- .Associate Professor of International Relations at UW Tacoma
- Editor-in-Chief, Muslim World of Human Rights.
- Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs in the School of IAS
- Author of two books—one of which was just published last month
Turan Kayaoglu’s credentials are impressive, but there is so much more to his story.
A Long and Winding Road…
Kayaoglu grew up in Istanbul, after moving from his birthplace—Perçem village, in the Erzincan Province of eastern Turkey—when he was just four years old. A massive migration from rural villages to industrial centers was taking place, turning farmers into shopkeepers or factory workers at a dizzying pace. As a result, he was one of nearly 60 students crowded into an elementary classroom. Yet it was his family’s move to the city that made his presence in that classroom even possible.
Without the access to education that Kayaoglu enjoyed, his father has no formal schooling, but “kind of reads.” His mother’s longing to read—in her 60s—inspired him, and her failure to learn after two years of trying made him more sensitive to the difficulties faced by some of his own students.
Kayaoglu is the fourth of five sons born to Sadullah and Hanim Kayaoglu, with 19 years between the oldest and youngest. He and his younger brother are the only two with a university education, although one of his older brothers did go to a technical college. “But, I was the first to attend a four-year university.” He may have taken it “too seriously,” he said, as a way to compensate for his older brothers’ lack of educational opportunities.