Joint statement from Suzan Sabanci and Linda Wachner, co-chairs of the American-Turkish Society, on the passing of Mica Ertegün.

We are deeply saddened to announce that Mica Ertegün CBE, a renowned interior designer, philanthropist, and a beacon in the world of arts and humanities, passed away peacefully in her sleep on December 2nd, 2023. She was 97.

Born in Romania, Mica's journey was marked by resilience and a quest for beauty and cultural enrichment. She left her native country following the Russian occupation, finding new homes in Switzerland, Paris, and Canada. Her life took a pivotal turn when she settled in New York after marrying Ahmet Ertegün, the founder and chairman of Atlantic Records, in 1960. Together, they formed a partnership that was both personally fulfilling and professionally inspiring.

As the co-founder of the interior design firm MAC II, Mica's work reflected an unparalleled elegance and a timeless aesthetic. Her designs graced numerous high-profile residential and commercial projects across the globe, earning her international acclaim. Beyond her contributions to design, Mica's passion for the arts and culture manifested through her roles on the boards of several prominent arts organizations, where she played a pivotal role in shaping the cultural landscape.

In 2012, Mica made an unprecedented contribution to humanities education with a significant donation to Oxford University, leading to the establishment of the Mica and Ahmet Ertegün Graduate Scholarship Programme in the Humanities. This initiative brought together the world's top graduate students in the humanities, fostering a unique environment of interdisciplinary dialogue and cultural exchange. The Ertegün Scholarship, providing full funding for graduate degrees, is a testament to her belief in the transformative power of education and her commitment to nurturing future global leaders.

A highlight of Mica's philanthropic journey was her instrumental role in the restoration of the Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. Her lead gift of $1.4 million through the World Monuments Fund facilitated the collaboration between Greek Orthodox, Armenian, and Franciscan communities, culminating in the restoration's unveiling in 2017. This endeavor, coupled with her advocacy for the works of Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuși for which she teamed up with the European Union in the restoration of his seminal work, The Endless Column, as well as her donation to Romania of a park directly in front of the piece so that it could be enjoyed by everyone, underscored her commitment to preserving and celebrating global cultural heritage.

Mica's enduring love for her husband, Ahmet, was a cornerstone of her life. She was his unwavering support, his rock, providing strength and inspiration throughout their life together. Her deep affinity for Turkey, Ahmet's homeland, was reflected in her appreciation for its culture and history, influencing her professional and personal endeavors. This special bond was evident in every aspect of her life, from her design aesthetics to her philanthropic initiatives, embodying a life lived with passion, commitment, and love.

Mica Ertegün's multifaceted legacy, spanning the arts, design, dedicated cultural preservation, and impactful education and humanitarian efforts, will resonate for generations. Her life’s work stands as a beacon of inspiration, exemplifying the profound impact one individual can have through a combination of vision, generosity, and deep cultural appreciation. Mica Ertegün will be remembered not only for her professional achievements but also for her profound impact on the arts, education, and the lives she touched.

Mica Ertegün

Since its inception, The American Turkish Society’s mission has always been to create meaningful connections between Turkey and the United States through positive experiences. The Society continues to achieve this by always embracing the new in business, arts and education.

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