Newsletter #5 June 16, 2010 Merhaba Yale Ambassadors!

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Apologies for the bad formatting but this needed to be edited in a different version of MSWord – did you catch the reference to Kyoto in the pdf?


June 16, 2010
Merhaba Yale Ambassadors!
It is just about one month until we meet in Istanbul at the Conrad Istanbul Hotel! We are preparing presentations, putting the finishing touches on the booths and getting ready to send you the Face Book, luggage tags and a few other items for the trip.
That means it is time for the “good traveler” speech. (Courtesy of Mark…)
Group travel can bring out the best in people, and the worst.
What is special about this trip is that we are on a mission. Although there are many fabulous sightseeing opportunities and many people are working to make this the best of tourist experiences, this is not a trip for tourists.
It is a trip for distinguished volunteer leaders on a mission to Turkey – a mission to learn about their university culture and share best practices in alumni relations. The Turkish universities have invested an extraordinary amount of time in planning a great program for us. They very much want to welcome you and learn from you.
I don’t know about you, but I believe that puts an enormous amount of pressure on us to deliver the “goods” – the most favorable of impressions of alumni camaraderie, purpose, and engagement. We are planning a number of special excursions on this trip – seeing antiquities throughout the country at Yenikapi, Catalhoyuk, and Ephesus. While we’ve tried our best to develop a great program, to engineer flawless implementation, and to manage your expectations, things may go wrong.
It could be very hot in Konya or it could actually rain in Istanbul. You could get the hotel room without the view. The bus breaks down. The same darn (high maintenance) person is late in boarding the bus again. Your assigned roommate snores. Your unassigned roommate snores. We already know that there is a lot of traffic in Istanbul and drive times are unpredictable – luckily the people in Turkey understand about the challenges in timing! 1
Well, you get the point. How we handle and respond to any potential difficulties will be a reflection of our character and the measure of our resolve. Do we pitch in to make the best of difficult circumstances – do we take personal responsibility as alumni leaders to ensure that all volunteers have a great time, or do we scream at the organizers because the food was cold?
Together, we will make this a phenomenal trip because of your spirit, enthusiasm, and talent. It has been, and will continue to be, a thrill ride. May we continue to celebrate the joy and friendship of our Yale family - our company of scholars, our society of friends - with university communities around the world.
To help us on our way, here’s what you will find in this Newsletter:
Last word on the World Alumni Leadership Conference 2

Friends in Turkey 2

Weather 3

What to Pack 3

Watch out for Raki - Food and Drink 5

The Last of What You Need to Do NOW 6

Last Word on the World Alumni Leadership Conference
By now you have practically finished preparing for your booth and Ilona reports that they will be fabulous. Linda Lorimer told me that she is ready to take the show on the road – use the exhibitions for other events such as Assembly, Welcome to Town major city events and anything else she can think of!
To add to the excitement of the day, Sharon Wiener, U.S. Consul General in Istanbul, will present a few opening remarks at the Conference. President Levin will too – he taped them for us last week!
For the 24 of you who are leading workshops, your presentation slides will be sent to you shortly.
Remember, if you have friends in Turkey, invite them to learn about the Conference and join us on July 18 by visiting the website at
Friends in Turkey
It is hard to keep track of all the wonderful people helping us prepare for and organize this trip. But there are a few stand-outs who have been critical in the planning.
Rashid (Resit) Ergener ’74 – Most of you don’t know Rashid – yet! Rashid majored in economics at Yale, received his M. Phil from Oxford University and his Doctorate from Istanbul University. After a 20-year career as professor of economics at Boğaziçi University, Rashid Ergener turned his passion for Turkish history and culture into a second career as one of the most sought-after tour guides throughout his home country. Rashid acted as a gracious host as well as phenomenal tour guide when we (Kathy and Mark) were in Turkey in October planning the trip. Since then he has advised us on all the sightseeing and logistics of our trip as well as making himself available to answer all the random questions that arise with a project like this.
In addition to his career, Rashid is the author of several books, including a book of poetry - About Turkey: Geography, Economy, Politics, Religion, and Culture - and Anatolia, Land of Mother Goddess, an account of some of the earliest civilizations founded in the land now known as Turkey. Rashid is the founder and president of the Turkish Friends of Çatalhöyük,2 the oldest-known, city-sized settlement in the world, which we will be visiting.

Mehmet Kahya ’73 – Many of you already know Mehmet but here is his formal bio. He actually received two degrees from Yale as he studied both Chemical Engineering and Economics. After Yale, Mehmet received an MBA degree in 1975 from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, with majors in Finance, Marketing and Operations Research. Mr. Kahya worked in the Sabanci Group, one of Turkey's largest conglomerates, obviously related to the university we will be visiting with July 29th and 30th. Mehmet is the President of Weston International Corporate Finance AS. As President of Weston International Corporate Finance AS, he manages the firms restructuring and workout advisory business.

But forget all that! Mehmet has been a tremendous leader as he arranged for most of the university meetings and continues to help in the planning of the program. Mehmet is currently a member of the AYA Board of Governors.
Burak Under, Operation Manager of Meptur (, is our key man on the ground. Meptur Tourism Inc., opened its doors for business in 1977 to meet the fast-growing demands of international tourism into Turkey. From the beginning, their mission was to exceed the expectations of each and every visitor who used their services and thirty two years later that same objective remains. Rashid introduced us to Meptur so we know we are in good hands!


Hot, hot, hot – that’s what we should expect throughout the trip. But the buses and hotels will be air-conditioned, there will be lots of water to drink and you can go swimming almost everyday. In July, the average minimum temperature is 15˚C ( 59˚F) and the average high is 30˚C (86˚F) with an average of 23˚C (73˚F). It is somewhat humid with typically only 3 days of rain. And nice long days.

So what should you bring with you? Some of this may be obvious but it never hurts to have a reminder…

  • Passport

  • Cash. You can use a credit card almost everywhere and there are ATM machines but you never know when a little cash might come in handy.

  • $20 to pay for each visa on arrival at the airport in Istanbul.

  • It is customary to leave a tip in restaurants (10%), for hotel chambermaids, in reception for hotel staff.

  • Taxi drivers do not normally expect a tip, but they do appreciate it, and it's acceptable to "round up" the fare. So if you're charged 4.5YTL it's usual to give the driver 5YTL.

  • For the dinner and the few lunches on your own and for shopping, you will probably use your credit card (see below.)

  • Credit cards. Call your bank in advance and let them know you will be in Turkey so they don’t reject your charges in a mistaken attempt to prevent fraudulent use!

  • Cell phone. If you have a GSM-standard phone, you can probably use it in Turkey or you can buy a Turkish SIM card if your phone is unlocked.

    • Jewelry. Forget it. Turkey is a safe country but you don’t need to impress us and you don’t want to risk losing anything.

    • Business attire for the World Alumni Leadership Conference and 5 morning sessions at the universities. There are also 6 university dinners and one breakfast not to mention our final dinner for everyone including kids. Considering that it will be hot, jacket and tie3 should be fine – and the jackets might spend a lot of the time on the back of your chair. But we are guests and it is always better to be a bit overdressed rather than underdressed. Women and the under 21 crowd should try for an equivalent level of formality.

  • Visiting mosques:  Both men and women are expected to wear clothing which comes to below knee level and to have their shoulders and chests covered.  Shorts, tanks tops and halters are completely inappropriate.  Women must cover their hair with a hat or scarf, and men should be bareheaded.  Shoes must be removed before entering the mosque so slip-ons are a good option. You will carry your shoes with you unless you are with a guide who instructs you to leave them outside.  Many of the larger mosques provide plastic sacks for you to carry your shoes in.

  • Casual clothing including shorts and casual slacks and t-shirts for three or four days including the 2 full retreat days, our morning of travel to Ankara and our last afternoon until changing for dinner.

  • Bathing suit and beach shoes/sandals.

  • Pajamas or other nighttime attire.

  • Umbrella – you never know.

  • R
    aincoat or poncho – too hot for this

  • A light jacket for cool evenings

  • Socks (who could forget those?) and other standard items (yes, that includes underwear!)

  • Footwear - generally you can figure this out for yourself but there will be a few places where you are expected to slip out of your shoes before entering a mosque.

  • Sneakers or sturdy walking shoes for sightseeing especially around archaeological sites such as Catalhoyuk.

  • Entertainment – you will be pretty tired in the evenings but we do have a couple of long train trips, not to mention the flights, so bring a good book or two.

  • Camera and computer connection - If we are extremely well organized, we should be able to produce a great slide show by the end of the tour to be shown at our farewell dinner. Of course that means that a talented volunteer has to upload the daily photo intake to his or her computer and select the best ones.

Is there a talented photo hound – or team of hounds - among us that would volunteer for such duty? If so, let me know and bring your equipment.

  • Laptop – especially if you need it for your Exhibition booth

  • Toiletries – A very personal choice

  • Personal medication especially any prescription medicines you might need

  • Flashlight

  • Sun protection such as a hat, sunglasses and sun block - lots of it.

  • A weekender bag to allow some flexibility in packing for the short visits to Konya and Ankara

  • Luggage lock for your large piece

To round out your wardrobe, you can still order polo shirts and other items with our logo from Lands’ End by visiting our store at: There are now two size logos available – the smaller may be more suitable for women’s attire.

Please use your luggage tags that you will receive in the mail! This is how we keep track of your luggage as we move from place to place. One should be for your large piece and one for the weekender bag.
Electronics and mobile phones:
Outlets/Power - Turkey operates on 220 volts, 50 Hz, with round-prong European-style plugs that fit into recessed wall sockets /points.

Four- and five-star hotels often provide North American-style 120 volts, 60 Hz flush-mounted sockets (points) for North American flat-prong plugs.

Turkish electrical plug— the business end

Check your appliances before leaving home to see what you'll need to plug in when you travel in Turkey.

Many appliances with their own power adapters (such as laptop computers and digital cameras)—can be plugged into either 110-120-volt or 220-240-volt sockets/points and will adapt to the voltage automatically, (but you will need a plug adaptor that can fit into the recessed wall socket/point.)

If you want to have a mobile phone in Turkey, an iPhone might work or even a Blackberry but here are the official options:
- Bring Your OwnGSM Phone & Use "International Roaming"
If you have a GSM-standard phone operating on the 900Mhz and/or 1800Mhz band(s), and if you succeed in registering it for use in Turkey, you can probably use "international roaming" in Turkey. This is the most expensive way to make calls, but the easiest.

- Bring Your Own GSM Phone & Buy a Turkish SIM Card
If your 900 Mhz/1800 Mhz GSM phone is "unlocked," you can buy a prepaid Turkish SIM card and call within Turkey at local rates, just as though you were a Turk, even without registering it for use in Turkey. More...

- Rent a GSM Mobile Phone in Turkey
Several companies rent mobile phones in Turkey. If you expect to be in the country just a short time, and make and receive only a few calls (such as for emergencies), this may be right for you. It's convenient, but relatively expensive.

- Rent a GSM Mobile Phone Before You Leave Home
Companies will deliver a GSM phone to you before you leave home, and when you switch it on in Turkey, you can make and receive calls immediately. Very convenient, but perhaps the most expensive way to have mobile phone service in Turkey, and if you stay any length of time, you may have to register it for use in Turkey.

- Buy a Mobile Phone in Turkey (seems excessive to me!)
Watch out for Raki – Food and drink in Turkey4
Raki is a non-sweet, anise-flavored spirit. Raki is traditionally produced by twice-distilling either pure suma5 or suma that has been mixed with ethanol in traditional copper alembics of 5000 litres (1320 US gallon, 1100 UK gallon), and subsequently flavoring with aniseed.[ It is similar to several kinds of alcoholic beverages available around the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Colombia, including pastis, ouzo, sambuca, arak, anise castellano, and aguardiente.
In Turkey, raki is the official national drink, and is traditionally consumed either sec with chilled water on the side, or partly mixed with chilled water, according to personal preference. The subsequent dilution causes raki to turn a milky-white colour, similar to the louche of absinthe or what is observed in the ouzo effect. This phenomenon has resulted in the drink being popularly referred to aslan sütü, literally meaning "lion's milk", which, together with the usage of the word aslan (tr. lion) as a Turkish colloquial metaphor for a strong, courageous man, gives the term a meaning close to "the milk of the brave". Ice cubes may be added, if desired, to dilute it, since the anise in undiluted raki tends to crystallize quickly.
Raki is commonly consumed alongside mezze -a selection of hot and cold traditional appetizers-, and is especially popular alongside seafood, together with fresh arugula, white cheese and melon. Raki is an equally popular complement to various red meat dishes like kebabs.
Food, glorious, food…
Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion of Persian cuisine, Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Caucasian and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine is not homogeneous. Aside from common Turkish specialties that can be found throughout the country, there are also many region-specific specialties. The Black Sea region's cuisine (northern Turkey) is based on corn and anchovies. The southeast—Urfa, Gaziantep and Adana—is famous for its kebabs, mezes and dough-based desserts such as baklava, kadayıf and künefe. Especially in the western parts of Turkey, where olive trees are grown abundantly, olive oil is the major type of oil used for cooking.

A typical Turkish breakfast consists of cheese (beyaz peynir, kaşar etc.), butter, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, reçel (jam/marmalade; a preserve of whole fruits) and honey usually consumed on top of kaymak. Sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage), pastırma, börek, simit, poğaça and even soups can be taken as a morning meal in Turkey. Perhaps more so than traditional breads such as pide, a crusty white loaf is widely consumed. A common Turkish speciality for breakfast is called menemen, which is prepared with roasted tomatoes, peppers, olive oil and eggs. Invariably, black tea is served at breakfast. The Turkish word for breakfast, kahvaltı, means "before coffee" (kahve, 'coffee'; altı, 'under').

A summer meal is usually made up of fried vegetables (such as eggplant, potatoes, zucchini, and green peppers) served with yoghurt, tomato sauce, sheep's cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons, melons, or summer helva (lighter and less sweet than regular helva). Frequently used ingredients in Turkish specialties include: meat, eggplants, green peppers, onions, garlic, lentils, beans, and tomatoes. Nuts, especially pistachios, chestnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts, together with spices, have a special place in Turkish cuisine. A great variety of spices are sold at the Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı). Preferred spices and herbs include parsley, cumin, black pepper, paprika, mint, oregano and thyme.

Yoghurt is an important element in Turkish cuisine.[3] In fact, the English word yoghurt or yogurt derives from the Turkish word yoğurt. Yoghurt can accompany almost all meat dishes (kebabs, köfte), vegetable dishes (especially fried eggplant, courgette, spinach with minced meat etc.), meze and a specialty called mantı (folded triangles of dough containing minced meat). In villages, yoghurt is regularly eaten with rice or bread. A thicker, higher-fat variety, süzme yoğurt or "strained yoghurt", is made by straining the yoghurt curds from the whey. One of the most common Turkish drinks, ayran, is made from yoghurt. Also, yoghurt is often used in the preparation of cakes, some soups and pastries. Turkey produces many varieties of cheese, mostly from sheep's milk. In general, these cheeses are not long matured, with a comparatively low fat content.

Börek is the general name for salty pastries made with yufka (phyllo dough), which consists of very thin layers of dough. Su böreği, made with boiled yufka/phyllo layers, cheese and parsley, is the most frequently eaten. Çiğ börek (also known as Tatar böreği) is fried and stuffed with minced meat. Kol böreği is another well-known type of börek that takes its name from its shape, as do fincan (coffee cup), muska (talisman), Gül böreği (rose) or Sigara böreği (cigarette). Other traditional Turkish böreks include Talaş böreği (phyllo dough filled with vegetables and diced meat), Puf böreği. Laz böreği is a sweet type of börek, widespread in the Black Sea region.

A typical vegetable dish is prepared with a base of chopped onions, carrots sautéed first in olive oil and later with tomatoes or tomato paste. The vegetables and hot water will then be added. Quite frequently a spoon of rice and lemon juice is also added. Vegetable dishes usually tend to be served with its own water (the cooking water) thus often called in colloquial Turkish sulu yemek literally "a dish with juice"). Minced meat can also be added to a vegetable dish but vegetable dishes that are cooked with olive oil (zeytinyağlılar) are often served cold and do not contain meat. Spinach, leek, string bean and artichoke with olive oil are among the most widespread dishes in Turkey.

Dolma is the name used for stuffed vegetables. Like the vegetables cooked with olive oil as described above dolma with olive oil does not contain meat. Many vegetables are stuffed, most typically green peppers (biber dolması), eggplants, tomatoes, or zucchini in the U.S. (kabak dolması), vine leaves (yaprak dolması).

And you know about kebabs and fish and pilaf and the most important part of the meal, dessert! For dessert there is everything from baklava and rice pudding to fruit based desserts, cookies and Turkish delight.

There is way too much to describe in this Newsletter. If this is too confusing or too much information, don’t worry – it is all delicious!

The last of what everyone needs to do right now!

  • Check the CDC website to make sure your vaccinations, etc are up-to-date

  • Pack!

Perhaps the most important item in this Newsletter –
Our entire YaleGALE delegation has an extremely exciting and intense schedule planned for Turkey. Practically every morning, every afternoon and every evening there is some amazing new opportunity awaiting you…but that might be too much for you. Please pace yourself and take a break when you need it. Yes, it all sounds wonderful but, if you are too tired, stay in the hotel or find a nice restaurant for lunch and just relax. All it takes is a quick word to Burak, Mark, Ilona or Kathy to let us know if you are opting out of an activity so the group doesn’t wait for you. Just don’t miss the flights to Konya, Izmir and Istanbul…
And if you are suffering from information overload, feel free to contact:
Kathy ( 917 693-6543),

Ilona ( 203-436-3632) or

Mark ( 203-432-1940)
Can’t wait!
Kathy and Mark, and

The Global Alumni Leadership Exchange Task Force

Paula Armbruster ’64MA

Marv Berenblum ’56

Bob Catapano-Friedman ’

Ilona Emmerth ’98

Resit Ergener ’74

Ed Greenberg ’59

Chris Hill ’99

Mehmet Kahya ’73

Gordy Meyers ’49

Glenn Murphy ’71

Kathy Murphy ’71

John Scales ’54

Catherine Terry Taylor ’83

Barbara Wagner ’73

Engin Yenidunya ’02

1 As some of you recall, in Japan everything ran on time all the time. Well, that may not happen this trip. It is our responsibility to be at the buses on time and to do what we can to stay on schedule but the more relaxed Mediterranean culture permeates throughout Turkey.

2 We will have a spectacular dinner there on July 22nd, thanks to Rashid’s planning. Read more about the site at

3 Yes, you will be getting a trip tie or scarf but one tie is probably not enough.

4 What would we do with out Wikipedia, the source of all this information!

5 Standard raki is generally produced from raisins though it may be distilled from figs as well.

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