Georgetown University awarded Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk an honorary degree before a full Gaston Hall on Monday. Pamuk became the first Turk ever to win any Nobel Prize when he won for Literature in 2006.
Accepting the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Pamuk spoke to the audience about his novels, which were hailed by President DeGioia for both “building bridges” between the East and the West, and the past and the present.
“When I build bridges,” Pamuk said, “words are my stones.”
President DeGioia also spoke of the globalization that occurs through Pamuk’s work, and Pamuk himself spent much of his address describing how he viewed the novelist’s purpose in a globalized world, saying, “Novels are not for passing judgment. Novels are places where we identify with others.”
Elizabeth Andersen (COL ’08) said that Pamuk talked more about the role of the novelist in the world instead of his specific experience in Turkey.
“I’m surprised he didn’t talk more about the controversy,” she said.
Pamuk briefly fled Turkey after he criticized the country’s historical treatment of Armenians and Kurds. He returned to face criminal charges, which were dropped after the European Union criticized the government’s actions.
—Additional reporting by Marco Cerna