Profile

Ipek Cem-Taha
Director, Columbia Global Centers | Turkey

Ipek Cem-Taha holds two graduate degrees from Columbia University in New York City: an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business and an M.I.A. (Master of International Affairs) from the Graduate School of International and Public Affairs. Until recently, she was producing and hosting 'Global Leaders,' a television program, in association with NTV networks, a leading news channel. The show consisted of one-on-one interviews with political, business and other opinion leaders who shape our world today, including Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, Madeleine Albright and Pele. Ipek had been a columnist commenting on international trends, politics and economics for major Turkish daily newspapers including Milliyet, Sabah and Yeni Yuzyil for eight consecutive years. She is a founding member and active participant in several non-profit organizations in Turkey and abroad including Women Entrepreneurs of Turkey (KAGIDER), International Competitiveness Council (URAK), Initiative to Support Contemporary Art (SAHA), the Center for Mediterranean Integration in Marseilles (CMI) and the Eisenhower Foundation in Philadelphia. Ipek Cem is also an Eisenhower Fellow as of 2003. She has also been named an Honorary Professor in the Department of Public Relations and Communications of T.E.I. (Hellenic Republic Technological Educational Instıtute of Ionian Islands) for her scientific and humanitarian work including the consolidation of friendship, peace and cooperation between the neighboring countries of Greece and Turkey.

Ipek is a Turkish businesswoman, journalist and a leading member of several community-based and international organizations.

Media Experience
Between 2005-201 Ipek has produced and hosted 'Global Leaders,' a television program, in association with NTV networks, Turkey's leading news channel. The show consists of one-on-one interviews with political, business and other opinion leaders who shape our world today. 'Global Leaders' aspires to be the voice of Turkey and surrounding regions by delivering honest, firsthand global perspectives from world leaders.

Guests on Ipek's program have included political leaders such as Kofi Annan, Javier Solana, Madeleine Albright, Shimon Peres, George Papandreou, Amre Moussa, Hamid Karzai, Ursula Plassnik, Dora Bakoyannis, Brent Scowcroft, Mikhail Saakashvili and business leaders like Richard Branson (Virgin), Mark Mobius (Templeton), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Rahmi Koc (Koc Holding), the late Ahmet Ertegun (Atlantic Records), John Chambers (Cisco), Bill Ford (Ford) and Jeffery Immelt (GE) as well as leaders in their fields such as Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University, Gerd Leipold, the Executive Director of Greenpeace and legendary soccer star Pele.

Before launching 'Global Leaders' in 2005, Ipek had been a columnist commenting on international trends, politics and economics for major Turkish daily newspapers including Milliyet, Sabah and Yeni Yuzyil for eight consecutive years.

Ipek has acted as contributor and associate editor to two recent books in English, prepared in association with Transglobe Publishing, Thomas & Hudson. Unleashed: Contemporary Arts from Turkey (2010) and Istanbul Contrasts (2011).

Business Experience
Since 2007, Ipek is a co-founder and director with Melak Investments, where she has providing strategic advice to funds and companies looking to invest in Turkey on a project by project basis.

Previously, she was a co-founder and managing partner of Netwise / IKC Communications between 1996-2007, an Internet services company. Netwise has been a pioneer in the Internet communications business in Turkey, with clients including multinationals, financial institutions and conglomerates. The company also owns and operates several online ventures in tourism and e-commerce and has created an information portal for the Turkish American Business Council.

Prior to establishing Netwise in 1996, Ipek was an Associate for Bankers Trust Company (now part of Deutche Bank)  in New York, in the International Capital Markets Group where she specialized in providing debt financing for leading Latin American private and public sector entities from 1993-95.

Turkish NGO’s
Ipek is a founding member and active participant in several non-profit organizations in Turkey. Her activities, which began in 1999, are related to webbusiness, women in the workplace, competitiveness, education and community outreach.

She is a founding member and a Vice Chairman of the Board of URAK (National Competitiveness Research Institute), which aims to foster competitive sectoral strategies for Turkish businesses, as well as publishing the Annual Competitiveness Index by city.  Web: www.urak.org.tr

She served as a Board member of GYIAD, Turkish Young Executives and Businessmen’s Association, between 1999-2002 and as the Deputy Chairman of the Board between 2001-2002.  In 2004 she was elected to the Honorary Board of GYIAD. Web: www.gyiad.org.tr

She is a founding member of KAGIDER (Women Entrepreneurs Association), the leading women’s business organization in Turkey, and served as a Board Member in 2004-2005.  Web: www.kagider.org.tr

Since 2007, she is a Board Member of EDAM, an Istanbul based think tank focusing on political and economic issues. Web: www.edam.org.tr

She is also a founding member of YAY Foundation, which works to provide sustainable and affordable housing for earthquake prone areas in Turkey. Web: www.yay.org.tr

Ipek was invited to support the 150th Anniversary of Robert College as Chairperson of the Major Donations. Web: www.robcol.k12.tr

Ipek is a founding member of Outset Turkey (2011), an association which supports Turkish Contemporary artists especially in the international arena.

Education
Ipek holds two graduate degrees from Columbia University in New York City: An M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration) from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, where she specialized in International Business and Finance; and an M.I.A. (Master of International Affairs) from the Columbia University Graduate School of International and Public Affairs. She completed her undergraduate B.A. degree with Honors in Political Science from Amherst College in Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Robert College in Istanbul, where she completed her high school education. She attended Işık Lisesi (Nişantaşı) for her primary school education.

International Positions, Board Memberships, Fellowships and Honors
Ipek has recently accepted to be the Interim Director of Columbia University’s Global Center to be established in Istanbul. Her responsibilities will officially commence in September 2011.

Elected an Eisenhower Fellow, Ipek represented Turkey as a young leader in the Multi-National Program in 2003. Eisenhower Fellowships provide an opportunity for individuals from various countries and professional fields to exchange ideas and experiences, to build relationships with each other, and to foster mutual understanding during a two-month fellowship in the United States. Between 2007-2011, Ipek was the Executive Committee Chair for the Turkish Eisenhower Fellows. Web: www.efworld.org

Since 2007, Ipek is a member of the International Advisory Council of Columbia University. Web: www.columbia.edu

Since 2009, Ipek is a member of Strategic Council of the Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration, an Institution founded by the World Bank, European Investment Bank and the founding member states France, Egypt, Jordan, Lebonan, Morocco and Tunisia.  Web: www.cmimarseille.org

Ipek has been named a Councial Member of the European Concil on Foreign Relations in 2011. Web: www.ecfr.eu

Ipek is also an Advisory Board Member of Institute for Climate and Energy Security.

Web: www.i4cense.org

Personal
Ipek lives in Istanbul with her husband Shwan Taha and their children.