skills with people of different cultural backgrounds.

Moreover, the students were provided with an opportunity to keep in touch and continue their discussion and cooperation beyond the summer course through a research project in groups. Working under the supervision of tutors during the summer university, each group submitted a research proposal at the end of the two-weeks and continued to work together after the first stage of the program in order to submit their complete research paper to an international panel of academics in October 2015.

In addition to lectures, discussions in classes and informal activities, the program included extracurricular activities among which: visits to Göreme open air Museum and its surroundings, Derinkuyu Underground city, the Ihlara Canyon, an evening at the historical Carevanserai attending a Whirling Derwishes Ceremony as well as an evening of traditional Turkish Folklore.

List of the lectures:


-          “The Power of images: a 21st century revolution?” by Prof. NILUFER GÖLE (Opening lecture)

-          “The Power of Images: Media, Myths and Stereotypes” by Prof. Lucy NUSSEIBEH

-          “Building Images, Political Memory and History”, by Prof. Nilufer NARLI

-          “The Images and Muslim Traditions” by Prof. Nilufer NARLI

-          “Complexity, Enlightenment and resistance” by Prof. Lucy NUSSEIBEH

-          “Images in Marketing and Advertising” by Prof. Tülin ERDEM

-          “Use and Misuse of Images in Politics” by Özcan MUTLU

-          “The Power of Moving images” by Prof. Ali ARKAY

-          “Images of the Other in Jewish-Muslim Confrontation 1900-2015” by Prof. David KATZ

-          “How Demonization Works” by Prof Tudor PARFITT

-          “Symbols, Myths and Images” by Prof. Tudor PARFITT

-          “Christianity: From Icon to Image” by Prof. David KATZ

-          “The Image and Mystic Traditions” by Prof. Cengiz SISMAN

-          “Extremists and their Manipulation of Images” by Prof. Riva KASTORYANO

-          “West and East: Confronting Image with Reality” by Prof. Yilmaz ESMER

-          “The Politics of the Perception in the Image Age” by Prof Riva KASTORYANO

Partner universities:

Ain Shams University; Al-Quds University; Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre; The American University of Iraq; Bahçesehir University; Bogazici University; Columbia University; Florida International University; Freie Universität Berlin; Graduation Institute of International and Development Studies; Harvard University; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Kadir Has University; Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris; Mohamed V University; New York University ; Université Polytechnique de l’Ouest Africain; Salahaddin University – Erbil ; Sapienza University of Rome; School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; Tel Aviv University; University of Tunis; University of Sao Paulo.



The city of Istanbul witnessed on Monday, July 20, the opening ceremony of the third year of the International Summer University for Intercultural Leadership

Together against Extremism, for Peace: Istanbul opening of the International Summer University: from left to right: Abe Radkin, Enver Yucel, Habib Kazdaghli, Menachem Ben-Sossan, Mansour Alnogaidan, Ahmed Dizaei


Egyptian, Tunisian, Moroccan, Emirati, Iraqi, Turkish, Israeli, Palestinian and Senegalese institutions join Western European and North and South American universities in third International University for Intercultural Leadership

The city of Istanbul witnessed on Monday, July 20, the opening ceremony of the third year of the International Summer University for Intercultural Leadership, organized by the Paris-based Aladdin Project in partnership with Bahcesehir University, Mohammed V University of Rabat, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, London University) within the framework of the European Commission’s Erasmus+ program.

Under the high patronage of UNESCO, 70 students from 23 universities in Europe, the Middle East, North and South America and Africa participate in a two-week program of lectures, workshops, group research and field studies on the topic of “The Power of Images: Truth, Manipulation and Intolerance.” The program takes place in the village of Sinasos in the heart of ancient Cappadocia in Turkey. The region has been a crossing point of cultures and faiths for millennia, with Judaism, Christianity and Islam all having strong historical connections to this ancient land that lies on the Silk Road and the Roman highway that connected Constantinople to Jerusalem.

High-level emissaries of the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Mayor of Istanbul joined the presidents and deans of several partner universities to address the students at a special ceremony at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul.

The opening ceremony began with words of welcome from Prof. Senay Yalcin, President of Bahcesehir University and Prof. Nilufer Gole, Chair of the Academic Committee. Abe Radkin, Executive Director of the Aladdin Project, outlined the program’s objectives and thanked the program’s partners, sponsors and the Municipality of Metropolitan Istanbul for its cooperation.


from left to right: Nilufer Göle et Ahmed Dizaei


Enver Yucel, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Bahcesehir University, talked about the strategic importance of bringing young leaders from different countries and cultural horizons together.

In her message on the occasion of the opening of the third International University for Intercultural Leadership, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova emphasized the values that lie at the heart of this initiative at these turbulent times: tolerance, youth empowerment, and intercultural dialogue for peace and reconciliation.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s envoy Ambassador Kenan Ipek addressed the students on the topic of “Where is the 21st century headed: cooperation or clash of civilizations?”, while Prof. Ermen Tuncer, representing Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas, and Ambassador Gurcan Turkoglu, Chairman of the World Heritage Committee and Vice-President of the UNESCO National Commission in Turkey, spoke about the need to build bridges between cultures to overcome extremism, prejudice and hate.

Former Turkish Minister of Education Nimet Bas; Prof. Menachen Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Mansour Alnogaidan, Director General of Al-Mesbar Center for Studies and Research in the United Arab Emirates; Prof. Ahmed Dizaei, President of the University of Salahaddin in Erbil (Iraqi Kurdistan); Prof. Habib Kazdaghli, Dean of the University of Tunis Manouba; Prof. Lucy Nusseibeh, Director of the Center for Media Studies at Al-Quds University and Prof. Khalid Bensrhir representing Prof. Saaïd Amzazi, President of Mohammed V University of Rabat were among the speakers at the opening  ceremony.

The inaugural lecture, “Power of Images: A 21st Century Revolution,” was delivered by Prof. Nilufer Gole, Director of Studies at the Paris-based EHESS and Chair of the Academic Committee.