Delegates and guests to the Seventh Interdependence Celebration and Forum in Istanbul stayed at the historic Armada Hotel on the Bosphorus and The Kalyon hotel, a splendid modern hotel just next door. Both hotels face the Sea of Marmara, just under the shadow of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul's historic old city. Our itinerary included these highlights:
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10TH
Our Interdependence events opened at the prestigious Koç University in the wooded hills overlooking the Black Sea on the outskirts of Istanbul. We commenced with opening keynotes introducing the morning's focus on women, development and Islam. As throughout our program, these morning panels were paired to maximize participation and engagement. With two panels—one on women and international development and the other on women, Islam and development—at the end of the 90 minute session, we reconvened in a plenary to conclude discussions together. Following a lunch break, which included a keynote introduction on issues of economic development, climate change and Interdependence, we came together for a pair of panels on new approaches to economic development and on the collision of economic growth and environmentalism. Our final afternoon session re-introduced the focus on our host country, Turkey, with a broad discussion of Turkey's emerging role as an open, democratic society and regional power-broker. Our second Youth Summit of young interdependents from across the globe joined us at Koç to provide a stimulating, relevant contribution to our work, setting the stage for the vital role young people play in the Interdependence Movement. The first day concluded with an evening meal and traditional Turkish concert and entertainment provided by Koç University featuring Maestro Cem Mansur.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11TH
Our second day began dockside at the Rahmi M. Koç Museum, the first major museum in Turkey dedicated to the history of transport, industry and communications. Housed in magnificent buildings—themselves prime examples of industrial archaeology—on the shore of the historic Golden Horn, the collection contains thousands of items from gramophone needles to a full size submarine and aircraft.
Our morning panels focused on new technologies, global cities and democratic governance as channels for Interdependence. After the morning sessions, delegates toured the excellent special exhibition of miniatures by artist Henry Kupjack as well as the museum's impressive collections. We then returned to our hotels from which it is an easy walk to the Hagia Sopia, the Blue Mosque and the Sultanahmet neighborhood. Following an informal lunch and a tour of the heart of historic Istanbul we reconvened during the mid-afternoon in the spectacular Fourth Century Hagia Irene Church next to the Hagia Sophia where we paired panels on culture, the arts and Interdependence with input from the Istanbul Biennial, the British Council and Turkish arts and cultural organizations.
We greeted the evening with a buffet supper in the palace grounds followed by our September 11th Memorial Concert that has become a highlight of Interdependence Day and which was held this year in the candlelit Hagia Irene Church.
In our memorial concert and performance forum where artists from Turkey and around the world performed, actors and poets shared words and religious and civic leaders addressed issues of global justice. One highlight was exerpts from a special opera composed by Daniel Nazareth and performed by the Turkish State Opera and Chorus about Leonardo DaVinci and his negotiations with the Sultan in 1502 to build a bridge across the Bosphorous.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12TH - INTERDEPENDENCE DAY
Interdependence Day, itself, opened at Bahçeşehir University on their beautiful Bosphorous riverside campus. We began with a keynote speech and then a pair of panels and concluded with a plenary session, all focused on the question of the prospects for democracy in the Middle East with specific emphasis on Turkey's role. Following President Obama's Istanbul and Cairo speeches, the recent elections in Lebanon and Iran as well as developments in Syria, Iraq and Palestine, we highlighted the new and controversial role of democracy in the region, as well as Turkey's special contribution.
Following an early lunch on the roof terrace at Bahçeşehir, we ventured up the hill to the famous Taksim Square and Cemal Reşit Rey Hall, Istanbul's premiere modern concert palace. With hundreds of local supporters and our international delegates, our three hour Interdependence Ceremony brought together a plenary roundtable representing all panel members and Youth Summit delegates; the awarding of the Interdependence prize, which went to American TV and radio host Tavis Smiley; keynote addresses from distinguished Turkish and international leaders; a brief musical performance; comments from the organizers of Interdependence Day VIII, held in Berlin in 2010; and a formal signing of The Declaration of Interdependence by all present accompanied by the Interdependence Chorale. At the generous invitation of Turkish Airlines the evening and the Seventh Interdependence Day Forum and Celebration concluded with a memorable evening banquet aboard a river cruise liner on the Bosphorous.