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Humphrey Fellow Demet Gulaldi Makes a Virtual Presentation for her Colleagues

Article about a presentation by Demet Gulaldi, Humphrey Fellow
gulaldi.jpgby Joe Savrock (March 2008)

Demet Gulaldi, visiting Humphrey Fellow from Turkey, had a cordial virtual exchange with familiar faces from back home during a recent Penn State presentation.Demet is one of 15 international scholars who have taken a one-year sabbatical from their professions in order to participate in the 2007–08 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program at Penn State. Demet is participating in the program to expand her knowledge in the areas of K–12 education, psychology, early intervention, infant disabilities, and early childhood activities.

As part of their yearlong Humphrey Seminar, the Humphrey Fellows present talks—during the first semester about their homelands and cultures, and during the second semester about topics more closely related to their work and professional experiences. During her recent presentation, Demet interacted via a live video feed with several disabled residents at the Metin Sabanci Rehabilitation Center in Istanbul, Turkey, where she serves as deputy director. She introduced the residents to her Humphrey colleagues.

Demet chatted with Nilgun Acar, a 48-year-old woman with cerebral palsy. Nilgun arrived at the center about twelve years ago after her mother passed away. “Nilgun is interested in poetry,” said Demet. “She has had three books of poetry published. She also likes to create ceramic pottery, listening to music, and chatting with her friends.”

gulaldi_presentation.jpgMouhadjer Noureddine, a Humphrey Fellow from Algeria, greeted Nilgun during the presentation. “It’s not often I get to talk to such a pretty lady,” he told her, bringing a wide smile to Nilgun’s face.

Mustafa Yalcin, a 37-year-old resident who likewise has cerebral palsy, also talked with Demet during her presentation. He has been living in the group home for eight years. “His major interest is politics,” noted Demet. “He is very closely interested in the politics of Turkey. Mustafa is an honorary member of Turkish Labor Party.”

Demet added that Mustafa enjoys swimming, watching TV, and chatting with his friends. During the presentation, he chatted with Ms. Thin Moe Moe Lwin, a Humphrey Fellow from 
Burma.

The smiles and energy were apparent on both sides of the video hook-up. “Thank you. You made them so happy,” said Demet to the other Humphrey Fellows at the end of the presentation.

The College of Education is the home of Penn State’s Humphrey Fellowship Program. The one-year, non-degree program offers participants combined academic and professional development opportunities. It brings accomplished mid-career professionals from specific countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Europe, and Eurasia to selected universities in the United States for public service, advanced study, professional training, and work-related experiences. The program was established in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter to honor the late vice president Hubert H. Humphrey.