Alumni Relations Office

2010 Keynote Speaker-Talat Halman

Talat Halman

Professor Talât Sait Halman is the head of the Bilkent University Turkish Literature Department and the Turkish Literature Center.  Halman was born in 1931 in Istanbul.  He received a graduate degree in Political Science at Columbia University in 1954.  Halman was awarded an honorary doctorate by Boğaziçi University in 1988, prior to which he taught Turkish language, literature and culture, Islam and Islamic culture and the Middle East at Columbia University (1953-1960), Princeton University (1966-1971 and 1972-1980) and the University of Pennsylvania (1984-1986).  He chaired the Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures Department of New York University between 1986 and 1996.

Halman has published, in English and Turkish, 50 books, 12 of which are poetry collections, more than 1500 newspaper articles, 500 scientific papers, encyclopedia entries and critiques.  His most significant work are an anthology of the poetry of ancient civilizations, the translation of Shakespeare’s sonnets, ancient Egyptian, Middle Easter and Eskimo poetry, several collections of his articles, his translations of Faulkner, his books on American poets, and his books on Mevlânâ and Yunus Emre.  Some of these books were translated to German, Persian, French, Hindi, Hebrew, Japanese and Urdu.  His poetry collections include Sessiz Soru, Uzak Ağıt, Canevi, Birler, Can Kulağı, İkiler, Dört Gök Dört Gönül, Tuyuğlar, A Last Lullaby, Shadows of Love/Les ombres de l'amour.

He has been a regular contributor to the Milliyet daily since 1969, and has been a guest editor to various issues of the Books Abroad, Contemporary Literature in Translation, Literature East&West, Pacific Quarterly Moana, Review of National Literatures, The Journal of Literary Translation, The Literary Review and The Poetry Society of American Bulletin publications.  He is currently on the editorial board of the World Literature Today. He is also a member of the Robert College Board of Trustees and the Vice-Chairman of the Istanbul Culture and Art Foundation.  Professor Halman has also served as a member of the UN International School Board of Trustees.

Among the awards and honors granted to Professor Halman are the Rockefeller Fellowship in the Humanities, Columbia University: Thornton Wilder Prize, Most Successful Turkish Scholar in the US Award by the Assembly of Turkish Associations in the US, the UNESCO Distinguished Service Medal, Knight Grand Cross, G.B.E., The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, the Distinguished Service Award of the Academy of Sciences of Turkey, and the Distinguished Service Award of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Halman is the first Minister of Culture of Turkey (1971), and has served as an Ambassador of Culture (1980-1982) and member of the UNESCO Board of Directors (1991-1995).

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