Scholarship Stories


Elçin Maraşlı


After graduating from Koç High School in May 2007, I continued my studies with a General Fine Arts and Painting major at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and a Mass Communications and Media Studies minor at Tufts University between 2007 and 2011. During this period, I had the opportunity to connect with a rich set of accomplished people from America’s artistic and academic worlds.

In August 2011, I moved to Chicago; and, again as a scholar, I continued my studies in a 2-year graduate program at the Visual and Critical Studies department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was surprised and inspired by America’s demographic and cultural diversity, so I started researching and writing about its social class struggles and the mutual interactions of politics over art and of art over society. In this period, I continued my general workshop and painting works in my own studio, as well.

During my last months in Chicago, I applied for doctorate study at the Institute of Philosophy and Social Sciences (Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii PAN) in Warsaw, Poland and got accepted. In September 2013, I found myself in Warsaw, where I did not know the language but instantly loved the people and the food. During the last year of 2014, I started working as the coordinator of website, which was started as a platform of cultural information as part of the Poland - Turkey 2014 project launched by the Institute of Adam Mickiewicz. The year 2014 was announced by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the year to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Poland and Turkey. Considering that the way to celebrate the six-centuries-old history of the relations between the two countries would pass through taking a close look upon and following the art and culture of these two countries, carried out the presentation to the Turkish readers and audience of the wide range of cultural activities planned within the framework of these celebrations.

In the context of my job as the coordinator of the website and the celebrations for the 600th year, I had the opportunity to represent Turkey in various interviews and panels in Warsaw. In February, following a cafe interview on the similarities and differences between the Turkish and Polish cultures and histories, titled "Alla Turca - Alla Polacca", I made a presentation on general cultural information about Turkey, together with our ambassador in Warsaw (Prof. Yusuf Ziya Ozcan), at the "Young Diplomats" panel set up by the students of the International Relations Department at the University of Warsaw. Currently, I live and work in Warsaw. I have decided to research about Mavi Kosk in Northern Cyprus as part of my doctorate studies. I will be studying the similarities with the Wagner Opera House in Bayreuth, Germany and the close links of the two museums to the concepts of cultural heritage and nationalism.

Thanks to the scholarship granted by the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation and the Koç family between 2007 and 2013, I had the unique opportunity to study and work in different cities of the world and assess the different lifestyles and cultures. From now on, I owe myself, my family and everyone who has supported me to pursue my goals and make great contributions in my field. In the future, if I may have the opportunity, I hope to grant scholarships for art students in Turkey.