Although SU Gender is a relatively new research center, its roots date back to 2006, when a group of volunteers among students, professors and administrative staff came together to write the Sabancı University Sexual Harassment Policy Statement. This document, which was put into practice in 2007, underscored the responsibilities we all carry for a university where everyone can feel free and safe, and marked a historic step for universities in Turkey. In the same year, with the suggestion and support of our founding rector Tosun Terzioğlu, we developed the Purple Certificate Program, a one week education program on gender with high school teachers from different cities across Turkey.
These seeds, which were planted 10 years ago, have become a tree, the branches of which are constantly growing and diversifying. In 2010 we established the Gender Forum; in 2015, we were recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Board of Trustees of Sabancı University. In 2016, we obtained the Application and Research Center (UYGAR) status, given by the Higher Education Council (YÖK). Now we continue our work as SU Gender.
The Purple Certificate Program, which started with the support of the UNDP and has continued with the support of the Sabancı Foundation since 2007, has reached more than 3000 high school teachers from 17 cities with various activities, including an intensive one-week gender education program attended by 345 high school teachers, 20 primary school teachers and 70 education faculty students so far. This program continues to open new horizons for us by incorporating new activities and forms of engagement into its body.
Since 2014 we have been carrying out Curious Steps: Gender and Memory Walks, which contributes to our understanding of the city and its neighborhoods from the perspective of gender and memory, and makes possible the "discovery" and sharing of many hidden stories. In the past two years, we have organized 27 walks in Beyoglu, Kadikoy and Balat neighborhoods of Istanbul, and are currently working on developing walks in other cities, as well. Walking through the streets of the city with women and LGBTI stories researched and shared by young volunteers, we are setting up new bridges between the past, the present and the future.
The Dicle Koğacıoğlu Article Awards, organized in partnership with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences since 2010, brings together and awards young social science and humanities researchers working on gender and opens up new horizons for us all.
Each year, International SU Gender Conferences, organized on different themes varying from gender in academia to female photographers, peace studies to literature, bring academics, researchers and activists from various geographies and disciplines together, contributing to the sharing of experiences and the development of cooperation and new partnerships.
Other activities such as panels, interviews, conferences, and adult education courses organized in Tuzla and Karaköy provide valuable spaces for discussion and sharing for academics, students, and activists, while also making academic research on gender and sexuality available and accessible for the public.
We are grateful to all the people and institutions who have contributed to the past 10 years of SU Gender's activities. In these difficult times, we remain committed to continue our work, which we know will be enriched and deepened by your contributions and suggestions.
SU Gender Advisory Board Members:
Andrea Petö, Betül Kaçar, Bilge Demirköz, Cynthia Cockburn, Cynthia Enloe, Deniz Kandiyoti, Fatmagül Berktay, İpek Gürkaynak, Karin Karakaşlı, Kenan Çayır, Meral Akkent, Mert Fırat, Nadje Al-Ali, Nazlı Ümit Boyner, Nebahat Akkoç, Nihat Berker, Richa Nagar, Sanem Oktar, Serpil Sancar, Yeşim Arat, Zerrin Koyunsağan