Celebrating the achievements of alumni in Turkey

When outstanding individuals receive a world-class education in the UK, the effects can last a lifetime. The Alumni Awards shine a light on the impact that alumni of UK higher education institutions are making in their chosen field, and how this was sparked by their studies in the UK.

The British Council has launched the seventh year of a prestigious award celebrating the outstanding achievements of the UK’s international alumni around the world. 

The Study UK Alumni Awards are open to alumni living anywhere outside of the UK. Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, industries and countries. The Study UK Alumni Awards celebrate and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education and raise the international profile of UK alumni and their former universities.

There are three award categories:

  • Professional Achievement Award recognising UK alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership and achievements in their professional industry, and who can demonstrate the impact and scale of their achievements in their profession, and beyond.
  • Entrepreneurial Award recognising UK alumni who are active in initiating or contributing to innovative or creative new ideas, solutions or business opportunities that have the potential for strong growth.
  • Social Impact Award recognising UK alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others.

Alumni must have studied:

  • within the last 15 years (i.e. 2005 - 2020)
  • enrolled at an officially recognised (178 institutions) or listed (679 institutions) UK higher education institution
  • at degree level* or above
  • either at a UK university in the UK, for a minimum of one term or semester, OR awarded a full UK degree level qualification (or higher), by a recognised or listed UK HEI, outside the UK.

*Degree level is defined as band 9 and above on the UK NARIC band framework. 

Professional short courses: alumni are only eligible if the course they studied was at degree level (or above), offered by a recognised UK institution in the UK (and they fulfil the rest of the criteria). Post-doc researchers are ineligible.

Have you studied in the UK and have gone on to achieve exceptional success? If so, apply for one of the awards today! 

What makes a great application? Find out our top tips on the Study UK Alumni Awards website.  

Some of the benefits of winning a prestigious Alumni Award:

  • Raise your international profile through global press and digital coverage
  • Build your professional networks and business connections
  • Win a professional networking visit to the UK


2 September 2020 Applications open
30 October 2020 Applications close at 16.00 (GMT)
October - November 2020 Shortlisting of applications
December 2020 - January 2021 Announcement of finalists
March 2021 Turkey winners announced
March - August 2021 Global finalist announcement & digital celebration
September 2021 Global Alumni Awards winners announced 

Meet the previous Alumni Awards’ winners and finalists Find out what makes their story unique.

Professional Achievement Award

Ioannis N. Grigoriadis, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Dr. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis is Associate Professor and Jean Monnet Chair of European Studies at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Bilkent University. In the academic year 2018-2019, he was Visiting Professor at the Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Program, Buffett Institute for Global Studies, Northwestern University. In the academic year 2016-2017, he was IPC-Stiftung Mercator Senior Research Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik-SWP) in Berlin and Stanley J. Seeger Research Fellow at Princeton University. He has published numerous academic articles and the books on Turkish and Greek politics as well as Turkey’s relations with the European Union. 

Gökçe Yörükoğlu, University of Kent (Winner)

Gökçe Yörükoğlu is currently Business and Biodiversity Officer and Project Manager at Nature Conservation Centre, a national NGO conducting scientific work on nature conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. Gökçe Yörükoğlu’s works were instrumental in shaping Turkey’s national policies on natural resource use. She has closely worked with the Government and the private sector over the years to shape policies and trigger collective action. She lectures on climate change at universities. She hopes to disseminate her works further by continuing to provide courses on climate change and to inspire young minds.

Mahir Çipil, London Business School 

Mr. Çipil works as Marketing & Business Development Director at Vienna Insurance Group. He is also senior instructor at İstanbul Bilgi University and Turkey Insurance Institution. He authored eight academic and business books on different topics. He joined to Vienna Insurance Group in 2016 to articulate and to execute a growth strategy, which helped company to increase sales by about 32% (more than the market average) and share price by 221% (among the best performing stocks). He also helped his company to become more customer-focused. In 2019 the company was titled as one of top three customer-friendly companies in the market.

Entrepreneurial Award

Aslı Ermiş Mert, University of Oxford (Winner)

Aslı E. Mert works as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology and is the Vice-Director of The Center for Gender Studies at Koç University (KOÇ-KAM) as well as an Affiliated Scholar at the UNESCO Chair on Gender Equality and Sustainable Development. Aslı has recently designed and managed the project “Enhancing Women's Leadership Trajectories Via Female Role Models", following which she founded the “Role Model Leader Women Network". Aslı initiates academic and civic action projects as well as provides training and consultations to raise awareness and work towards solutions regarding gender equality and women's well-being in all parts of society. 

Esra Gönen, London South Bank University  

Esra Gönen is an entrepreneur mainly interest in Innovation and Design in Service and Creative and Cultural Industries. In 2009, she founded GNN Foreign Trade, which gives sales and consultancy services to Turkish SMEs for expanding international markets and to multinational companies for entering Turkish market. Later, she cofounded ORIGINN COWORKING in 2016, where creative and social entrepreneurs work, socialise and develop projects collectively. In 2017, she co-founded Merak Creative Activities and Culture Association to foster new work at the intersection of art, technology and innovation. She is the local facilitator of NestaUK Creative Enterprise Program and has been assigned as an influencer woman leader in Cultural and Creative Industries in Turkey, by British Council. She is now board director at Baltic Creative CIC, Liverpool. 

Yıldız Tuğba Kurtuluş Kara, London School of Economics and Political Science

Having served as a Foreign Trade Expert in the Ministry of Trade for more than a decade, Tugba is of extensive knowledge on multilateral, regional and bilateral trade issues, ranging from economic diplomacy to trade facilitation, e-commerce to foreign trade logistics. Tugba established the Society 5.0 Institute in August 2017 with a group of professionals who are specialised on digital transformation, futurism, the philosophy of science and emerging technologies in order to analyse the best practices on smart society and produce policy recommendations formulized in accordance with conditions, resources and needs specific to Turkey. Society 5.0 Institute is moving towards becoming a think tank carrying out projects on ways of adapting to lightning speed technological advances.

Social Impact Award

Ali Ercan Özgür, University of Birmingham (Winner)

Ali Ercan Özgür is the founder and Managing – Director of IDEMA International Development Partners and NeedsMap. Beforehand his entrepreneurship for social development he had worked as the Executive Director of American Chamber of Commerce in Turkey.  He is co-founder of INOGAR, a new generation incubation centre. Since 2001, he volunteered for Youth for Habitat and been member of national and international committees on sustainable development. He is the founder of social movements: sehircocugu.com and ihtiyacharitasi.org. He was youth and national delegate member during 2002 UNDP RİO +10 World Summit on Sustainable Development. 

Elif Gökşen Köstem, London School of Economics and Political Science

At UNHCR, Elif Gökşen interviewed hundreds of refugees to determine their status. She contributed to the development of national asylum system in Turkey. She is the first Turkish lawyer to win Outstanding Young Lawyer Award of the International Bar Association. She was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship and spent a year at Columbia Law School as a Visiting Scholar."   As a Visiting Professional at the International Criminal Court, Elif is committed to working for justice and hopes to establish a research centre on human rights law in Turkey.

Hikmet Ceyhun Göcenoğlu, Birkbeck, University of London

Dr. Ceyhun Göcenoğlu launched his corporate social responsibility career at AIESEC in 1998. After completing his Master’s in Corporate Social Responsibility at Birkbeck, University of London as a Chevening Scholar, Dr. Göcenoğlu returned to Turkey to serve as Founder Secretary General at the Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey (TKSSD). While completing his PhD at Marmara University Faculty of Communication, he worked for British Council and assumed various roles in the telecommunications industry. In addition to his current role as IBM Corporate Relations Manager, he writes a blog on CSR on Harvard Business Review, shares his knowledge and experience in CSR with Kadir Has University students and serves as a board member of TKSSD.


All eligible applications will be assessed on the extent to which they meet the five criteria here.

Applications close on 30 October 2020. All eligible applicants will be put forward for the global Alumni Awards. 

The finalists and winners of Turkey Alumni Awards will be announced in 2021 and celebrated to raise the profile of their story and success. 

British Council will organise ‘How to apply’ webinars for those who are interested to learn more about the application process. Please register in the below if you would like to join the event on:

  • On Tuesday 06 October 17.00 (15.00  UK time) (Americas/Europe regions) [register here]
  • Tuesday 13 October 11.00 (09.00 UK time) (East Asia region) [register here]

External links