Professor Fulya Atacan – another SAR fellow hosted in Kraków
In 2020, the Villa Decius Institute for Culture, in the partnership agreement with the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, started implementing a Residence Program within the global Scholars at Risk (SAR) network.
In early December 2020, the Villa Decius Institute for Culture received the first SAR fellow, Professor Candan Badem, a well-known Turkish historian who has been suffering repression in recent years due to a wave of redundancies at universities. Professor Badem stayed in Krakow until February 2021.
In October 2021, another SAR fellow arrived in our city, Professor Fulya Atacan, a Turkish scientist, who, as a result of a petition signed in 2016, was dismissed from the university due to persecution by the government and barred from all public universities and state offices. Unable to continue her work and research in Turkey, seeking research and teaching opportunities in a safe place, Professor Atacan received the assistance of the global Scholars at Risk Network, and since then, she has been hosted in Krakow as a SAR Fellow. Her stay is organized by the City of Krakow, the Villa Decius Institute for Culture and the Jagiellonian University.
“For centuries, Krakow has been an open city, a city of freedom of expression and creative freedom. We are proud that, for a year now, Krakow has also been a refuge city for scientists persecuted in their countries of origin. I am pleased that, in partnership with the Jagiellonian University and Villa Decius, which has been a place of asylum for many years for creators, writers and artists in residence, we can provide a safe place to live and work for an extremely courageous person and an excellent scientist, Professor Atacan from Turkey. The promotion of artistic and scientific freedom is, especially in present times, a commitment and idea that should guide not only individual institutions or cities but also entire countries and nations,” said Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of the City of Krakow.
Professor Atacan’s scholarship stay will last until February 2022. During this time, she will live in Villa Decius, lecture at the Jagiellonian University, and continue her research work on comparing religious institutions in Turkey and Egypt. She will also have the opportunity to work with other academics, both from the Krakow university community and the international community.
Professor Fulya Atacan is already the second fellow of the global Scholars at Risk network program, hosted in Villa Decius, a place of refuge for persecuted artists and academics. “It is a great joy for us and a commitment to contribute together with the city of Krakow and the Jagiellonian University to building international cooperation based on creating a safe living space and conducting scientific activities free of politics and ideology. We will make every effort to ensure that Professor Atacan feels at home in Krakow and can focus on her research work in peace,” said Dominika Kasprowicz, Director of the Villa Decius Institute for Culture.
“I am very pleased that once again, in partnership with Scholars at Risk, we have the opportunity to host another fellow. Professor Fulya Atacan is one of the signatories to the so-called “Peace Petition,” calling for the search for peaceful solutions to the Kurdish issue in Turkey. Authoritarian regimes often consider academics as the main challenge to their power. However, when scholars experience discrimination, persecution or violence, not only are their lives and careers at risk but also the future of the university as a global community seeking truth,” emphasizes Professor Beata Kowalska, Ombudsperson for Academic Rights and Values (representative of the Jagiellonian University at SAR)
Fulya Atacan was awarded the title of the Doctor of Social Science at Istanbul University in 1989, where she worked until 2000. Since 2000, she and a group of scientists have formed the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations at Yıldız Technical University in Istanbul, where, in 2004, she was awarded the title of professor. She is the author of numerous books and scientific articles on social change, Sufism, modern Islamic movements and Islamic parties in Turkey and Egypt. She is currently working on a comparison of religious institutions in these countries. As a visiting scholar, she has lectured at universities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway. She received several awards and scholarships for her scientific work.
Professor Fulya Atacan signed a public petition in 2016, calling the Turkish authorities to resume dialog with the factions from the southeast of the country. The Turkish government accused the signatories of the petition of treason and promoting terrorism and insulting Turkey's reputation. Due to the petition signed in February 2017, as a result of government persecution, she was dismissed from the university and barred from all public universities and state offices. Unable to safely continue her work and research activities in Turkey, seeking research and teaching opportunities in a safe place, Professor Atacan has received assistance under the global Scholars at Risk program. The City of Krakow, together with the Villa Decius Institute for Culture and the Jagiellonian University, provided support and shelter for the persecuted academic.
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