60 seconds with Hale Yildiz


Politics enthusiast, blogger and Latin dancer

What are you enjoying doing at the moment?
I am really enjoying having more time to dance! Having had an extremely busy schedule this last year, I had completely forgotten what I was missing out on.

What is the best thing that happened to you today?
I discovered there are still some universities in Europe that are free. There is still hope for youth.

If you were a super-heroine, what powers would you like to have? Or if you had a magic wand what would you use it for?
On a personal level I’d really appreciate the ability to travel across time and space as an alternative to victimised backpacking in questionable transport, as well as for a heightened awareness of our time and place on a greater spectrum.
On a societal level, my magic wand would be most useful for regenerating world’s natural resources. Unfortunately, solving the problem of access and distribution would still fall beyond the means of any one magic wand to address.

What is the best part of your day?
The best part of my average day is every single morning I have to myself where I can relax skimming through interesting articles and sipping organic green tea. The best part of my job is gaining the awareness that, everyday, there is more positive change contemplated or initiated than the accumulation of grievances.

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
I would be a top economic advisor to world’s transnational decision-making bodies such as the IMF or the World Bank. Just to ensure quality control on sensitive economic decisions that affect the globe…

What do you most value in your friends?
Especially for someone who is constantly on the move, the most valuable things for me are those friends who instil a sense of rootedness, stability and balance to what is otherwise a chaotic blur of urban life, power schedules and fast living.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a woman from an immigrant or refugee background?
The hardest thing to go through as an immigrant has been feeling that my lived experience, past struggles, previous professional and personal milestones amount to something of little value and therefore having to start over from scratch. In thinking about the challenges of moving to a different continent, one of the hardest things to see is a lifetime worth of accumulated cultural and financial assets no longer hold the same value.

Can you describe a time when you felt discriminated against as a woman or as someone with an immigrant or refugee background?
I don’t experience discrimination as often as I hear about it. But one of the gaping moments was when I was held for questioning for several hours before being let through French customs as my accommodation papers were in my suitcase just on the other side of the gate. I watched a fair bit of Anglo-Saxon looking, fair-skinned backpackers pass through with ease, with nothing that remotely resembled an itinerary, let alone residential confirmation.

What’s the best thing about being a woman from an immigrant/refugee background?
I can easily say that the experience of being a part of several different worlds, being able to speak different languages and how all of this translates to an elevated sense of individual and societal awareness has given me much more than the tragedies of moving away from home.

If you could invite any woman (dead or living) to dinner tonight, who would it be?
Simone de Beauvoir. It would be a long dinner.

Tell me about an amazing woman you know.
My mother of course. The first female Turkish attaché; the multitasking, multitalented, beautiful Goddess.

Name a book or film that changed your life.
I recently reread A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, in light of current major geopolitical shifts in the Middle East. Perhaps not life-changing as such, but it certainly broke my heart and led me to think deeper into impacts of extremism, patriarchy and colonialism.

What are you reading right now? (e.g. blogs, books, magazines, or anything else!)
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis. Because dysfunctional financial systems fascinate me.

What is your favourite possession?
My MacBook Air. Yes, I am a child of technology what can I say…

What could you never be without?
Inner peace. Life would become substantially tiring otherwise.

What does multiculturalism mean to you?
Beyond cohabitation and cross-cultural contact, multiculturalism exemplifies an innate ability to empathise with and internalise diversity. The world is already largely multicultural in theory, the next step is to make it work.

If you could convince the world of one thing, what would it be?
Sigh, climate change…

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Our sad economic system and the ingrained system of incentives and entitlements. I’d like to bring equity as an organising principle, instead of profit and growth.

Finish this sentence: “We need feminism because…”
We need to be reminded of the value of gender-based input. Social change and positive ideas come from all elements of humanity, be it gender, sex, race, ethnicity or religion.