Board News – Office Reopening
The Istanbul&I Executive Board is excited to announce that plans to hold public events in the Istanbul&I office for the first time since last year are in action! The Istanbul&I office has been closed to the public since March of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic following government and safety regulations. Just over a year ago, the Istanbul&I office was a lively community center hosting events everyday from English and Turkish Speaking Club sessions to culture nights to special talk events, as well as operating as a space for general community gatherings. Istanbul&I was grateful to still be able to organize and hold public events distantly through Zoom for the past year, but this meant losing the human connection and community cultivation that the in-person events offered. Thankfully, it will now be safe to organize public events following the standards of operation and health guidelines.
The Covid-19 vaccine rollout in Turkey up until recently has been only permitted for eldery citizens, healthcare professionals, teachers, and those with pre-existing conditions, meaning that most of the Istanbul&I community has not been able to get vaccinated yet. However, in June, the age requirement to be eligible to receive the vaccine in Turkey was dropped to 18. Following this development, many of our Istanbul&I community members have already received their first shot and are awaiting their second, and Istanbul&I encourages all those who can take the vaccine to do so. Now, the board has begun talks on how to proceed with returning to holding public events in the office in a safe manner again after more than a year. The board is considering many factors such as which events to hold in person again and which to keep through distance, possibilities of following a hybrid model, how to ensure health guidelines and standards of operation are followed, what new internal measures to put in place, and more. The board is dedicated to overcoming and working through these obstacles to ensure that the community can finally reunite again in the Istanbul&I office this summer.
In other news, the IT coordinator and team are still working tirelessly on the Istanbul&I website redesign and relaunch. Also, the board is working on a new Arabic language course program that will hopefully launch soon with more details.