Message from Executive Director

Dear Friends,

I am writing to inform you of a development concerning my position at the Dialogue Society.

As you know, I have been the Executive Director of the Dialogue Society for almost seven years now. During this time I have inevitably neglected my PhD, which is something I know I need to return to at some point. What is more, the Executive Director role is quite demanding and we think that after seven years, it is best for someone else to take over in moving the Charity forward.

As a result, I am writing to inform you that, in accordance with our most recent Board of Trustees meeting, I am stepping down as Executive Director of the Dialogue Society. I will be succeeded by Sadik Cinar, formerly the Director of the Dialogue Society’s Birmingham Branch. Sadik is a great people’s person, an excellent team player and a most capable team leader. I will continue to support the Dialogue Society, Sadik and its Executive Team in every way I can as the Charity’s Chairperson. So this is not a goodbye.

The Dialogue Society has come a long way over the years and we will work to ensure that it continues to grow in strength and capacity to achieve its objectives in the years to come. What has been achieved so far is from the blessing of God and the result of the consistent and enthusiastic work ethic of the Executive Team, the help of the wider base of volunteers, advisors and supporters; the financial backing of our donors and sponsors and the interest in, and trust of, people like yourself in the work and activities of the Dialogue Society. Thank you to all of them and to you!

In particular I’d like to thank and acknowledge: Ilknur Kahraman our co-Director; Dr Cem Erbil, Academic Director; Mahmut Gunaydin, Brighton Branch Director; Sadik Cinar, former Birmingham Branch Director; Asuman and Hakan Aydin, Hull Branch Directors; Frances Sleap, Research Fellow and Project Coordinator; Omer Sener, Research Fellow and Project Coordinator; Tamer Yigit, Community Connector; Havva Murat, former Media Director; the IT and design team and staff members who insist on not being named yet whose input has been most vital at so many levels. I’d like to thank my wife, Mehtap and children for all their love, support, patience and understanding during this period and to say that while I will continue to try to reciprocate they should know that I will probably need to rely on their patience and understanding some more in the years to come.

As we watch developments in the world and their impact on our local communities, it is clear that we need as much dialogue, empathy, love and care as is humanly possible. Many are united in their effort to divide us and cause us to fight along the lines of identity, religion, race and nationality. We must be united in our resolve to withstand this with a positive and proactive motive, message and agenda. The Dialogue Society seeks to do just that for people and communities in the UK. I pledge to continue supporting the Dialogue Society as its Chairperson with its new Executive Director and ask you to do so too as you have done so to date.

Warmest regards and best wishes to you all,

Ozcan Keles |

Dr Ozcan Keles

Dr Ozcan Keles

Chairperson of the Dialogue Society

Ozcan is a non-practising Barrister and member of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn. He is the Chairperson of the Dialogue Society since 2008; was the Executive Chairperson of the same organisation between 2008 and 2014; the Executive Editor of the peer-reviewed biannual academic Journal of Dialogue Studies since 2014 and a full-time PhD candidate in the sociology of human rights at the University of Sussex. Between 2006 and 2009 he was a research student with Prof Kevin Boyle at the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex, where he held the Scholarship Award of 2006. Ozcan was called to the Bar in 2005 after successfully completing the Bar course at the Inns of Court School of Law. He obtained his LLM in Human Rights Law from SOAS, University of London, in 2002.