The Asian Studies Center at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul was inaugurated in 2009 and it is currently the only research institution of its kind at any Turkish university. The center’s main purpose is to contribute to the development of Asian studies in Turkey and to expand research and academic exchange relations between Turkey and Asian countries. Moreover, the center is supporting the Chinese, Japanese and Korean language training programs currently offered by the Department of History of Bogazici University, exploring prospects for providing programs in other Asian languages as well and devising projects for improving the communication and mutual understanding between the Turkish people and the peoples of Asian countries. The center is also organizing and coordinating the M.A. in Asian Studies program offered by the Institute of Social Sciences at Bogazici University.
In order to strengthen the academic links between Turkey and Asian countries, the center is actively encouraging the exchange of graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and professors between Bogazici University and partnering universities in Asian countries. The center has exchange programs and mutual research projects with a number of major global centers in Asian studies such as Columbia University, Wheatherhead East Asian Institute, or Peking University, Department of History. The Asian Studies Center is also undertaking projects and regularly organizing conferences, seminars, lectures and symposia on Asian issues, particularly on subjects related to Turkish-Asian exchanges. In this context, the center is cooperating with Turkish and international stakeholders in order to reach larger audiences. With its large collection of resources, the center functions as a reference center for scholars from universities in Turkey and abroad. The center is actively establishing relations with the industry, with priority given to peak business associations that have a geographical focus on the Asian region. Moreover, corporations interested in broadening their knowledge on Asia-related issues are offered custom-designed lectures, workshops and training programs.
The center has been founded by Prof. Selçuk Esenbel, a historian of Japan with worldwide reputation who publishes on Japanese/Turkish relations and modern Japans' interaction with the world of Islam. She continues to be active in the center as the academic coordinator. The current director of the center is Prof. Arzu Öztürkmen, whose research focuses on cultural history including performance studies, oral history. She is currently working on comparative media studies in China and Turkey. Nine members of the administrative board of the center are Turkish professors from different disciplines albeit all with an Asian interest. The researchers of the center include doctoral students, who similarly come from different disciplines but all having a focus on Asia and proficiency in at least in one Asian language.
The center has a wide network of visiting researchers from Korea, Sweden, Brasil, Japan, and China who pursue their research agendas in Istanbul.
As the successor institution of Robert College, the first American higher education institution established outside the United States in 1863, Bogazici University is one of the most prestigious public universities in Turkey. With its six campuses, three of which are located on the European side of Istanbul overlooking the Bosphorus, the university has four faculties (Arts and Sciences, Economics and Administrative Sciences, Education, Engineering) and two schools (Applied Disciplines, Foreign Languages) offering undergraduate degrees through a total of 28 departments, six institutes offering graduate degrees (Social Sciences, Science and Engineering, Modern Turkish History, Biomedical Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Observatory/Earthquake Research) as well as seventeen research centers. Language of instruction at the university is English.
With more than 900 academic personnel, 9,500 undergraduate and 2,800 graduate students, Bogazici University pursues the mission of educating individuals who can think critically, expanding the scientific horizons in Turkey and contributing to the institutionalization of science, art and culture among the Turkish society, while at the same time generating universal knowledge and contributing to critical thinking, science and technology and serving humanity.