Greenville Ph: (864) 991-8089 | Columbia Ph: (803) 386-4377 | Charleston Ph: (843) 790-3708

STATEWIDE MAILING ADDRESS: PO Box 26535 Greenville, SC 29616


Mon-Fri 9 am - Noon
Event Hours Vary, See Website.

Creating a Legacy of Understanding

Atlantic Institute is a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote dialogue among people and towards issues that pertain to their lives. Atlantic Institute's mainstay is to engage in educational activities about social and cultural matters.


  • We want to live in a peaceful world where non-violence, respect, understanding, friendship, cooperation and love prevail.


  • Seeking and creating opportunities for dialogue between individuals and communities. Contributing to the local and global peace by promoting values such as; respect, acceptance, dialogue, love, richness of faith and culture over centuries of time.
  • At Atlantic Institute, we approach our world with realistic optimism to build a better future for tomorrow. We believe that small positive actions can make significant changes in our lives and the world
  • We choose to face the challenges of our world by offering solutions through dialogue and education as well as organizing cultural activities and humanitarian works.

A Message from Our President

dr aydin

We live in a global world that requires understanding, goodwill, and peace among all of humanity, and it is an important goal that we must work toward. The social media, internet, and other communication tools provide many different ways of interacting with others. People from different geographies and cultures are now in constant communication. While engaging with others in far distances, we are neglecting to communicate with the people we live with in our same community. The concept of friendship and neighborhood has changed dramatically. Someone could make a friend from the other part of world and culture through social media while not seeking to ask the next door neighbor's name.

Atlantic Institute was founded to bridge the deep gap of social interaction, to promote respecting differences, and to commit to the common good in the State of South Carolina and now in 2023, throughout the US.

The volunteers and members of Atlantic Institute want to put "the American Dream" into practice as in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: "The American Dream, the dream of men of all races, creeds, national backgrounds, living together as brothers." Volunteers and members of Atlantic Institute pursue happiness in the happiness of others through volunteerism and philanthropy. Atlantic Institute members and volunteers have been working diligently to fulfill the above mentioned principles in the State of South Carolina and since Covid, we've expanded to the entire US

We sincerely hope that you enjoy participating in our many events that we put together and continue to help us share in dialogue.

Dr. Akif Aydin, President

Dr. Aydin received his Master's degree from the FSU Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and PhD from Clemson University's Department of Economics. He is a businessman with several small businesses in Florida and South Carolina. Dr Aydin is married to his wife Ozge and together they have four children. As one of the Founders of Atlantic Institute, he is inspired by Fethullah Gulen's philosophy of dialogue and peaceful and constructive coexistence.


Atlantic Institute Staff

cbellChristina Bell
Atlantic Institute Program Manager 

Christina has lived in the Upstate of SC and Northeast of GA as a transplant from Florida. She has been the Executive Assistant/Event Coordinator for Atlantic Institute Greenville office for many years and is now the Program Manager pushing Atlantic Institute to a National View as well as creating a Latin Division. She has been an Event Coordinator for most of her life as well as a Personal Assistant for Motivational Speakers, Pilots and Business Executives. She carries a passion for the work that Atlantic Institute accomplishes as she has invested thousands of dollars in herself over the years in Personal Growth courses. Bringing the community together to create Understanding between cultures is a dream that Christina created when she was 23, so she doesn't "come to work" she comes to "create her dream" for the community.

She has three children, a boy and two girls, was previously a foster parent of teen girls, has approximately 40 chickens/ducks/geese, rabbits, dogs, helps to co-manage a mechanic shop and is a current birth doula in the Rural communities of Northeast Georgia. She was raised primarily in Tampa Fl and is the oldest of 7 children (5 of which are adopted from Foster Care) She loves exploring where she lives and Volunteering with her family in her spare time.

Christina's inspiration for the work from Atlantic Institute is based from the work she has done with Landmark Education and New York Youth at Risk as well as her Christian upbringing.

cbellKoi Blue
Atlantic Institute Dialogue Program Planner

My name is Koi Blue and I’m currently a college student studying Psychology. I am interested particularly in topics about psychology and culture, and psychology and technology, and the arts. I love diversity in all sense of the word, and being a champion for inclusivity and equity.

In my spare time I love drawing, writing, enjoying music, listening to audiobooks, learning new things and spending time with my wonderful friends and my rascally, lovable cats.


Columbia Office:

paula scPaula
Executive Assistant /Event Coordinator
Paula has lived in the West Columbia, South Carolina area since 2013. She was born and raised in Michigan but has lived all over the United States and even Panama. She is the Executive Assistant/Event Coordinator for Atlantic Institute. She has been an Event Coordinator for most of her life as well as an Administrative Assistant at a Native American Tribe in Michigan.
She has two biological children, an adult man, and a girl. She is and was very involved in her children’s lives. She was the treasurer and advancement coordinator for her son’s Boy Scout Troop as well as Pack leader for Cub Scouts. She was raised primarily in Lansing, Michigan and is the oldest of 3 children. She loves exploring the Columbia area, playing board games with friends and family and supporting her daughters Archery club.




Independent Dialogue Contractors

These wonderful new additions to Atlantic Institute are from all over the US and are helping to create better, more informative, national topics for all to learn from. They work independently on topics pertinent to their area in their spare time.


petePete Cotsalas

A lifelong resident of New England, Pete has always been passionate about reading, storytelling and the written word. He earned his Bachelor's degree in English communications from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2015, and since then has endeavored to use his field of communication to help educate and culture himself and others.





petePete Cotsalas

Hello! My name is Koi Blue and I’m currently a college student studying Psychology. I am interested particularly in topics about psychology
and culture, and psychology and technology. I love diversity in all sense of the word, and being a champion for inclusivity and equity. With
technology being such a dominant factor in shaping our lives, I plan on understanding this relationship further in graduate school with
pursuing a masters in Human Factors. In my spare time I love drawing, language learning, creative coding, practicing design and
spending time with my wonderful friends and my rascally, yet lovable cats. I look forward to learning together


peteMaria Santana

My name is Maria Santana, a highly motivated Hispanic female residing in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. Equipped with a bachelor’s degree in finance, I have a strong foundation in the financial realm. However, the pandemic ushered in a period of deep self-reflection, prompting me to embark on a journey of personal growth and transformation. Inspired by this newfound sense of purpose, I have devoted myself to making a positive impact within my community. One of the ways I am giving back is by imparting financial literacy to those in need, completely free of charge. Through this initiative, I aspire to empower individuals and families with essential financial knowledge, equipping them with the tools to achieve economic stability and success.

Beyond my commitment to community service, I find joy and fulfillment in pursuing my favorite hobbies. Staying active and healthy is important to me, and you'll often find me engaging in invigorating workout sessions. Additionally, being an ardent sports enthusiast, I am wholeheartedly passionate about cheering on the Bears – GO BEARS!



peteBrian GarR

Brian Garr has been a C Level Executive in the Artificial Intelligence space for 25 years. Starting at IBM, he has been involved in five startups and advises many others. He has been a keynote speaker on five continents, and loves engaging in thoughtful conversations on how technology benefits our lives.