Donation of Altan Ünver’s Personal Archives to Columbia Library
The family of Altan Ünver, founder of Development Foundation of Turkey (DFT), has donated his personal archives to Columbia library.
April 04, 2018
Altan Ünver (Photo courtesy of the Ünver family)
The family of Altan Ünver, founder of Development Foundation of Turkey (DFT), has donated his personal archives to Columbia library. Since 1969, DFT has made a deep impact in Southeastern Turkey by initiating various rural development programs such as quality queen-bee breeding and rural credit programs. In addition, with the support of the World Bank in the 1970s, DFT initiated poultry production in rural areas under the delegation of the Ministry of Agriculture in Turkey. DFT is recognized as the pioneer of rural development projects and has proved to be a successful model both for the government and civil society organizations.
Altan Ünver graduated from Tarsus American College in 1957 and then studied Chemical Engineering at Robert College, Turkey. Upon completion, he received master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering and Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. Ünver’s interest in community service goes back to his college years when he gained experience in developmental work in various parts of Turkey.
The archives contain a rich collection of documents that encapsulate the activities of DFT between 1969 and 2006, including a visual collection of over 1,000 unique photographs from rural Turkey. In addition to shedding light on early rural development in Turkey, they enable one to better understand how civil economic initiatives were organized since 1970s. More significantly, the collection has invaluable data on patterns of daily life in rural Turkey. The visual materials consist not only of scenes from DFT’s activities, but also of rarely seen photographs from the earthquakes in Diyarbakır and Van.
The personal archives of Altan Ünver will provide ample data for researchers and students interested in achieving a better understanding of the socio-economic development of Southeastern Turkey beyond state-centered accounts.