Koç University


Founded in 1993, Koç University has quickly become one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey with over 7000 students.


The university

  • Established in 1993 as a non-profit private university.
  • Attracts students from various ethnic, religious, social, cultural and economic backgrounds; preferred by Turkey’s ethnic and religious minorities, due to its universal values.
  • Internationalization: academic personnel profile is wide due to the choice of English as language of education, which attracts students from all over Europe and North America for exchange programs.

The city

  • A cosmopolitan city, experiencing a rapid transition from emigration to immigration
  • A superdiverse city with most of Turkey’s religious and ethnic minorities today concentrated in Istanbul.
  • The growth and economic transition of Istanbul has brought many urban challenges in housing, employment, pollution, urban infrastructure, transportation, environmental preservation, and city administration.
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Koç University and UNIC

Koç University is very eager to cooperate as an active member of the UNIC Alliance as the principle mission of Koç University is to cultivate competent graduates, who are internationally qualified; who can think creatively, independently and objectively; and who are confident leaders. An open-minded vision, with a clear focus on international cooperation with universities in Europe is a core value of the university. The UNIC Alliance offers an excellent opportunity to broaden our vision, to learn from other like-minded universities and to contribute to the education and research of UNIC with our own knowledge, expertise and traditions. Concurrently, research conducted at Koç University contributes to scientific development on an international scale and bolsters technological, economic and social development. Koç University consistently strives to advance knowledge through its efforts and to serve Turkey, Europe and humanity as a model of institutional excellence. Recently Koç has installed a diversity and inclusion office. The office members are eager to learn from the other offices at the partner universities like Erasmus University Rotterdam.

As a “Center of Excellence”, Koç University facilitates the coming together of young students who possess superior skills with esteemed faculty members who possess superior knowledge and experience. Through Koç University’s liberal-arts-inspired pedagogy and plethora of extra-curricular enrichment opportunities, students acquire the intellectual courage to inquire and question while developing the character necessary to serve as custodians of democratic values and freedom. Guided by the highest standards of academic and interpersonal development, the institution collectively imparts the critical thinking necessary to analyse knowledge, the creativity to nurture and surpass this knowledge and the curiosity for lifelong learning.

From its curricular programs to the architectural design of its buildings, Koç University’s student-oriented approach engenders a uniquely nurturing, yet competitive, environment. Graduates of Koç University become leaders in their professions and contribute to the betterment of society. This is fully in line with the ambition of the UNIC Alliance. Combining traditional academic paradigms with innovative programming and successfully attracting top-tier students, faculty members and research programs, Koç University aims to “raise the bar” for higher education in Turkey and for Europe as a whole.

The strategic added value for Koç University to join the UNIC Alliance is to strengthen existing relations and cooperation networks and to create new cooperation opportunities in Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, the MENA region, and West Asia. As a university in a superdiverse city as Istanbul, Koç is fully committed to learn from and to actively contribute to the Superdiversity Campus and to create the UNIC University in Europe.

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Aims and Activities

The key aims and activities of Koç University are centred around the large number of Koç research forums and centres. Among those, the ones that are directly relevant to this project are the following: Migration Research Centre at Koç University (MiReKoc); Koç University Social Impact Forum (KUSIF); Vehbi Koç and Ankara Research Centre (VEKAM); Centre for Research on Globalization, Peace, and Democratic Governance (GLODEM); Koç University Gender Studies Centre (KOÇ-KAM); and Koç University Social Policy Application and Research Centre (KU-SPM). Research and education from these forums and centres will be used in the CityLabs and the Superdiversity Academy in order to have the best outcomes and results and to make the UNIC Alliance sustainable in Turkey and in Europe.

The Migration Research Centre at Koç University (MiReKoc) has been the initial respondent for this project and will play an active role in its implementation during the three year funding period and afterwards. As an IMISCOE member institution, MiReKoc provides an institutionalized hub for migration research. During and after the starting period of UNIC, with its international partners, MiReKoc will extend its research and education focus towards its wider neighbourhood including Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, the MENA region, and West Asia. In addition to its intensive research agenda, MiReKoc organizes annual summer schools, international conferences, workshops and seminars to discuss various research agendas in the field of migration.

Koç University will play a vital role in the connection and cooperation between the UNIC Alliance and its members and the Mediterranean Basin, the MENA region, and the West Asia. As such, Koç University is an important partner for the further development and sustainability of bottom-up networks of universities across and outside the EU which will enable students to obtain a degree by combining studies in several EU countries and contribute to the international competitiveness of European universities. Koç University is the main beneficiary of WP5: Superdiversity Academy. Its geographical position, underlines the necessity for Koç University to be and to act as a true superdiverse university. The university attracts students from various ethnic, religious, social, cultural and economic backgrounds, and has students from a large number of ethnic and religious minorities, due to its universal values. As such, Koç will take the lead in this important WP to make sure that all the individual partners and the UNIC Alliance as a whole will be frontrunners in superdiversity. This will be organised in the general aims and policy of UNIC, but much more important in the actions and activities of the Alliance and its partners.