Apr 23, 2019
Dr John Basarin – Founder of Friends of Gallipoli
Friends of Gallipoli

Friends of Gallipoli promotes friendship and understanding. More than 100 years ago, Australian and Turkish youths engaged in a military contest.  Today, this shared history is the backdrop for mutual understanding.

The heritage of Australia, New Zealand and Turkey are forever linked in the 1915 Gallipoli campaign. Popular interest in the campaign has led many young people travel to Gallipoli as a rite of passage. But not all have that opportunity.

Friends of Gallipoli initiates learning programs and Youth Tours that give young people the chance to explore their mutual ties to Gallipoli. Australian and Turkish youths explore a shared history and the rich and rewarding bounty of international friendship.

Dr John Basarin was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He trained as a chemical engineer and migrated to Australia in 1973. Apart from Melbourne, he has also lived and worked in Norway, the United States, Brazil, Germany and the UK, mainly in the offshore oil & gas business.

After retirement from engineering and consulting, John became a mature age student at Deakin University completing his PhD thesis which is entitled “Battlefield Tourism: Anzac Day Commemorations at Gallipoli”, which investigated the motives of attendance at the Anzac Day events at Gallipoli.

In 2005, John received Victorian Premier's Award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs for his long-time work on presenting the Turkish side of the tragedy at Gallipoli. John is also the recipient of the 2010 ANZAC Peace Prize which was awarded in recognition of his sustained and enthusiastic commitment to promote relationships between Australia and other communities around the world, with a significant emphasis on his commitment to Rotary Youth Exchange programs and building understanding of the Gallipoli Campaign. In 2015, the nation’s highest honour, the Medal of Order of Australia was awarded to Dr John Basarin for his many decades of excellent work on military history, assisting the Rotary community and enhancing relations with Turkey.

As the founding Chairman of Friends of Gallipoli, Inc. a not-for-profit organisation, John has been instrumental in providing a unique opportunity to many young students to go to Gallipoli and attend ANZAC Day Dawn and Lone Pine Ceremonies since 2009.