Civil Society Forum

Sivil Düşün brings civil society together in Ankara

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Who will take stage at the CSO Forum?

Live from Sivil Düşün

Activists and CSO representatives share how they have used creative and innovative approaches with the support of Sivil Düşün

Hülya Gül, Contemporary Education Volunteers Association

Hülya Gül was born in Bursa in 1983. The choices she made for her education were guided by her love to play. Her education in the Ceramics Department of Uludağ University Faculty of Fine Arts opened new doors and lead to her first exhibition. She went to Spain as an exchange student and witnessed the magnificent festivals offered by the country. These instilled in her a desire to develop ‘city dressing projects’. In 2010 she settled in Izmir and opened a workshop called Kün Design.
In the same year, she launched her first solo exhibition in Alaçatı and central Izmir. In 2012, she held the snail houses workshop within the scope of the Seferihisar Children’s municipality and sister cities program. In 2013, she held ceramics and kite flying workshops with children with leukaemia in cooperation with the Rotary Club, Leo clubs and the Association for children With Leukaemia (LÖSYAD). In 2016, with the support of the Sivil Düşün Activist programme, she held ceramics workshops aiming to bring together refugee and local children in collaboration with Çağ-Der and the Çovak and Kapılar Solidarity initiative.

Cem Avcı, Sulukule Volunteers Association

Cem Avcı worked for many years as a systems manager while serving as an editor in various publications. In 2008, he started working with children in Sulukule on the demolition site. He transitioned into a new path by receiving training in Social Services. He developed himself in areas such as psychological trauma and personality disorders and engaged in game and arts therapy. Sharing his experiences in the Sulukule Volunteers Association and Trauma Studies Association has become a motivating exercise for Avcı.

Nil Delahaye, BoMoVu (Sports with Children and Youth for Mutual Understanding and Dialogue)

Nil Delahaye has been practicing capoeira in Istanbul for the past several years.
After working in the field of migration and volunteering in various organisations, she resolved to join her passion for capoeira with her skills on working with vulnerable groups. She started developing programs focusing on internally displaced children and later, women. Since 2015, she discovered a whole world of activists and social workers working in the very same field. With this encounter, she was inspired to bring her ideas to life in Turkey. Delahaye received a degree in Turkology and Hausa from the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales’de (INALCO). She received an MA from Rouen University on Didactics and Culture Management from Bilgi University. She is a founding member of BoMoVu and works as a project writer and network developer.

Burcu Çağlayan, Activist

Burcu Çağlayan graduated from Hacettepe University, Faculty of Fine Arts Department of Graphic Design in 1997. For many years, she worked in the advertisement sector in Ankara. Since 2011, she is a partner of medya GaGa, a social media agency. She has been working as a volunteer in animal shelters and feeding points for many years. With the support of the Sivil Düşün Activist Programme, she visited various animal shelters in Germany to see best practices and examples for improving the lives of street animals and building proper shelters. To follow the process, visit:

Ali Niels van het Hof, Activist

A Dutch-Turk, Ali Niels van het Hof was born in Antalya in 2005. He is currently in 6th grade, playing basketball and learning to play the guitar. He has been a student of Bahçeşehir for seven years, and has been participating in Lego robotics activities since 3rd grade. As extra-curricular activities, he has participated in Python and Erdunio Scratch trainings. He speaks English and German, and wants to be a software engineer.

Efe İnan- Activist

Efe İnan was born in Izmir in 2005. In 2nd grade, he came in second in the photography contest on animals, organised by the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality. He has been participating in Lego robotics activities at his school since 3rd grade. He has been playing the double bass in the Antalya State Conservatory since 4th grade, and the piano at Bilsem since 4th grade. He is also a member of the Bilsem robotics team. He is a licensed chess player and came in second in the Antalya Chess Tournament in 2016. He speaks English and German. When he grows up, he wants to be a mechatronics engineer.

Ezel Yılmaz, Blackbox Association

After graduating from Galatasaray University, Department of Sociology, Ezel Yılmaz
received a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales. She carried out research on local governments and social policy, social municipality services, disadvantaged youth, urban transformation, social movements, civil society organisations and cultural rights. During her university education, she worked actively as a volunteer for the Education Volunteers Association of Turkey. In the same period, she took part in the Civil Society and CSO Management Certificate Programme run by the Bilgi University Civil Society Organisations Education and Research Unit. She held internships in the Galatasaray University Social Research Centre, the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, and the Observatory of the Black, Gulf and Mediterranean Seas. In September 2014, she started working in the Diyarbakır Arts Centre under the Diyarbakır Branch of Anadolu Kültür. She was responsible for organising short-term projects and activities as well as planning, implementing and monitoring long-term projects. Since March 2017, she has been working as the General Coordinator of the Karakutu Association.

Bülent Köstem, Support to Slow Life Association

Before starting to work in the Seferihisar Municipality in 2009, Bülent Köstem worked in large-scale fast-paced projects. ‘After getting acquainted with the Cittaslow and slow philosophy, everything changed,’ he says. He believes that a better and happier world is possible and that the path is living a little slower. Köstem came together with others who believe in this philosophy under the roof of the Association to Support Slow Living and has been trying to slow down life in various areas since 2011.

Yaşar Adnan Adanalı, Justice at Space Association

Yaşar Adnan Adanalı is one of the founding members of the Association for Spatial Justice ( He defines himself as an ‘urbanist’. He holds a BA in Social and Political Sciences from Sabancı University and an MA in Development Planning from University College London. He is a PhD candidate at TU Berlin Faculty of Architecture. Between 2007 and 2012 he studied the right to housing of the urban poor in Santa Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. Between 2010 and 2013, he carried out studies in various cities in the Middle East on the improvement of Palestinian Refugee Camps through participatory methods. Since 2009, he has been lecturing on participatory planning and design in the Darmstadt Technical University Mundus Urbano MA Programme. He is a volunteer of the Düzce Hope Workshop. In 2016, he was chosen an Ashoka Fellow.

Mehmet Koçer, Municipal Police Organisation Solidarity Association

Mehmet Koçer was born in the Çerkeş district of Çankırı in 1986. He finished primary and middle school in Çankırı and settled in Ankara. He received a BA in Public Administration in 2010 and an MA in Political Science and Public Administration in 2014. He took part in the ‘The Place of Consumers’ Rights in Local Governments’ project, supported by the Sivil Düşün EU Programme.

Best Practices on Creative Approaches across the Globe

To learn the creative methods used across the world from the experts…

Sharon Hornstein, Kol Zchut- Israel

Kol Zchut (All Rights) - WikiRights Israel is a non-profit collaborative project that provides free and accessible information on social rights and benefits, aiming to reduce the information gap surrounding everything involved with rights, entitlements and benefits. Sharon Hornstein is the chief editor of Kol Zchut since 2014, in charge of planning, training and supervising all of editorial work - both new and updated - done by the editorial staff of Kol Zchut. He is a lawyer and specialises in law and society. He holds an LLM and LLB (with Distinction) from the University of Haifa’s Faculty of Law. Hornstein is engaged in several social organisations, aimed at supporting and empowering deprived communities and enhancing civil organisations. He serves as a director of the Israeli Association for Distributive Justice and as a legal advisor of the LGBT Circle in the Israeli Labor Party.

Suzdina Bijedić, Vive Žene- Bosnia-Herzegovina

The Association Vive Žene has been founded in March 1994 during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the aim to support women and children, the most vulnerable victims of the war. From initial emergency support and crisis interventions Vive Žene has developed into a professional Centre for Therapy and Rehabilitation, located in Tuzla and active in the whole country. Promotes networking, coordination and multi-sectorial partnerships, including governmental, non-governmental, other civil society groups in terms of burden sharing and joint responsibility taking.Suzdina Bijedić is project coordinator in Association Vive Žene, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She received a degree in psychology-pedagogy from the University of Sarajevo, BiH. She successfully coordinated multiple, large-scale civic development and humanitarian programs funded mainly by EU. She has worked in the field of disaster assistance and post-conflict recovery for most of the past 25 years on assignments with Save the Children UK, Danish Refugee Council, Norwegian People's Aid and local CSOs. She has experience conducting politically-sensitive programs in complex post-conflict settings.

Yeşim Güzelpınar, Balık Arts- United Kingdom

Balık Arts works with volunteers to improve access to the arts and collaborate with filmmakers and enrich communities. It was established in 1999 to advance the education of children and young people, especially vulnerable groups, to widen opportunities available to them in the UK. It has widened its activities in time, and now runs projects for all ethnicities of all ages, including through transnational activities. Yeşim Güzelpınar is the founder/director of Balık Arts in the UK and the Golden Island International Film Festival in Northern Cyprus. Originally born in Turkey, she has an MSc in European Social Policy from LSE. Her career has primarily focused on community development work with disadvantaged groups and the promotion of culture, arts and film. Filmmaking workshops, film programming and screenings, and transnational partnership projects are among the main projects she runs.

Ziad Kanaan, Right to Play- Lebanon

Right To Play transforms the lives of over one million disadvantaged children every week across Africa, the Middle East and Asia through the power of sport and play. They train local community leaders and teachers to become volunteer Coaches. They then coach children in specially designed games. The programmes are sustainable and ensure long-term development. When children and young people gain new skills, they have the ability to pass these on to future generations, thus ensuring lasting change. Ziad Kanaan holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Peace through Sport from the University for Peace, International University of Monaco, and University of California Berkeley. Program Manager with Right to Play, where he manages the sports portfolio; such “as Football for Peaceful Co-Existence and Conflict Resolution in Greater Beirut” with Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation, and UNICEF-funded project “Sport and Humanitarian Assistance.” Previously, he managed the project “Enhancing education qualities in conflict affected areas,” which focused on active learning. Ziad participates in many volunteer activities internationally, including the European Volunteer Service-Finland.

Seda Erden, Civil Society Dialogue- Turkey/Europe

Civil Society Dialogue is a programme bringing together civil society organisations from Turkey and the EU around common topics, to exchange knowledge and experience, and to build a sustained conversation between the organisations. The Programme is co-financed by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). Seda Erden worked as a TV reporter from 1995 to 2004 for prominent Turkish channels like ATV, Star and CNN Türk specialising on diplomacy and foreign news. Covered Turkey’s external relations with a special interest on the European Union, witnessed major world events, on the spot, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan following September 11. When Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU opened in 2004, she was working for the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ankara as the Press and Culture Officer coordinating the relations with the media and acting as the spokesperson during the two EU term presidencies. Since 2006, she is working for the European Union Delegation in Ankara as the sector manager for dialogue, culture and audio-visual policies, designing and managing grant schemes to strengthen the dialogue between Turkey and the EU.

Alba Villanueva, No Somos Delito- Spain

No Somos Delito (``We are not Crime``) was formed in late 2013 in Spain to support peaceful protest and civil disobedience. It is an umbrella organisation formed by more than 100 civil rights associations, social movement groups and CSOs, defending human rights, with different actions like the campaign Holograms for Freedom, legislative theatre, demonstrations and many more. Alba Villanueva is a journalist focusing on social issues, as well as an activist participating in No Somos Delito.

Alexandra Tomescu, A.R.T Fusion- Romania

A.R.T. Fusion is a CSO based in Bucharest, Romania, enagaged in non-formal education using different methods and tools, such as Theater of the Oppressed, Living Library, Street Campaigning, and Global Education. Alexandra Tomescu has been a part of A.R.T Fusion since 2012. Tomescu says that, “A.R.T. Fusion opened my path into activism and encouraged me to see that I have to be a part of the change in order to have the impact that I wanted with the community.” She now works as a facilitator and trainer, helping organise events in Romania, such as music festivals, and concerts. She also volunteers “in different activities that are connected with the things that make this world a better place for the future generations.”

Veysel Yüce, DutchCulture- The Netherlands

DutchCulture (then SICA) is the strategic advice agency for international cultural cooperation and works with - and for - the cultural sector, the government and the diplomatic network both in the Netherlands and abroad. DutchCulture is commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission. Veysel Yüce is a second generation Dutch-Turk who has being working in the field of arts and culture for the last 7 years. With a research master in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, he has been working at DutchCulture since 2012. In 2012, Veysel worked on the cultural activities that took place as part of the celebrations related to the 400th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands. In the following years, Veysel worked on a number of themes, including the Shared Cultural Heritage programme, a Dutch concept to define heritage with a shared importance for the Netherlands and other countries.

Lejla Gačanica, Network for Building Peace- Bosnia-Herzegovina

The Network for Building Peace (NBP) was established in 2010, towards comprehensive renewal of social and economic life in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to long-term enhancement of the whole society to deal with difference and conflicts in a constructive and non-violent way, in that way creating a framework for joint, coordinated activities of a number of civil society organisations, local government, business sector, media and governmental institutions. NBP today gathers over 120 membership-fee paying members, including leading peace and human rights organisations working in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also in the region, and is growing and improving its activities and helping its members in their own activities. Lejla Gačanica is a PhD candidate of Legal Sciences, and currently working as independent Legal Advisor and Researcher. Her areas of interest are dealing with the past with focus on culture of memory, human rights, gender equality, constitutional rights. She is the author of published articles, analytical, scientific and research work in these fields. She is an active member of Initiative Women's Citizens for Constitutional Reform and Network for Peacebuilding.

Zoe Kokalou, Activist- Greece

Zoe Kokalou, coming from Greece, is a social worker, active in civil society since 1996 as an activist, volunteer and trainer. Her main areas of interest are human rights, feminism, LGBTQI+ rights, intercultural understanding and internet activism. She is a founding member of Human Library Greece, Radical Social Workers Greece, editor of the feminist online magazine “To Mov”. After working for several years an expert on the fields of child protection, human trafficking and asylum, she is currently an employee of several campaigns and CSOs as social media expert and internet campaigns manager.

Selen Lermioğlu Yılmaz, Civic Space- Cyprus

Civic Space Project is a Technical Assistance Project funded by the EU under the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community. Selen Lermioğlu is an expert with more than 17 years of experience in the fields of democracy and governance with specific focus on civil society, gender equality, human rights, reconciliation, legal reforms, policy development, policy dialogue and reconciliation. She worked in numerous projects in Turkey, Cyprus, Western Balkans, The Gambia, Greece and Armenia, for CSOs, municipalities, international institutions such as the EU, UNDP, Council of Europe and for other donors from the EU Member States and US. In addition, Lermioğlu acted as a trainer and consultant for CSOs and activists from Egypt and Iran for more than 3 years as well as for universities in Turkey. With regards to her work in Cyprus, Selen worked as a key expert in the EU funded Civil Society Support Team Project between 2008 and 2011, and as a short-term trainer or consultant for other projects since 2011. Since September 2015, she has been working as the Capacity Building Expert within the Civic Space Project.

Here is a look at the details of the workshops and working groups at the CSO Forum?

Humane Living and Democratic Society Association

False Facts on Gender

The workshop aims to raise awareness about wrong actions and speech with respect to discrimination that we have adopted in our daily lives and language. The workshop will use the Station Method; eight stations with different themes will be set up. In each station, participants will be asked to think, write or draw their impressions of each word given to them and to talk about their feelings after watching a short film.

End Violence Against Children – Member of the Global Partnership

Who is child? What is violence against children? (Using the Aquarium Model) 

The activity aims to engage participants in a discussion about the basic concepts on the subject of children and violence against children. The expectation is for members of the civil society to observe the concepts discussed when working in their own field of activity. The workshop also aims to gain support for the information note produced by the Partnership Network at the end of the activity.

Following a brief introduction, participants will be asked to take part in an activity on concepts using the Aquarium Model. The last part of the workshop will be a Q&A session. In the Aquarium Model, participants are asked to sit in overlapping circles and represent fish swimming in an aquarium. The model adopts a participatory, interactive and focused approach encouraging the democratic production of ideas.

Turkey Third Sector Foundation (TÜSEV)

Philanthropy in Turkey and creative approaches in fund raising

The activity will focus on the topics of developing a culture of giving and encouraging effective resources for civil society organisations, which are among the main objectives of the Giving for Change Project implemented since 2011 under TÜSEV’s Social Investment Programme. The activity will be guided by the findings of the Report on Individual Giving and Philanthropy in Turkey, published in 2016 by TÜSEV. It will promote the #MiktarıDeğilYararı campaign (#It’sNotTheAmountButTheBenefitThatCounts) and introduce the collective model of donating called Donate and Change, both of which TÜSEV has been carrying out to develop and promote individual giving.

Renaissance Institute

Hate Speech and Internet

The activity will host discussions on hate speech on digital media, its threats and ways to struggle and produce counter arguments against it by using the non-formal educational techniques developed under the ‘No Hate Speech Movement’ initiated by the Council of Europe. Participants will take part in a role-playing activity. Participants will first be briefed about the campaign ‘No Hate Speech Movement’ and introduced to the educational book ‘Bookmarks’ developed as a part of the same campaign. This will be followed by an exposition of an example of hate speech chosen before the activity. Specially prepared role cards will be randomly handed out to participants for the role-play. A discussion session will follow.

Young Approaches in Health Association (Y-PEER Turkey)

Look After Yourself HIV/AIDS Educational Board Game

Participants will play the ‘Take Care of Yourself’ board game, with the help of a facilitator. The board game aims to teach basic information about HIV/AIDS while gamers have fun, think and discuss the subject. With each move they make, gamers will learn about HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infectious diseases and then carry out discussions about what they have learned. 

Open Data and Data Journalism Association

Data Workshop for rights-based work/ Data theme: Animal rights

The activity will be a practical workshop on rights-based data processing focusing on data set analysis to make violence against animals visible. Discussions will be held on what rights-based data is, rights-based data collection techniques and tools, and the relations between Internet news reports based on the right to life and rights-based data – open data. Participants will take part in the activity with their personal laptops.

Müge Olacak, İrem Aycı
‘Duyuyorum / Hearing’ Interactive Sound Installation

Duyuyorum / Hearing is an interactive sound installation designed by Müge Olacak. The installation aims to broaden the perception of individuals about their own tight space and about what is happening outside their own world. ‘Duyuyorum / Hearing’ is a sound art installation experienced in a fully dark unknown space which people pass through rather than stand fixed. Following a 20-minute sound recording, participants will take part in augmenting and enhancing the sounds. There will also be a talk with the artist for sharing knowledge and experience.



Checks and Balances Network

A Dream of a Turkey

The Checks and Balances Network, which brings together nearly 300 civil society organisations (, is collecting ideas and wishes for their vision of a new structure and future for Turkey under the activity titled ‘A Dream for Turkey’. The aim of the workshop is to answer the question ‘What kind of a life/country do you envision for living together?’, or rather ‘What kind of a future do we desire?’. Based on the instructions of the facilitators, participants will first dream their individual dreams, after which solutions to current problems will be discussed together via presentations.


Turkey Europe Association

A case study on gender equality in Turkey

The workshop aims to host discussions on ways to struggle against sexist situations faced by people working in the field of human rights in their daily lives by using real case studies. Participants will be split up into four or five small groups. Each group will be asked to take two case studies handed out by the facilitator. The small groups will read the case study and discuss their reactions to the situation described. Lastly, all cases will be evaluated with everyone’s participation.

Zoe Kokalou

Civil courage against conflicts and violence

Zoe Kokalou, representative of the Living Library Greece Collective, will look at the concept of ‘civil courage’ and its use as a method for capacity building. The activity will host discussions on speaking in the public space against violence and methods for building solidarity between citizens. Participants will be guided in a practical exercise on creative conflict resolution.

Balık Arts

Film for inclusion and dialogue – Videos from Balık Arts Activities

The activity will be hosted by the UK-based Balık Arts team working under the slogan ‘film for social change’, where their videos will be shared on issues such as youth, refugees, climate change, etc. Following the screening, a panel discussion will be held with the members of the Balık Arts team.

Altındağ Belediyesi Gençlik Merkezi- Bomovu- Sulukule Gönüllüleri

Day 1- Workshops with children
Play for Peace / Non-violent Communication

Play for Peace is a program designed by BoMoVu to revive games that are a part of the cultural heritage of children living in border regions. It is a practical endeavour to make visible the ancient cultural diversity of the region and to enable an experience of optimistic feelings on the body memory of the ‘other’. The Altındağ Municipality Youth Centre will share games played by children on subjects such as origins, migration and borders.

The workshop will host games that are played to contribute to the development of non-violent communication skills. Before the games start, there will be an introduction and greeting part. At the end of the games, evaluations will be made with children. The overall aim of the workshop is to contribute to the development of non-violent and solidarity-focused relations among children and to empower children in expressing themselves, developing team work skills and effective communication.

Venue: Middle East Technical University Alumni Association Vişnelik Facilities