Monday 18 March 2019

This was the third Alumni Awards to be organized in Turkey, and for the first time the winners received a scholarship of £1,500 for their career development and professional skills training.

The prestigious Alumni Awards recognise outstanding achievements with a positive global impact made by the international alumni of UK universities. The awards were handed over at a ceremony held at the British Consulate General in Istanbul, Pera House on Thursday, 14 March 2019. The award ceremony was organized by the British Council with the support of Aptis exams.

The Alumni Awards, being held for the fifth time worldwide and for the third time in Turkey, aim to shine a light on the outstanding successes of the alumni of UK universities who are able to make use of their experiences for the benefit of the societies in which they live, as well as their professions and home countries. This year’ award ceremony saw prizes being awarded under three categories, with Ayşegül Buğra being handed the “Professional Achievement Award”, Didem Tali the “Social Impact Award” and Mehmet Akalın the “Entrepreneurial Award” at the ceremony. 

British Council Turkey Deputy Country Director Nilgün Felchner stated: “I believe in the power of education and its ability to change lives. All finalists of the Alumni Awards 2019 have used the education that they received in the UK to gain success in their career paths, to advance themselves and to shape the world around them. Though it may seem like there are only three winners today, the success of over 20,000 UK alumni within the past decade is also a cause for celebration. I congratulate all of the finalists for using the experience they gained studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, industries and countries.”

This year, 11 finalists were shortlisted for the Alumni Awards 2019 from among the candidates that applied with remarkable stories. The awards were given under three categories, namely those for “Professional Achievement”, “Social Impact” and “Entrepreneurial”. The aim of the awards are to show how getting a higher education in the UK can affect and benefits the lives of the alumni, and to celebrate their successes.

While receiving her “Professional Achievement Award” Ayşegül Buğra said: “I believe that studying at the University of Southampton enriched me with a flexible approach, effective research skills and an international vision to the training of students in Turkey.”

The winner of the “Entrepreneurial Award”, Mehmet Akalın, stated that his education at the University of Sussex had helped him to establish an international network that included many countries, aside from Turkey. He said that thanks to the education he received in the UK, he had had the opportunity to improve himself by working with people of different backgrounds.

Didem Tali, the winner of the “Social Impact Award”, said that she had been able to access ideas, business networks and events that she had never encountered before, and that earning her master’s degree at the London School of Economics, a leading university with its media and communications department, gave her a huge advantage in such a competitive sector as journalism and media.

£1,500 scholarship opportunity

British Council gives the finalists and the winners of Alumni Awards 2019 the opportunity to take part in career- and skill-development training programs for the first time this year. The award winners will receive a scholarship of £1,500 for participation in career development and professional skills training programs in the UK or Turkey, which will give them the opportunity to raise their international profile, expand their professional networks and enhance their careers. 

The finalists are also given the opportunity to participate in the Creative Entrepreneurship Program – a three-day training program developed by the British Council with Nesta – aimed at helping creative entrepreneurs implement their business ideas, or in a two-day social impact management training programme organized by KUSIF. 

Meet the award winners:

•Ayşegül Buğra - University of Southampton

Ayşegül Buğra, Ph.D. is the Director of the Dr. Nüsret - Semahat Arsel International Business Law Implementation and Research Center. She is an Assistant Professor at the Koç University, School of Transportation and Insurance Law, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Turkish Insurance Law Association.

•Didem Tali - London School of Economics

Didem Tali is currently focusing on long-form projects in collaboration with National Geographic and other high-profile media organizations. Her documentary about a women’s wheelchair basketball team from Cambodia is currently in production.

•Mehmet Akalın – University of Sussex 

Mehmet Akalın helped 23 Turkish entrepreneurs raise funds and expand their companies in the global markets. A while ago, he decided to establish his own start-up firm so as to take advantage of his accumulated experience to build the next global Internet company in Turkey.

For further press information: 

Mirel Akdemir, Corporate Communications Manager
Phone: +90 212 355 56 77