"Monumental works do justify the greatest pride"
(Guvenir on teacher Orhan seyfi Ari, Halkin Sesi 27 Nov. 2004)
Teacher of Teachers (as called by the Minister of Education) Orhan Seyfi Ari was born on 12 December 1918 in Lapithiou, Paphos, in the then British Dominion of Cyprus, as the youngest of a brother and two sisters. Teacher Ari’s parents Emete and Huseyin Avni Ahmet (of Gakkuro’s) were landowners with vineyards and olive orchards, and teacher Orhan Ari was brought up with the liberal ideas of his father who was a hoca (cleric) and also a school teacher (he had objected to his son’s being taught only Ottoman history and ensured the teaching the of also other subjects to school pupils). As was the custom the name Seyfi was given him by his class teacher, taking the surname Ari later which became the family name of this school teacher.
Teacher Orhan Seyfi Ari, after six years elementary education in Lapithiou and Paphos and six years secondary education in Nicosia Turkish Lycee for boys, attended Morphou Teachers Training College in 1939 graduating in 1941 -while teaching, teacher Orhan Ari studied for two further years specializing in Agriculture, continuing professional development at teaching and teachers seminars for school teachers in the then Colony of Cyprus and by a teaching bursary in the United Kingdom for teachers of English on English life and language, as a young school teacher.
The teaching career of teacher Orhan Ari consisted almost exclusively of school teaching (as distinct from private teaching) and educational reforms, as teacher or head teacher, for about forty years: from 1941 to 1943 his teaching appointment was at Morphou Rural Agricultural College, then for a year (to 1944) he was head teacher at Arodez elementary school, between 1944-1947 teacher Ari’s was teaching at the English School in Nicosia as a high school (English ‘grammar school’ -as distinct from American ‘grammar school’) teacher, and between 1947 and 1953 he was appointed by the education authority to teach at Paphos secondary school where after briefly teaching Greek and English language teacher Orhan Ari was head teacher, and his teaching career took teacher Ari from 1953 to 1959 to Loudrijina secondary school as head teacher; teacher Ari’s teaching appointments in the Republic of Cyprus were in Nicosia: at Bayraktar secondary school as teacher of English language and later also of Religion and Ethics, occasionally teaching also at Haydarpasha Commercial Lycee; following the practical division of the British Commonwealth island of Cyprus Republic teacher Orhan Seyfi Ari was again teaching at the English School in the Greek sector, later teaching in the Turkish sector (KKTC – Northern Cyprus Turkish Republic) at Girls’ Technical Institute, at the age of sixty in 1979 retiring from teaching.
Teacher Ari before his first teaching appointment had worked for some months as tailor’s help, and during the inter-communal troubles he had to do national-service at a military communications center at nights and weekends for about two years, while also teaching; and, in retirement from school teaching, in Nicosia, teacher Orhan Ari produced the popular ‘Ari’ brand of Turkish coffee but due to import problems to Turkish sector later, having decided against teaching in Britain, occasionally he returned to teaching by giving private tuition in English language and worked as head-cleric (hoca & imam) at Iplik Pazari Mosque until 1992 in the last two years of his life and retirement from teaching.
Teacher Orhan Seyfi Ari’s extraordinary teaching and cultural successes in Cyprus included: in his younger school teaching days helping prevent village school closures, and as a young school teacher interest in preventing neglect of the teaching and education of orphans; teaching how to best work the land in Angolem; chairing a historical building preservation society; in Paphos while school teaching and as head teacher defending and popularizing co-education and introducing and popularizing school and social cultural shows and activities with also his wife Suzan Ari’s gratis help; in Loudrijina while contributing to the bringing of running-water and roads and electricity and making available health care, creation of opportunities for his school students -with his wife sometimes instructing gratis in extra-curriculum school activity (then rare in many British Commonwealth countries), popularizing school activities and other educational and cultural and social activities to establish a socio-cultural community identity, teacher Ari also popularized then non-compulsory secondary school enrolment and education with his popular teaching and enabled bigger and better modern school projects and school buildings equipped with current and modern science teaching laboratory equipment, reforming school teaching and education there too and setting up a self-regulating and progressing secondary school teaching and education system; in Nicosia with much popularity of his teaching and personality among his school pupils at the English school, at Bayraktar secondary school teacher Ari was involved in and in charge of a business initiative scheme for students, as also there proved popular with school pupils his teaching.
Teacher Orhan Ari’s charisma and socio-cultural and teaching and educational leadership skills everywhere enabled him to achieve both pupil and people enthusiasm as well as, and (regardless of whether Cypriot or Turkish or English graduates) the cooperation of his teaching staff, in his such social reforms and cultural and school teaching and educational reforms. Teachers and parents liked teacher Orhan Seyfi Ari and his honesty and sincerity and educational leadership which ensured his place among great educators and cultural and educational reformers, as much as school pupils did this teacher’s educational leadership skills and school teaching.
Teacher Orhan Seyfi Ari married in 1946 with Suzan then a resident of Morhphou and daughter of Emine and Huseyin Zihni Uney -a successful barber and socially active community leader (mukhtar) of Saray Onu, a central part of Nicosia; the marriage of teacher Ari and Suzan was one which, despite the custom then of arranged marriages and dowries (which they saw nothing wrong with if did not disagreeably disregard love) -all respecting their choice, set an example rejecting an arrangement and refusing dowries and in marrying for love.
Teacher Orhan Ari and Suzan Ari together raised four sons; the Ari family’s interest in teaching and education continued also through teacher Ari’s daughters in law, with Hayriye Ari teaching during inter-communal troubles, Dr. Hulya Ari’s involvement in Turkey in organizing FIDE ’98 for restructuring architectural education in light of projections for technology and society highlighting social transformations, Refiya Ari’ was voted the Woman of the of the Year in 2003 by Dogu Akdeniz University and as the president of the Special Education Association was instrumental in the founding in KKTC in Cyprus [now in the EU] of the first special needs school in its history of education for disabled children and school pupils).
Teacher Orhan Seyfi Ari’s interests were not limited to education and school teaching, and this school teacher’s self-development and education and activities included: appreciation of Latin and Ottoman Turkish and written Arabic; pilgrimage to Mecca and a keen study and self teaching of both divinity and theology and a detailed study and the self teaching of the eastern and western mystical philosophies, and c. 1960 Turkey’s ‘Islam’ magazine acknowledged his help in research on religion in Cyprus, and when in England in 1989 he was invited to give a talk on the Bible of Barnabas in the Old Kent Road Mosque in London; on teaching and educational and social ethics a writer credits teacher Ari with praise from the Mufti (expounder of religion) on this school teacher’s works on educational and social youth morality and refers to an unfinished treatise teacher Orhan Ari penned on morality -teacher Ari’s philosophy (especially on school education and school teaching and educators and education reformers and philosophy of education, as well as socially) was that pragmatic should not in philosophy of education mean abandoning logic in respect of the unknown and failure to appreciate the need for spirituality was as a baby in the womb’s failure to appreciate the need for limbs in ignorance of the world and that man was nether good nor bad but impressionable and in logic personal and impersonal truth was subject to global and environmental truth affecting social psychology and (especially school pupils’ and youth’s) personal behavior and that it also helped to try to understand school children before trying to be understood by pupils and students; teacher Orhan Ari wrote poetry in his circle of the interested and a writer (Harid Fedai in Halkin Sesi, 27 Dec. 1992) credits teacher Ari’s literary contribution in terms of giving the first love of poetry to a Turkish Cypriot folk poet, as well as with researching and enabling a previously unpublished Ottoman poetry collection, and by valuable research enabled by this school teacher also the publication of previously unpublished similar literary works; teacher Orhan Ari contributed to socio-political life by useful debates in his club and by writing, c. 1968-1992, articles and columns of critique both under his own name O. S. Ari, as well as under such pen-names as ‘Aritan’ in the Turkish Cypriot press, e.g. ‘Birlik’ and mostly in ‘Halkin Sesi’; this school teacher’s cultural interests and activities in London in the 1950s encouraged setting up the first Turkish Cypriote Cultural Association in England, and teacher Ari as guest contributed ideas in the joint meeting in 1989 of various such cultural organizations in the UK, and in retirement was invited to Sydney and Melbourne to inspect schools and give cultural lectures in Australia this school teacher.
Teacher Orhan Seyfi Ari, even though had retired from teaching thirteen years before, when passed away (on 17 December 1992), dignitaries, personages, teachers took part in his funeral with school children bearing flowers laid by also by school pupils and his former students on his tomb epitaphed ‘The Teacher of Teachers’.
Teacher Ari received various teachers and educators and teaching awards "for unforgettable services", and for "his mark on our history of education" (M. Dogrusoz in Birlik, 5 Feb. 1999) with newspaper articles and magazine and book mentions in Turkish and in Greek and poetry published about this school teacher, in Taskinkoy/Marmara district in the Turkish sector of the capital city Nicosia (Lefkosia, Lefkosa) in 1993 was named after him ‘Orhan Seyfi Ari street’; in 2006 and the municipality of Luricina/Lysi (Akincilar/Akdogan) named an avenue after, "the educational Sun that has never set on us", the late, educator Orhan Seyfi Ari, the school teacher.
(H. Atun, Leader of Parliament -KKTC – letter 22 Dec. 1992)
"Those by him taught have made both the State and the Nation proud.
He was a modern successful educator who will always be remembered with love and respect."