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Professor Profile: Can Erbil

A New Economics Professor With An International Perspective

Heights Editor

Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Despite traveling all over the world, Erbil never forgets the one place he can truly call home.

"I still have very organic ties with Turkey," he said. "I organized the Turkey part of the Global Trade Summit of 2012." He hopes to share his experiences with students by taking a group to Turkey—while at Brandeis, he took a group of 30 MBA students to Istanbul to visit companies, so he hopes to conduct a similar trip at BC.

While he’s not teaching, Erbil spends his weekends with his 7-year-old daughter, and proudly shows pictures of her playing soccer and dressed up like Katniss from

The Hunger Games. In his youth, Erbil loved outdoor sports, such as mountain biking, rock climbing, and ice climbing, but has retired these activities in favor of spending time with his daughter. Erbil also has a strong connection to the arts—he enjoys taking photographs, which are displayed in his office, and even exhibited with his uncle’s work in Turkey.

"My uncle is one of the most well-known painters of Turkey, actually probably the most well known of living painters," he said. His uncle, Devrim Erbil, had an exhibit in Boston last year and displayed a collection in Turkey in which his nephew’s photographs were superimposed with his paintings.

Ultimately, Erbil decided to keep his art as a hobby and pursue a career in economics. Originally interested in engineering, Erbil decided that his more social personality was better suited to a profession in teaching, where he has the ability to engage in discussion while still utilizing his mathematical skills.

"I did some research and found that economics is the best of both worlds," he said. "It’s like the engineering of social sciences. When they find a number, let’s say five, they build a bridge with that five. When I find the number five, I talk about it. Should it be four? How can I make it six?"

Erbil made the right decision: his students and colleagues both know that he loves to tell stories, such as his experience living in the "haunted" Hovey House during his graduate years. On one occasion, he accidentally scared a woman cleaning the top floor after believing she was the "ghost" that his classmates had warned him about.

His most recent story involves receiving a letter from the White House, signed by our very own president. He suspects that one of his colleagues from Brandeis, who is currently one of the economic advisers to the president, was behind the letter, yet this has yet to be confirmed. One thing about Erbil is certain: he has a plethora of stories to tell, and many more to come.

 

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