Geographical Society of Philadelphia

Q&A with Dilek!

Meet Dilek (Dee) Karabucak, our new Executive Director!

We thought we’d introduce her by way of a few questions.

Q. Where were you born?
D.K.: Born in Istanbul; have now lived longer in Philly than I did in Turkey.

Q. When did you move to the States?
D.K.: 1993 December, right before Xmas, where the streets of Philadelphia resembled a ghost town!

Q. Can you give us an insider’s tip to visiting Turkey?
D.K.: Just relax and embrace people, the cultural differences even within the same neighborhoods, try the food and visit East (mountains), West (Aegean border) North (Black Sea and surrounding area) and South (beautiful beaches).

Q. What are your favorite hidden gems in Istanbul?
D.K.: 1. Yeniköy —  One of the neighborhoods on the European side where artists, history, ethnicity, and religion meet. Get on a commuter boat to cross to the Anatolian side, have tea and take the boat back. All done with a $10 budget.

2. Haliç Subway Station — Watch the sunset at its steps, the best view of the Golden Horn.

3. Sahaflar (knowledgeable old book collectors/dealers) Bazaar…antique books and book collections .. to view and purchase. Bring some cash with you; you will be tempted!

4. Commuter boats to Greek Islands from Istanbul — breakfast in Turkey, lunch in Greece back to Turkey for tea time…

5. Bodrum area local markets at the South, Aegean coast …Part fruits/vegetables/herbs fresh from the farm and part textile, linens, kilims, jewelry.

Q. What do you like about Philadelphia?
D.K.: I like the accessibility by foot, the richness of the cultural life for adults and kids, its tight yet diverse community, its restaurant space and its proximity to New York City and DC!

Q. Do you have a favorite restaurant in Philly?
D.K.: I love seafood and sushi! Zama!  I also enjoy ethnic food, Korean bbq in Northeast. I think we have one of the best hummus at Dizengoff or Zahav…my mother-in-law’s hummus is better though:) Vernick in Center City speaks to my soul. I love Terakawa’s ramen, and Royal Izakaya’s creative dishes.

Q. As the new Exec Director of GEO, what do you foresee for its future?
D.K.: As a result of multiple conversations, I’m more than convinced that there is a great opportunity to grow; therefore, advance our partnership between GEO and those who share similar vision, demographics and support explorers young and mature. As we pursue our vision for the future, we would like to rekindle our relationship with some of the local organizations such as the American Philosophical Society, Academy of Natural Sciences, Franklin Institute just to name a few, in the most meaningful ways. GEO is also committed to further investing outreach and educational programs by engaging the local educational community. With a great Board of Directors, volunteers and membership base, I see GEO expanding its horizons from Philadelphia through the world…the exploration Begins in Philly!

Want to know more? Just ask!