Vehbi Koç Foundation

Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV) strives to contribute to Turkey’s development by creating sustainable and reproducible models in the areas of education, health and culture.


The Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV) works to further Turkey’s development through creating and running sustainable and reproducible models in education, health and culture.

In 2013, the Vehbi Koç Foundation, through its affiliated institutions and the projects it supports, continued to make a difference in society in the areas of education, health and culture.

Information about a number of the Foundation’s major activities is provided below. For more detailed information about all VKV affiliated institutions and projects, go to www.vkv.org.tr.


Since its inception, the Vehbi Koç Foundation has offered more than 45,000 scholarships to students who are academically successful yet financially restricted. In the 2013/2014 academic year, VKV provided scholarships centrally and through its affiliates to 2,158 students - 1,245 junior and senior high school students, and 913 university students.

VKV Koç High School’s 2013 senior class was the most successful class in School history

VKV Koç High School was founded in 1988 by the Vehbi Koç Foundation. In 1998, it incorporated a primary school and, with the addition of kindergarten, Koç High School has become a school offering grades K-12.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2013, VKV Koç High School is a member of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Moreover, beginning in tenth grade, in addition to the Ministry of Education curriculum, the School offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program.

In 2013, VKV Koç High School senior class was by every measure the most successful in the school’s history. In addition to impressive university acceptance rates, its students, the School’s representatives at elite universities around the world, obtained scholarships totaling more than US$ 1 million. Three of the 169 students taking the Higher Education Placement Exam gained places in the top 1,000.

Koç University came in 31st on the Times Higher Education (the) list!

Koç University came in 31st on the “100 Under-50 Universities” ranking prepared for the first time by Times Higher Education (the), the leading UK higher education journal. Koç University was the highest ranking Turkish university on the list.

The Times Higher Education, prepared by the British newspaper, The Times, researches and ranks the world’s most successful universities. This year’s list contains the best 100 universities that have been teaching and conducting academic research for less than 50 years. The research took into consideration the universities’ work, academic publications and other academic accomplishments. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Koç University has achieved great success in ranking in the top 100 under-50 universities in the world.

Affiliated with Koç University Faculty of Medicine, the Health Sciences Campus under construction in Topkapı is one of the largest projects of its kind in Turkey.


The 2013 Vehbi Koç Award went to Prof. Gökhan Hotamışlıgıl in the field of health

The Vehbi Koç Foundation gives the Vehbi Koç Award to encourage people and institutions to work on improving people’s quality of life. Awarded annually and rotating between the fields of culture, education and health, the Vehbi Koç Award went this year to Prof. Gökhan Hotamışlıgıl, Chairman of Harvard University’s Genetics and Complex Diseases Department, for his pioneering work in the health field.

Having received his Harvard University professorship in 2007, the 41-year-old Prof. Hotamışlıgıl is the first Turk to join the small group of scientists in the world to gain the American Diabetes Association’s Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award. A graduate of Ankara University’s Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Hotamışlıgıl received a scholarship to complete his residency at Harvard University. He has countless publications in the areas of obesity, diabetes and coronary health. In the rationale for making its selection, the Vehbi Koç Prize Jury stated: “Gökhan Hotamışlıgil is a Turkish scientist who has served all humanity by being a global actor in the universal field of science. In addition, many of his scientific discoveries were made with other Turkish scientists he invited from Turkey to his laboratory. While continuing his scientific research in the US, Gökhan Hotamışlıgil maintains close contact with Turkey and, whether as a role model or as a voluntary consultant, he has been successful in providing guidance to Turks in the fields of health and science.”

Phase One of Koç University’s Health Sciences Campus is nearing completion

Construction of the Health Sciences Campus, one of the largest of its kind in Turkey, has begun in Topkapı, Istanbul. The Campus is affiliated with the Vehbi Koç Foundation, Koç University Faculty of Medicine. Phase One of the project, which is about to be completed, includes the Faculty of Medicine and a Research and Training Hospital. Plans are for Koç University Faculty of Medicine students to continue their education on the Health Sciences Campus from September 2014.

Phase Two of the project consists of two specialty hospitals, oncology and traumatology, the School of Nursing, faculty housing, and a 583-capacity dormitory. Upon its completion, the project will be one of the Foundation’s major contributions to the country.

Nursing Scholarships: “50 More Lights for Health”

The Vehbi Koç Foundation Nursing Fund was founded in 1974 under the direction of Semahat Arsel to provide nursing scholarships and support professional development projects. Its mission was to identify the problems of nursing in Turkey and to assist in creating viable and lasting solutions. Since 2003, the VKV Nursing Support Fund has supported special professional nursing development projects. Today, however, the vast majority of its nursing training and development activities have devolved to the Semahat Arsel Nursing Education and Research Center (SANERC) and Koç University School of Nursing.

To commemorate Semahat Arsel’s 50th working anniversary, 50 educational scholarships were provided for students of nursing, a field she has worked hard to improve over the years.

Since its founding, the Sadberk Hanım Museum has been meticulous in displaying items from a collection of the finest of Ottoman embroıdery.


Embroidery exhibit at the Vehbi Koç Foundation Sadberk Hanım Museum

The Vehbi Koç Foundation’s Sadberk Hanım Museum is Turkey’s first private museum. It was opened in memory of Vehbi Koç’s wife, Sadberk Koç, on 14 October 1980 in a building named Azaryan Yalısı and to exhibit her personal collection. Since its founding, the Sadberk Hanım Museum has given exquisite displays of the best of Ottoman embroidery.

The Sadberk Hanım Museum hosted an exhibition, entitled “Skill of the Hand Delight of the Eye” from 7 December 2012 to 4 August 2013 under the joint curatorship of Hülya Bilgi and İdil Zanbak. The 167 pieces in the exhibition catalog of the same name, chosen from among the exhibit’s 2,000 works, represent the richness and varieties of the embroideries that were central to Ottoman life. Through these pieces, visitors could follow nearly 300 years of Ottoman embroideries from the 17th to the 20th century.

On the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Republic and Ankara as its capital, VEKAM began publishing the “journal of ankara studıes”, a journal devoted to Ankara and its environs.

The VEKAM peer-reviewed journal starts publication

The Vehbi Koç and Ankara Research Center (VEKAM) conducts academic research on Ankara and collects and makes available to researchers all kinds of information and documents related to Ankara. VEKAM is headquartered in a vineyard house belonging to Vehbi Koç in Keçiören, Ankara - the building being one of the few remaining pre-republican examples of civil architecture. The vineyard house was restored in 1992-1993 and became attached to the Vehbi Koç Foundation in 1994.

VEKAM began publishing a peer-reviewed journal devoted to Ankara and its environs, the Ankara Research Journal, on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the republic and of Ankara as its capital.

Ankara Research Journal, which is published two times a year, will contain articles in Turkish and English. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to eliminate the deficiencies that exist on this subject.

The Journal’s first section contains original research articles on Ankara and its environs, while the second section includes position papers on the topic.

Another part of the journal’s mission is to provide the public with summaries of the articles based on new data collected through scientific methods regardless of discipline and supporting all research on Ankara and its vicinity.

Third International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Research Symposium at AnaMed

The International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Research Symposium is held in the memory of Sevgi Gönül (1938-2003). She was committed to Byzantine research to revitalize our collective memory of the rich legacy of Byzantine culture - which held sway over Eastern and Western civilizations for more than 1,000 years from its geographical heart, Istanbul - and to build the regard it deserves.

The aim of the symposium, which the Vehbi Koç Foundation is to hold triennially, is to create an international platform on which to share academic research conducted in Turkey and elsewhere, to raise awareness of this cultural legacy through publications, to share research findings in this area, and to support the training of young researchers of Byzantium.

Recent archeological discoveries and a rereading of historical documents have yielded new insights and understandings about Byzantine commerce. The three important symposiums held recently - in Oxford in 2004, Vienna in 2005, and Washington in 2008 - and the increase in publications on Byzantine trade evidence this growth in interest. Moreover, the uncovering of marvelous new artifacts at the Marmaray excavation at Yenikapı, Sirkeci and Üsküdar in Istanbul is fuelling this interest in Byzantine commercial activities.

To further this interest, the theme of the 3rd International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Research Symposium, held at Koç University’s Anatolian Civilizations Research Center (AnaMed) in Istanbul, 24-27 June 2013, was “Commerce in Byzantium.”

Two exhibitions, Artamanoff: Picturing Byzantine Istanbul and, Stories from the Hidden Harbor: Shipwrecks of Yenikapı at the Istanbul Archeological Museum ran concurrently with the symposium.

The 13th International Istanbul Biennial, for which Koç Holding and the Vehbi Koç Foundation have assumed a 10-year (2007-2016) sponsorship, was held between 14 September-20 October 2013.

13th International Istanbul Biennial at ARTER

The 13th International Istanbul Biennial was held by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), Koç Holding and the Vehbi Koç Foundation, its 10-year sponsors (2007-2016), between 14 September-20 October 2013. ARTER, established in 2010 in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district as a space for contemporary art, hosted as one of the 13th International Istanbul Biennial’s exhibition sites. “Mother, am I a Barbarian?” exhibited the works of 12 artists under the curatorship of Fulya Erdemci. The 13th International Istanbul Biennial drew a record with 337,429 visitors.

ARTER hosted six other exhibitions, excluding the Biennial, in 2013.