Gonca Sönmez-Poole is an American citizen of Turkish descent who has been a member of the Boston media community for the past 28 years, the bulk of which she spent working on the nationally acclaimed Chronicle news magazine at WCVB-TV in Massachusetts between 1983 and 2007. After more than a decade of full-time TV work, Sönmez-Poole branched out into international affairs through her studies at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University. Since earning her master’s degree, Sönmez-Poole has worked in television both within the United States and internationally, tackling issues pertinent to minority communities on both the local and national levels. Her accomplishments include the groundbreaking special for the Boston market on the otherwise unrecognized population of the Roma (gypsies), and a travelogue/documentary she produced about the country of Turkey that was cablecast nationally in the United States in 1992. Since 2007, Sönmez-Poole has been volunteering for a number of Armenian-Turkish dialogue projects in and around Boston. She is the founder of TAWA (Turkish-Armenian Women’s Alliance), a grassroots effort among a diverse group of Boston-based Armenian and Turkish women who met at regular intervals between September 2012 and May 2014.
Sönmez-Poole is also the founder of Mediation Way, Inc., a small Boston-based nonprofit that was in operation from 1999 until 2012. The documentary titled “Urban Nutcracker: Anatomy of a Ballet” (based on BalletRox’ production of Anthony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker) which she wrote, produced and directed under the auspices of Mediation Way was broadcast on public television stations across the U.S. for three consecutive years. Mediation Way was also home to a series of panel discussion/screenings about the Roma population in its earlier years, as well as an author/discussion event related to Turkish-Armenian relations held at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 2010.
Sönmez-Poole holds a BA in mass communication from Emerson College, an MS in broadcasting and film from Boston University and a mid-career MA from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, where she studied international human rights, minorities and methods in mediation and conflict resolution.