Investing in one individual can turn into a valuable impact on thousands in a community

Ceyda Aydede, ACI'73

Donation Program: Bir Meşale de Sen Yak! (Light a Torch!)

Please tell us about yourself.
I graduated from ACI in 1973 and then studied Industrial Engineering at Boğaziçi University. I started my career at Arthur Andersen and later served as the sales manager at Migros for quite a long time. When Migros decided to establish a “Public Relations Department” they asked me if I would be available for it. I wanted to learn more about public relations. So I went abroad and completed a six-month certificate program of theory and practice specially designed for me at the New Hampshire University in the USA. Then I established my own company, Global Public Relations, which quickly became one of the leading companies in this sector. I chaired the International Association of Public Relations (IPRA). I served as the Chair of SEV from 2013 to 2015. Currently, I am on the SEV Board of Trustees.

What does it mean to be an ACI alumnus?
Looking back with all my experiences, I can say that ACI not only gave me a good education but also taught me the true meaning of concepts such as friendship, loyalty, and solidarity. The teacher who influenced me the most was Ms. Blake. We all learned so much from that amazing woman who would pick up the papers in the garden as she walked ahead of us. ACI turned us into self-confident individuals and enabled us to start life well equipped. Social responsibility awareness became an important part of our education and continued throughout our lives. “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve” is a motto instilled in our genes.

How did you decide to donate to your school and the ‘Light a Torch’ program?
I have been donating to support scholarship students studying at ACI for many years and I know that it will make a difference for those students. During my term as Foundation Chair we strived to add momentum to the giving culture among our alumni with events such as ‘Come Together’ in Turkey and ‘SEV Leaders Night’ in the US. The Foundation and our schools were in the challenging process of institutionalization and professionalism for many years. I believe we have come a long way in this respect. We already knew that it was a very important mission to make our schools accessible to successful children and young people with limited financial means. I am pleased to see that we have been focusing more on this issue in the last few years. Giving is the most important tool that makes scholarships possible. Educational institutions worldwide are able to attract the best students and provide the best education through donations. When the ‘Light a Torch’ program was launched at ACI, I wanted to be one of the first donors. I think it is very important for all administrators and alumni, even if they volunteer in the Foundation or alumni associations, to donate. It will set an example for their classmates and other alumni.

Can you give us some details about the Program.
As with all SEV Schools, ACI needed a regular donation program. TAC was already carrying out an exemplary program with “Lay a Brick”. A large portion of the donations that American colleges receive comes from small, but regular donations of alumni. "Light a Torch” is a program that will boost the giving culture through small but regular donations. Regular scholarship donations programs are really important in this respect. What could be more important than contributing to raising a successful student with limited financial means in our schools? I do not think ACI alumni will remain insensitive to this call if all necessary communication channels are open. I believe all of us will be able to allocate a small amount for this charitable cause.

Your support changes many young people’s lives and the future of a community. How does that make you feel?
Donation programs are important to us all. We have a centuries-long tradition and it can only be sustained by making the best education accessible to young people. A successful young person can reach a point where he/she could affect the lives of thousands. So, a small donation toward a scholarship for one individual can turn into a valuable impact on thousands in a community through a chain effect. I believe we can contribute significantly to the advancement of our country with good education.

What is your message to potential donors?
At both ACI and also UAA and TAC, one of the building blocks of education is always to instill social responsibility awareness in the students. As I always say, if you expect something from the community, you have to give something. Do something for the community and people first. Giving is good but donating for education is even more important. I would like to remind all our alumni once again that small and regular donations make great changes. I invite all alumni to take the centuries-old education tradition of our schools to the future with the help of our donations.


Röportaj Tarihi: Şubat 2018