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.

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.

We sincerely hope that you enjoy coming to 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 three children. As one of the Founders of Atlantic Institute, he is inspired by Fethullah Gulen's philosophy of dialogue and peaceful and constructive coexistence.


Greenville Office:

cbellChristina Bell
Greenville Office Director
Christina has lived in the Greenville area for 4 years now as a transplant from Florida. She is the Executive Assistant/Event Coordinator for Atlantic Institute Greenville office. 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 two biological children, a boy and a girl, and is also a foster parent and birth doula in the community. 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 Greenville 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.

mikeMichael Mace
Executive Assistant/Event Coordinator
Michael Mace was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. He grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina and attends Greenville Tech. Michael pursues a degree in Communications from whatever university will accept him. Michael writes for, records and edits podcasts on daily life in the south. These relate to religion, humanity, humor and science with his friends and family. Michael aspires to foster a creative community in the upstate. He also desires to write in a professional capacity. Time with the Atlantic Institute should teach him how to organize people in a grassroots way. He currently lives in Traveler’s Rest with the love of his life, Cordelia, and their two dogs.

 Ph: (843) 790-3708


Columbia Office:

ugurkUgur Kursuncu
Director of the Columbia branch of AI SC
Dr. Kursuncu is a scientist at the University of South Carolina, serving as the Columbia (Volunteer) Director of the Atlantic Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Georgia. Previously, he served as the president of the IDEA Society at the University of Georgia, in the pursuit of promoting diversity, mutual understanding and respect, and dialog in our society. His passion for humanity, society, and computers, is often reflected in his personal and professional life, with significant effort in addressing challenging problems in society, health, and education, including social, racial, and economic inequality.


paula scPaula
Executive Assistant /Event Coordinator
Paula has lived in the West Columbia 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 Columbia office. 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 boy and a 9 year old 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 is now on the PTO board as Fundraising VP for her daughter. She was raised primarily in Lansing, Michigan and is the oldest of 3 children. She loves exploring the Columbia area and Volunteering her time at her daughters school in her spare time.

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our working process in 3 steps

We believe in the power of personal interaction and communicative dialogue as they are the best channels to build mutual understanding, trust, and harmony for a peaceful world.


Seeking and creating

Seeking and creating

opportunities for dialogue between individuals and communities.

Approach with realistic optimism

Approach with realistic optimism

to build a better future for tomorrow

Offering solutions

Offering solutions

through dialogue and education as well as organizing cultural activities and humanitarian works.


Atlantic Institute:

  • Dialogue
  • Interfaith
  • Education