The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) selected Lokman Erturk as October’s State Alumni Member of the Month in recognition of his success in applying the concepts learned during his exchange for the betterment of his community. In 2006, Erturk participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on the theme of Municipal Governance and Intergovernmental Relations in the United States during his first term as mayor of Kazan, a district of Ankara, Turkey. Since his return from his exchange, he has initiated infrastructure and economic development projects that have made Kazan one of the fastest growing districts in Ankara.
Describing the impact of his exchange program, Lokman explains that he was impressed with the way that Americans do business. Upon his return to Kazan, he applied practices he had seen in the United States as he led projects in his municipality, including the development of the district’s wastewater and clean water infrastructure facilities, the building of new sports complexes and green spaces, and the implementation of aid programs to help local citizens in need of food. In recognition of these efforts, Kazan residents elected Erturk to a precedent-setting second term. Kazan now leads Ankara districts in attracting public investment and ranks 40th out of 948 national districts in attracting public investment.
Building on the annual U.S.-Turkey Economic Partnership summit, Erturk’s dedication to the economic development of Kazan demonstrates the impact that ECA’s exchange programs have in supporting the summit’s goal of cooperation. In April 2012, he worked with the U.S. Embassy to organize and host a forest-planting ceremony in Kazan. The event brought Kazan city officials together with Ambassador and Mrs. Ricciardone, Turkish alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, as well as embassy staff and families. In his public remarks, the mayor named the forest the “American Friendship Forest” and called it “a symbol of friendship between American and Turkish people.”
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Alumni Affairs Division, which supports alumni as they build on their exchange experiences, recognizes one outstanding alumnus or alumna each month. Throughout October, Lokman Erturk will be recognized on the State Alumni website, the Department of State’s official website for the more than one million Department-sponsored exchange alumni worldwide.
For more information visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ website at http://exchanges.state.gov/alumni/alumnus.html.
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