DR. ZAMEER CAREEM
COLOMBO : I am delighted to share with you the profound journey of discovery and enrichment that has unfolded before me in the captivating land of Türkiye. In November of 2022, I had the distinct honour of being granted the KATIP scholarship, a cherished key that unlocked the gates to a ten-month odyssey, allowing me to traverse the captivating heart and soul of Türkiye. During this time, I had the privilege of immersing myself in the splendours of this magnificent nation – a land steeped in rich history, heritage, culture, and traditions.
Amidst the tapestry of my transformative ten-month scholarship journey across the enchanting landscapes of Türkiye, where I traversed countless cities and villages, basked in the marvels of Turkish culture, indulged in the delectable symphony of Turkish cuisine, savoured the melodies of Turkish music, embraced the enduring traditions, and was graced by the warmth and hospitality of the Turkish people, my profound odyssey unfolded.
As a fervent history enthusiast, I had the privilege of exploring the countless historical and archaeological gems that adorn Türkiye’s storied landscape. Additionally, as a devotee of art and painting, I delved into the ancient technique of “ebru,” the mesmerizing art of marbling. Amidst this whirlwind of experiences, one of the most illustrious facets of my Turkish voyage came to life – my unwavering dedication to the pursuit of the Turkish language. Thanks to the unflinching dedication and exceptional guidance of the lecturers at Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University, I was able to attain the coveted C1 certificate in a mere ten months, a resounding testament to the remarkable transformative power of their language course. The ability to communicate in Turkish not only facilitated my daily interactions but also deepened my connection with the people and culture of Türkiye.
My academic journey in Türkiye was deeply intertwined with my passion for history. Since 2020, I have been fervently exploring the history of Sri Lankan medicine and the foreign relations of Sri Lanka. It was during my MPhil in History course at the University of Colombo that I found myself delving into the captivating history of Ottoman and Persian Medicine. I meticulously perused Ottoman medical texts, unraveled ancient treatment procedures, and marveled at surgical techniques, all while unearthing the rich history of smallpox inoculation, particularly variolation in Ottoman Türkiye.
As I journeyed through the annals of Ottoman medical history, I stumbled upon an intricate web of historical records that traced deep-rooted relations between Türkiye and Sri Lanka, dating back to the Byzantine era. The enchanting tapestry of Turkish history and culture beckoned me to delve further into the historical imprint of Turkish influence on Sri Lankan history and heritage.
My passion for uncovering these historical connections led me to share my research findings on the history of Türkiye-Sri Lanka relations in the television series “Lost and Forgotten,” broadcasted on TV1/Newsfirst. This endeavour opened doors to numerous opportunities, chief among them being the KATIP scholarship.
Over the past two years, and particularly during my ten-month sojourn in Türkiye, I had the honour of delivering lectures on Sri Lanka-Türkiye Relations at renowned universities, including Boğaziçi University, Marmara University, and Ankara University, among others. I also extended my research to universities, conferences, and seminars in Sri Lanka, Türkiye and India, disseminating my knowledge and insights. Additionally, I have penned research articles and newspaper articles, aiming to shed light on this often-overlooked aspect of history.
In pursuit of my insatiable curiosity and the shared history and heritage of our nations, I am preparing for a return journey to Türkiye. This time, I will embark on a postgraduate degree in Asian Studies at Ankara Social Sciences University. I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Her Excellency Ambassador Demet Şekercioğlu and the dedicated staff of the Embassy of Türkiye in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for their steadfast and unconditional support, ensuring that all necessary procedures and paperwork were executed seamlessly.
Living in Türkiye, delving into the history of Sri Lanka-Türkiye relations, and sharing my discoveries has been an extraordinary privilege. I fervently hope and pray that our longstanding ties will flourish and deepen in the years to come, propelling Türkiye to even greater horizons in the future. My aspiration is that my research will illuminate the history of Sri Lanka-Türkiye relations, bridging knowledge gaps and inspiring a new generation of scholars to explore this rich and often overlooked facet of our shared history.
In closing, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all who have been part of this incredible journey, and I eagerly anticipate the chapters that have yet to be written as I continue to explore the timeless bonds between Sri Lanka and Türkiye.
With warm regards,
Dr. Zameer Careem (b. Nov, 1992) is a medical doctor-historian, researcher, a guest lecturer at Sri Lankan and foreign universities, a board director at the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), an ethnologist, a freelance journalist, and resource person for the television series “Lost & Forgotten” aired on TV1/ News-First. Additionally, he is an author with a literary repertoire spanning five books, and his recent tome “From Europa to Taprobana” (2023) was published by the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Austria. Dr Careem’s literary legacy has transcended borders, with his books gracing the shelves of Stanford University, the University of Chicago, Emory University, the New York Public Library, the National Archives of Indonesia, the National Libraries of Australia, and Singapore. In 2019, he represented Sri Lanka at the World Muslim Communities Council Summit in the United Arab Emirates. In 2022, Dr. Careem secured the ICRO research fellowship in Iran and was honored with the KATIP scholarship in Türkiye. Dr. Careem is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Türkiye within the TurkiyeBursları scholarship program.