Erol Erduran, 1932-2011

August 25, 2011

A pioneering educator, teaching at all levels, Erol Erduran played an instrumental role in the foundation of the first Turkish Cypriot university in Northern Cyprus.

Throughout his career, he was passionate about higher education, holding a position with the Fulbright Commission and teaching English at the Open University of Cyprus.

Mr Erduran was born in Aytotoro, Cyprus, in 1932, and began his career at a teacher-training college in Morphou, subsequently teaching in several village primary schools.

One of the first Turkish Cypriot teachers to win a scholarship to study in the UK, he completed an English teaching qualification at the University of Cardiff in the mid-1950s. He then returned to Cyprus where he began teaching English as an additional language in secondary schools.

He went on to become headmaster of the Nicosia Girls High School and, in 1974, following the conflict in Cyprus, he was instrumental in setting up and running a high school in Lapta. After several years as headteacher there, he moved on to lead the Anafartalar High School in Kyrenia.

Mr Erduran considered education to be more than imparting academic knowledge, seeing it rather as the opportunity to give people the ability to understand, reason and function in society. His interests lay in ensuring a high quality of education across the whole country.

During the early 1980s, he became inspector of schools for English language at the Turkish Cypriot Ministry of Education, and was closely involved in the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean University in Northern Cyprus, the first such institution for Turkish Cypriots.

His career took him to many countries, including the US, where in 1983-84 he spent some months as a visiting tutor at George Mason University in Washington.

He also worked with the British Council and the Goethe Institute, and was a member of the Fulbright Commission, representing the Turkish Cypriot community.

After retiring from his position at the Ministry of Education in the 1990s, Mr Erduran continued to work, teaching English at the Open University of Cyprus.

Ünal Akifler, a friend and former colleague, described him as "a great educator who contributed immensely to the quality of Turkish Cypriot education.

"He was a sincere and open-minded friend whose presence gave one immense pleasure; a mind of great depth. We have lost a valuable and widely admired human being."

Mr Erduran's many interests outside work included writing short stories and contributing to the Turkish Cypriot magazine Cardak. He was also a fine swimmer and is described by his daughter Sibel as "very humorous, inquisitive, wise and humble".

Mr Erduran died on 5 August and is survived by his son and daughter.

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