The Second Matchmaking Seminar: Connecting Turkish and Israeli Civil Societies
End of October we conducted two events in the frame of our Turkish-Israeli Civil Society Project, which aims at strengthening civil society relations between Turkey and Israel through connecting and matchmaking civil society organizations of both countries for professional exchange and cooperation.
At our public event on “Cultural Diplomacy in Israel Turkish Relations” we examined how cultural diplomacy can strengthen civilian ties in times of political stalemate. We explored how citizen engagement in the form of culture, art and music, yes even a soap opera (“The Bride of Istanbul”), can contribute to an improvement of relations and influence positively political climate. Fascinating insights were given by Dr. Alon Liel, former Israeli Ambassador to Turkey and Dr. Salih Bıçakçı, Associate Professor at the Kadir Has University and Director of Middle East and Africa Research Center.
At our weekend seminar following the public event, we implemented a matchmaking process between four different civil society organizations from each side. The organizations covered the areas of social entrepreneurship, LGBT rights, innovation in education and women empowerment through food entrepreneurship. At the end of the process, each pair presented their ideas for collaboration and mechanisms for knowledge sharing and network building. Collaboration models drawn up included teachers’ entrepreneurship exchange, lecture series, mutual study visits, shared ventures and scale ventures, market penetration. Another concrete outcome of the workshop was a podcast, recorded by מיכאל רוס Michael Ross who interviewed fellow seminar participant Mustafa Sariyilmaz on LGBT life in Turkey (https://www.facebook.com/michaelrosstlv/videos/739258559908099/). Furthermore, the core group members of the Turkish-Israeli Civil Society Forum discussed new cooperation formats, promotion of networking and sustainability within the project for the year to come. So, more to come, stay tuned