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The Aziz & Gwen Sancar Foundation
Carolina Türk Evi - Turkish House,
743 East Franklin Street,
Chapel Hill, North Carolina


Board Members

Aziz Sancar, MD, PhD – Emeritus Chairman of the Board
Gwen Sancar, PhD – President
Bülent Ender, MD – Chairman of the Board
Emin Pamucak, MS. EE – Treasurer
Ismail Arslan, BS – Vice-President for Fund Raising
Nihat Çubukcu, PhD – Vice-President for Public Relations

Fevzi Yalin, MBA Secretary

Jordan Scepanski, PHD – Board Member

Aziz Sancar

Aziz Sancar, MD, PhD – Emeritus Chairman of the Board (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

Aziz Sancar, MD PhD is Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He was born in Savur-Mardin, Turkey in 1946. He obtained his primary and secondary education in Savur and Mardin, and then received an M.D. degree in 1969 from the Istanbul University School of Medicine. After practicing medicine in Savur for two years he attended the University of Texas at Dallas and obtained a Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology in 1977 with his work on  DNA repair.  Dr.Sancar conducted postdoctoral work at Yale university on molecular biology of DNA repair in the period 1977-1982. He joined the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UNC Chapel Hill in 1982 where he has been conducting research on DNA Repair, Cell Cycle and cancer treatment, and the Biological Clock. He has published 288 research articles and 33 book chapters. Prof. Sancar is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences USA, a Member of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Member of Turkish Academy of Sciences and the recipient of the Vehbi Koc Award from the Koc Foundation of Turkey in 2007. Aziz Sancar lives in Chapel Hill with his wife Gwen Sancar, also a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Gwen Sancar

Gwen Sancar, PhD – President (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

Gwen Sancar, Ph.D. is Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine.  Born in Waco , Texas , she attended public schools there, and in 1972 graduated with a B.S. in Biology from the Waco campus of Baylor University .  Dr. Gwen Sancar entered the graduate program at the University of Texas at Dallas in 1972 and, after 4.5 years of study on the mechanism of DNA replication in Physarum polycephalum, she was awarded the Ph.D. in 1977.  She performed postdoctoral research at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn , New York , for three years, during which she elucidated the arrangement of globin genes in alpha-thalassemia in African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews.  In 1980 she joined her husband, at Yale University , where they collaborated on studies on the regulation of DNA repair genes in E. coli.  Dr. Gwen Sancar joined the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UNC Chapel Hill in 1982.  In addition to carrying out research in DNA repair enzymology and on the regulation of genes in response to DNA damage, and publishing over 40 original articles and book chapters on these topics, she has been very active in graduate and undergraduate education and in promoting research experiences for undergraduate student.  Dr. Gwen Sancar hopes that Turk Evi will be a catalyst to promote understanding of Turkey , its people , and its contributions to the cultural heritage of the world by her fellow Americans.

Bulent Ender

Bülent Ender, M.D. - Chairman of the Board (Raleigh, North Carolina)

Dr. Bülent Ender is a gastroenterologist at Wake Gastroenterology. He has been on the staff of Rex Hospital of Raleigh, North Carolina since 1993. Dr. Ender is a member of multiple medical societies including the American Gastroenterological Association and the American College of Physicians.

Bülent is an active member of the Turkish-American community in the Triangle area and is a founding member and the Chairman of the Board of Bridge to Turkiye Fund. He also manages BTF’s Endowment Fund, established with Board of Directors’ charitable contributions. Bulent lives in west Raleigh with his wife Deniz, and enjoys tennis, cycling, swimming and traveling.


Emin Pamucak

Emin Pamucak, MS. EE – Treasurer (Cary, North Carolina)

Emin Pamucak was born in 1959 in Kütahya, Turkey to immigrant families from Ottoman Turkish towns in Bulgaria and Greece. After receiving his elementary school education in Karadeniz Eregli and Ankara, Emin attended middle school and high school in suburban metropolitan Washington, D.C. He holds BS and MS degrees in engineering from Bogazici University and University of Maryland. Employed by IBM and LENOVO at various corporate capacities since 1984, he has worked at company locations in Minnesota, New York, Connecticut and most recently North Carolina.

A firm believer in “by and for” grassroots civic representation, Emin is involved in community development and advocacy with emphasis in promoting citizen based initiatives and social responsibility. He feels privileged to be a product of two cultures and has been an active member of ATA North Carolina since 1996, serving his community as the President of the Association from 2001 to 2004. He has received Association’s Distinguished Member and Distinguished Leader Awards. In 2004, ATA North Carolina was recognized as ATAA’s Component Association of the Year. In the fall of 2005, Emin was also recognized by the Daughters of Ataturk with a Man of Outstanding Accomplishment Award. He has also served the Turkish-American community as ATAA Vice President for the South Eastern United States from 2004 to 2006. Emin is a founding member and the President of Bridge to Turkiye Fund. Emin lives in Cary with his wife Ayse.


Ismail Arslan

Ismail Arslan, BS – Vice-President for Fund Raising (High Point, North Carolina)

Ismail Arslan was born in 1958 in Ispir, Erzurum and has lived more than half of his life outside his home country. He holds a B.Sc. in Business Administration from Kennedy Western University in CA.
He is currently employed by De Leo Textiles (New Jersey) as Vice President of Business Development and heavily involved with High Point (NC) Furniture Market. Ismail is a strong supporter and volunteer of community non-profit organizations. He is a long time member of American Turkish Association of NC, serves in the BOD’s of Bridge to Türkiye Fund (BTF), ITMA-Showtime, country's premier and the only textile market as Vice President.

He is married and has three children and two grandchildren, lives in High Point, NC since 2001.


Nihat Cubukcu

Nihat Çubukcu, PhD – Vice-President for Public Relations (Cary, North Carolina)

Nihat Cubukcu is a Senior Scientist at Weather Predict Consulting Inc. a subsidiary of Renaissance Reinsurance. He was born in 1973 in Macka-Trabzon Turkey. After completing his elementary school at his village in 1983, he got accepted to a boarding school in Trabzon and spent 6 years there until the end of high school. Upon finishing his high school at Affan Kitapcioglu in 1989, he was placed in Meteorological Engineering Department at Technical University of Istanbul. Soon after he received his BS degree, he was awarded by Turkish Ministry of Education with a Scholarship to work on his graduate studies in USA. After spending a year on English, he got accepted to Florida State University in 1995. Two years later, he got his MS degree from Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute at Florida State University in 1997. He completed his graduate studies in 2001 and earned the PhD in Meteorology. His field of expertise is on Computational Geophysical Dynamics, Numerical Modeling, Geophysical Hazard/Risk Analysis, and Climate Change. He has various publications in prestigious journals that deal with geophysical sciences. He worked on many scientific projects with NOAA, IBM, NASA and various other research Institutions. In addition to his scientific background, he has been very active volunteer at many non-profit organizations since his university years. He is the current President of American Turkish Association of North Carolina ( and active volunteer of Bridge to Turkiye Fund. He is married with a daughter and lives in Cary North Carolina.

Fevzi Yalin

Fevzi Yalin, MBA – Secretary (Elon, NC)

Fevzi Yalın was born in Nicosia, Cyprus to a Turkish Cypriot family. He spent his formative years in Cyprus. He completed his BS in Engineering in Saudi Arabia and obtained a MBA degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has spent over 30 years as an Information Technology professional, working for VF Corporation and Nissan in the manufacturing industry and IBM, EDS and HP in the information services industry. He is currently an IT Project Manager for Carolina Biological Supply Company in Burlington, NC. He also holds professional certifications in Project Management (PMP®) and IT Service Management (ITIL®).

Fevzi is passionate about the equality of rights for persons regardless of their race, gender, ethnic and religious background. He promotes open dialogue in finding common ground in resolving conflicts. As a firm believer that history repeats itself, in his spare time, he is working on a compilation of his journalist father’s broadcasts and news transcripts ranging from 1960s to 1990s.

After having worked in Virginia, Tennessee and California, his family settled in North Carolina. He is married and has two daughters attending NC State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He resides in Elon, NC.

Jordan Scepanski

Jordan Scepanski, PHD – Board Member (Chapel Hill, NC)

Jordan Michael Scepanski is Dean Emeritus, California State University, Long Beach.  He holds an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College, and graduate degrees from Emory University and the University of Tennessee at Nashville.  He most recently was Dean of Library and Learning Resources at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates, prior to which he held the position of Executive Director of the Triangle Research Libraries Network, a consortium of Duke, North Carolina Central, and North Carolina State Universities, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He has worked in libraries, library organizations, and academic institutions in California, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee, in Ankara, Turkey, and in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the U.A.E.  Mr. Scepanski has taught at California State University, Long Beach and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he has lectured and made numerous presentations at other institutions in the U.S. and abroad.  In September he visited four Brazilian cities on behalf of the U.S. Department of State under its Speaker and Specialist program and in May he will travel to Indonesia in a similar capacity.

His acquaintance with Turkey dates from the mid-nineteen sixties when he lived in that country as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English as a foreign language to elementary, middle, and secondary school students.  He returned with his family in 1981as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in Librarianship at Hacettepe University in Ankara and since has been a regular visitor and a presenter at Turkish professional conferences and other scholarly events.

Mr. Scepanski resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife, H. Lea Wells, a former librarian who is a specialist in university faculty development and student learning outcomes assessment.  They work together as Jordan Wells Associates, consulting on library and information issues and facilitating organizational and staff development.