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Civil Participation > Season 02 > Selim Cavus

Date: 09.12.2010 (Season 2 - Episode 8)

Selim Cavus Cultivates a Culture of Reading in Public Places

On 9 December 2010, Sabanci Foundation's "Turkey's Changemakers" hosts Selim Cavus, a young activist who aims to cultivate a culture of reading in Turkey.

You walk along the Bosphorus Bridge and see people reading books in the middle of it. You wander through a shopping mall and run into people who don't shop but read books instead. You stop at the red light and see a bus packed with people, all heads down and focused on their books. These incidents are not a coincidence. Behind these events, there is an association led by ayoung leader.

Inspired by a think tank in the United States, Cavus established the "Thought Association" in Istanbul in 2007. The association has one purpose in Turkey: to increase the number of readers by 1 percent each year. To achieve its aim, the association mobilizes a community of readers at random locations. While readers enjoy reading and discussing in a public place, the public becomes aware of the issue.

In 2010, the Thought Association added another layer to its spectrum of activities: the "Reading Buses." Two million people use public transportation every day in Istanbul. If each person takes a 30-minute ride daily, it totals 850 hours per day. If passengers do not use this time efficiently, the time spent in a bus is a complete waste. From this perspective, the Thought Association aims to cultivate a culture of reading on public transportation. The buses pick up people at determined locationsand provide them with great ways to experience reading.

The Thought Association envisions to scale up its activities in Turkey by 2011 and to organize a worldwide "Reading a Book Event" in 2014. Cavus and his friends are determined to introduce the world of books to those who are not familiar with it all around Turkey.

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