Ipek Cem Taha
İpek Cem Taha is a Turkish businesswoman, journalist, and an active board member of leading Turkish and international organizations. İpek is the Founding Director of Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul since its inception in 2011. The Center is working to build collaborative programs and projects that link Columbia University to Turkey, and the Istanbul Center to the eight other Global Centers worldwide. Her mandates include programming on such issues as education, sustainability, peace and conflict resolution, women’s empowerment, social entrepreneurship, public health as well as work on the history, culture and future of cities, and specifically that of Istanbul.
After graduating from Robert College of Istanbul, İpek received her B.A. degree with Honors in Political Science from Amherst College. She holds an M.B.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and an M.I.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of International and Public Affairs.
In her early career, İpek Cem Taha was an Associate at Bankers Trust Company (Deutsche Bank) in New York, in the International Capital Markets Group. She was a co-founder of Netwise between 1996-2007, an Internet communications company with clients including multinationals and financial institutions. Between 2007-2011, she was working with Melak Yatırım, providing consultancy for multinational private equity funds.
Between 2005-2010, İpek was producing and hosting ‘Global Leaders,’ a television program on NTV networks, consisting of interviews with personalities such as Pele, Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, Howard Schultz and Madeleine Albright. Before creating Global Leaders, İpek was for eight years a columnist for daily newspapers, including Milliyet, Yeni Yüzyıl and Sabah.
İpek Cem Taha is a founding board member and active leader in leading non-profit organizations in Turkey, including URAK (International Competitiveness Research Institute), KAGIDER (Women Entrepreneurs Association) and SAHA, an association that supports Turkish contemporary art internationally. Since 2012, İpek Cem Taha is a Trustee of Robert College of Istanbul. She has also been a board member of the Strategic Advisory Council of the Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration, and of the International Advisory Council of Columbia University. Ipek is also a trustee of Işık University in Turkey as of 2017.
Elected an Eisenhower Fellow in 2002, İpek Cem Taha represented Turkey as a young leader in their Multi-Nation Program. She has also been named an Honorary Professor of Public Relations and Communications from the Ionian University in 2012 for her work in the consolidation of friendship, peace and cooperation between Greece and Turkey. İpek was also a member of Allianz Turkey’s Advisory Board between 2015 -2017.
In recent years, Ipek Cem Taha worked together with H.E. George Papandreou, former Prime Minister of Greece, to create the Cem Papandreou Peace Award, reserved for individuals and institutions who make a dramatic impact for peace. The award is inspired by the work of her late father, Foreign Minister of Turkey Ismail Cem and George Papandreou, who together spearheaded the rapprochement between Turkey and Greece right before the turn of the century. The inaugural award ceremony took place in Istanbul in April 2016.