GRIT: What it takes to succeed

GRIT: What it takes to receive the Sena Eken Schieber Economics Award


We see time and time again that grit and perseverance lead us path to success – and we this proved true again with Ipek, a scholarship recipient of the Sena Eken Schieber Economics Award currently studying at Duke University.

Growing up in Antalya, Ipek explained her high school was not one of the top in the country but she never let this interfere with her determination for success in the university entrance exam. Focusing on the exam and studying hard in addition to what she had already achieved in school, she ranked extremely high. (Placing 408 out of 2 million test takers). Her high test scores claimed her a spot in, what she calls, Turkey’s best: Boğaziçi University. Four years later, overcoming numerous challenges, she graduated fourth in her department.

Now with all doors open to her, Ipek faced the decision of getting a job or continuing her education. She had always wanted to study in the United States but because of the cost of tuition, she first had to find ways to make it financially possible. Neither she nor any of her family members had ever been to the U.S. before! Ipek was introduced to the Sena Eken Schieber Economics award through one of her professors at Boğaziçi University.  She had already been accepted to Duke University in the field of economics – it was as if the scholarship was made for her. Ipek’s hard work had paid off and her interviewers could see that she would live up Sena Eken Schieber’s expectations in its scholarship recipients.

After 15 months of living far from her family, her country, her culture – she feels she’s grown remarkably. She credits the distance from home, the wonderful environment at Duke as well as her new diverse group of friends, from Mexico to Italy to China and more that helped build her independence and courage.

When TPF spoke with Ipek recently, it was clear that she had already blended into the culture. She spoke confidently of her future career goals – to work in the U.S. for now –potentially at a tech company on behavioral analysis.

Ipek’s recommendation for potential scholarship recipients and those moving to the US for education: Get out of your comfort zone! Always trust in yourself.

When Ipek was still in Turkey, she was encouraged by professors in Istanbul to stay in Turkey to study her masters, but she felt the opportunities at Duke and in the US surpassed what was available in Turkey – so she trusted in herself to make the big move.

Interested in applying for the Sena Eken Schieber Award? Learn more here.


Sena Eken Schieber Award

Now is your chance! Grants are available for studying Graduate Level Economics in the United States.

The Sena Eken Schieber Award provides Turkish women who have completed their undergraduate education in Turkey, the financial opportunity to pursue graduate studies in economics in the United States. Find all grant details here.

Sena believed that finances should not stand between a talented woman and her education. She had a long and distinguished career as an economist at the International Monetary Fund and served as an Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank of Turkey. She has been described as a role model for others, a pioneer for women, and a credit to her country.

We are looking for strong and motivated women to follow in her footsteps and make a difference. If you think that you, or a friend, qualify for this grant, apply now and forward this email on to a friend!
You are interested in applying and want to learn more? Consider attending our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, November 8th, 9AM EST. Register here.

Elevating Journalism in Turkey

“It was his love of the people, the culture, the food and ‘meze’ style dinners that attracted him to Turkey” and it was journalism that brought him back.

Robert was a journalist, filmmaker and news executive, who, later in life, taught Journalism at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul.

Early on, Robert knew journalism in Turkey needed a boost. He wanted to elevate the profession by encouraging more university students to pursue journalism as their choice of study. The classes he taught were small, less than ten students per class, which spoke to a weakness in the field that he believed needed to be rectified.

After his passing in 2016, Joan Rebecca Siregar-Long, Long’s widow, wanted to establish a program in his honor that encourages young people seeking careers in journalism. “I knew it was the right fit for Turkish journalists as my wish has been to honor Robert’s life-long ambition of empowering journalists” said Joan Rebecca.

TPF became the facilitator and did research on possible partnership opportunities with various universities. The outcome was to establish a Fellowship program in Robert’s name with Nieman Foundation at Harvard University for Turkish journalists. Fellowship recipients will audit courses at Harvard, MIT and Tufts, attend lectures, talks and seminars by experts in a variety of fields and join a tight-knit community of fellows from all over the world.

Nieman Foundation’s Curator, Ann Marie Lipinsky said “This is a critical time for journalism in Turkey and we are so honored to be able to offer this fellowship. We learned from Robert’s colleagues what a significant impact he had on their work and on journalism more broadly and we look forward to this fellowship having a significant impact on a new generation of journalists. We are grateful to Joan Rebecca for seeing the value in the Nieman experience and for entrusting us to help fortify Turkish journalists for the important work ahead.”

As Robert lived by the phrase ‘Always seek out the answers, do not be afraid’ the fellowship that bears his name is dedicated to helping journalists thrive and never be alone in their pursuit of truth.

When Joan Rebecca was asked what Robert would say today about the fellowship she simply replied “He would smile and his eyes would tear, knowing that his support to those in his profession would live on”.  Joan Rebecca would say to him, “Through this initiative, I am channeling you”.

Be a part of the movement. Elevate the profession. Share this fellowship with a friend or apply yourself.

The international application deadline for the 2018-2019 academic year is Dec. 1, 2017.

The fellowship will be offered for the next three years. Interested candidates should apply online to Harvard University’s Nieman Fellowship program. Information about eligibility and the application process is available on the Nieman website.

Contributions to honor Robert L. Long’s name are also accepted at this time.






The Robert L. Long Nieman Fellowship for Turkish journalists established at Harvard University

Bosphorous Bridge
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Oct. 11, 2017)
 –The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and the New York City-based Turkish Philanthropy Funds (TPF) today announced the launch of the Robert L. Long Nieman Fellowship to support the work of exceptional Turkish journalists. Applications for the funded, yearlong fellowship are open through December 1, 2017.

The fellowship honors the memory of journalist, filmmaker and news executive Robert L. Long. Over many years, Long worked with journalists covering international news and was concerned with the issues facing journalism in a rapidly changing world. He committed his life to challenging and inspiring his colleagues to expand their intellectual curiosity and maintain the high standards and integrity of their profession.

Joan Rebecca Siregar-Long, Long’s widow, established the program to support Turkish Nieman Fellows. “Robert was passionate about many things in life, and two of his greatest passions were his love for Turkey and his dedication to truth in journalism,” she said. “I wanted to honor his legacy by supporting journalists from a country he dearly loved.”

Long’s son, Philip Long, recalls, “My father was a mentor to many. He labored tirelessly to preserve the virtues of thoughtful, principled journalism. It is fitting that his work continues through the Nieman Fellowship.”

The Robert L. Long Nieman Fellowship is open to journalists who are Turkish citizens. The fellowship is fully funded and supports fellows in two semesters of study at Harvard University. Fellows participate in the activities of the Nieman Foundation and engage with Nieman classmates and faculty at the university. They audit courses and take part in master classes and journalism workshops designed to strengthen their professional and leadership skills.

The international application deadline for the 2018-2019 academic year is Dec. 1, 2017. The fellowship will be offered for the next three years. Interested candidates should apply online to Harvard University’s Nieman Fellowship program. Information about eligibility and the application process is available on the Nieman website.

G. Lincoln McCurdy, president of the Turkish Coalition of America and a friend of Long’s, said “I was fortunate to witness Robert’s passion for Turkey as the two of us traveled extensively in the country. In the United States, Robert was always supporting Turkish-American causes. As a journalist and media executive, he was also concerned with the integrity and the development of journalism in Turkey.  He engaged on the grassroots level by giving moral support to Turkish reporters and highlighting the importance of maintaining high journalistic standards in their profession.”

Bill Press, host of “The Bill Press Show” and former host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” worked under Long when he served as news director at KCOP. Press remembers Long’s “contagious joie de vivre” and his exemplary leadership skills: “In over 40 years of television broadcasting, I’ve worked with a lot of news executives. Bob Long was by far the smartest, sharpest and most successful of them all. He knew how to inspire and bring out the best in everybody on his team. He had a keen sense for news. He was fearless.”

About Robert L. Long
A journalist, filmmaker and broadcast executive, Robert L. Long had a wide-ranging career including work developing motion picture scripts and serving in newsrooms on both the East and West coasts. Some of his early assignments included writing for WWDC Radio and The Associated Press and serving as a combat correspondent in the Marine Corps. During the late 1970s, he produced a number of independent documentaries for network outlets in Los Angeles.

Long served as KNBC’s vice president and news director from 2003 to 2009, at which point he retired and explored film projects and taught journalism at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul, Turkey. He had previously served as vice president for news and operations at WRC-TV, the NBC-owned station in Washington, D.C. His prior television news experience included news gathering, production and management jobs at the CBS-owned KNXT (now KCBS), UPN Television’s KCOP and Disney Television, all in Los Angeles.

Before his death in August 2016, Long served as an executive producer for the Voice of America’s Mandarin service and as a program analyst for the International Broadcasting Bureau’s Office of Performance Review. He received many awards for his work throughout his career, including a number of Emmys, Edward R. Murrow Awards and a Peabody Award in 2005 for investigative journalism. He also received the Presidential Award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Turkish Philanthropy Funds
Turkish Philanthropy Funds (TPF) is a community foundation with a particular focus on Turkey and the Turkish community abroad. As a convener of givers, TPF introduces innovative philanthropic solutions to overcome crucial social challenges through its more than 60 partner NGOs on the ground. It serves the needs of donors so their generosity can make the greatest difference now, and long into the future. Built by donors for donors in 2007, TPF has turned into the leading U.S. community foundation for high-impact social investments in Turkey and in the Turkish-American community.

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard educates leaders in journalism and elevates the standards of the profession through special programs that convene scholars and experts in all fields. More than 1,500 accomplished and promising journalists from 96 countries have been awarded Nieman Fellowships since 1938. The foundation’s other initiatives include Nieman Reports, a quarterly print and online magazine that covers thought leadership in journalism; Nieman Lab, a website that reports on the future of news, innovation and best practices in the digital media age; and Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling.

For more information contact:

Nicole Arias
Nieman Foundation, Nieman Fellowship Program Administrator
(617) 495-2238;

Goncagul Ay
Turkish Philanthropy Funds, Communications Lead
(646) 630-8988;

Support Girls’ Education in Turkey

Join us on October 4 for a night of drinks, raffle and gender equality!

TPF Stars Program supports overachieving young women in Turkey. Since 2013, with your support, Young Professionals for TPF has raised close to $80,000 at our annual fundraising events and have provided scholarships to 40 female high school students all over Turkey. Your continued support and our continued effort help our stars shine brighter and will help new stars join the ranks of scholarship recipients.

Click here to donate.


Pera Soho Event invitation