MESA Academic Freedom Award
Fatma Muge Gocek, Ron Suny and all the scholars associated with the Workshop for Armenian-Turkish Scholarship
The 2005 Academic Freedom Awards goes to Fatma Muge Gocek of the University of Michigan and Ron Suny of the University of Chicago, and all the scholars associated with the Workshop for Armenian-Turkish Scholarship, in recognition of their successful collective effort, using the tools of history and the social sciences and relying on the language of collegial discourse, to initiate and implement a project that overcame political divisions in society and in the academy and has provided a model that others addressing other conflicted histories can use in the years ahead.
In the year 2000, these scholars initiated a series of conferences between Armenian, Armenian-American, Turkish and Turkish-American historians and specialists that addressed issues raised by the 1915 destruction of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian population. In September 2005 they achieved a noteworthy milestone when Istanbul’s Bilgi University hosted some members at a conference on these issues, also organized by Bogazici and Sabanci universities, despite considerable opposition from a number of political leaders and groups in Turkey.
MESA celebrates their efforts as an elegant example of how academic freedom works and why it must be protected and promoted. We trust that their efforts will serve as a model to be emulated elsewhere.