İhsan Doğramacı

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İhsan Doğramacı
İhsan Doğramacı, 1996
Born(1915-04-03)3 April 1915
Died25 February 2010(2010-02-25) (aged 94)
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, educationalist, philanthropist, paediatrician
SpouseAyser Süleyman
ChildrenAli Doğramacı (Son) and 2 others
ParentDoğramacızade Ali Pasha (Father)
RelativesMehmet Ali Kirdar (Grandfather)
İhsan Doğramacı Statue at Bilkent University

İhsan Doğramacı (3 April 1915 – 25 February 2010)[1] was a Turkish paediatrician, entrepreneur, philanthropist, educationalist and college administrator of Iraqi Turkmen descent[2] born in today's Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq then Ottoman Empire.

Doğramacı was a pediatric physician and an international leader of development. He was the founder of Bilkent University, a leading private university and Hacettepe University, one of the overall highly ranked universities in Turkey which specializes in medical sciences in Ankara, Turkey, chairman of the UNICEF executive board, founding president of the Council of Higher Education of Turkey (YÖK), executive director and president of International Pediatric Association (IPA), co-ratifier of WHO's constitution, and he had been the first president and the chairman of its board of trustees in WHO (World Health Organization) since 1985.

He was offered national political leadership positions such as ministry of foreign affairs and premiership by Cemal Gürsel and Süleyman Demirel, both of which he declined.[3]

Doğramacı spoke Turkish, English, French, German, Arabic and Persian. He authored over 100 scientific articles, three books, six book chapters and served as the editor of four medical journals.

International organisations[edit]

He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, London and has been an Honorary Scientific Advisor to the International Centre for Childhood Studies in England since 1982.

Doğramacı was a member of the Board of Trustees of Heart International in 1981. He was the president of IPA/UNICEF/WHO/FIGO/UNFPA Task Force (1997–1998). He was a member of the Board (1970–1984) of the International Children's Centre in Paris, and he had been a member of the Board of Regents of the International Association for Humanitarian Medicine since 2000.

İhsan Doğramacı co-founded the Assembly of the Parliament of Cultures with Prince Hassan of Jordan and joined members from many nations in Ankara in 2004. The purpose of the Foundation is to promote and strengthen international and intercultural understanding among different cultures in the world and to enhance dialogue between their thinkers and intellectuals by means of peaceful dialogue.

International Pediatric Association (IPA)[edit]

He had been the honorary president of the International Pediatric Association (IPA) since 1992 and was the president of IPA between 1968 and 1977 and the executive director between 1977 and 1993.

World Health Organization (WHO)[edit]

He signed the WHO Constitution in New York City, July 1946 (he was the last living signatory). He was the vice president in 1976 and a member of the executive board between 1976 and 1982. He had been a member of many child health-related programs and groups in WHO.


He had been a member of the UNICEF Executive Board (1959–1985), and he was elected as chairman of the board for two terms. He had been the president of the Turkish National Committee for UNICEF (1958–2003). He was a major financial charitable contributor to the UNICEF co-sponsored Turkish educational community campaign "Let's Go to School, Girls".


İhsan Doğramacı matured in the secular Turkey of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. This was a political environment that Doğramacı endeavored to help develop, with his focus being medicine and child health. He also saw higher education as a parallel concern. He set out on the path to reform these fields, a path filled with obstacles of bureaucratic, legal and self-interested opposition by several circles. Sir Horace Phillips described him in his book: 'This is a likable man, emphatic in manner, but gentle with it; sometimes intolerant of those who do not share his ideals. But he has not been spoiled by his achievements.'


Doğramacı was the founding president of the Council of Higher Education of Turkey (YÖK) from 1981 until 1992. He chaired the board of trustees in Middle East Technical University in 1965 and held the rector position in Ankara University in 1963 and several other universities in Turkey.

Hacettepe University[edit]

After a rapid rise in academia, Doğramacı became a Professor of pediatrics in 1955. In the same year, Doğramacı founded The Child Health Department affiliated with Ankara University Medical School. In 1958 the Child Health Institute and Hospital started to serve the community as well as its researches and education. In 1961 School of Health Sciences was founded as the first instance of school healthcare science in Turkey. Subsequent to the establishment of some other departments such as dentistry, home economics the institute became another higher education center affiliated with Ankara University Medical School, and thus in 1967, the Hacettepe University was founded officially. After the establishment of some other departments under Hacettepe University, a need for a larger educational building complex aroused. İhsan Doğramacı endowed a considerable amount to foundations named Hacettepe Education Foundation and Hacettepe Health Foundation.[4] Thanks to these donations the new campus for Hacettepe University was built rapidly. Presently, Hacettepe University is one of the best state universities in Turkey in medicine-related areas.[5]

Bilkent University[edit]

After the legislation allowing the establishment of private universities in Turkey upon Doğramacı's request and effort, he began his searches to found a private, campus university. Afterward, in 1984 between Middle East Technical University and Hacettepe University campuses, the first private university of Turkey, Bilkent University was founded. Doğramacı founded some industrial companies such as Tepe construction to build educational buildings and to provide financial support for the university as well. All the companies incorporated under Bilkent Holding are now one of the major corporate groups of Turkey. All companies were endowed to the Bilkent University. Doğramacı's all heirs relinquished their rights to the companies. By this act, he donated nearly his whole fortune to the university.[6] Bilkent University is now one of the best universities nationwide and according to Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Bilkent is the 112. the best university worldwide.[7]

Affiliated with Bilkent University, Doğramacı had some other educational projects. The first of his university-level education centers of excellence (the opening of which had been his most recent project) was inaugurated in Erzurum (Bilkent Erzurum Laboratory High School) in 2007 followed by three other centers in East and Southeast Turkey. Professor İhsan Doğramacı also provided charitable financial private scholarship support to university students in medical sciences and music for over 40 years.

The Turkish Foreign Policy Institute of Bilkent University administers an award program of İhsan Doğramacı Prize of International Relations for Peace. [citation needed]

Doğramacı, with his wife, Ayer Doğramacı, endowed their family wealth to the support of educational and medical projects. In more recent times the Founder had turned his attention to the place of his birth, Erbil. The vision of the Ihsan Dogramaci Erbil Foundation was to build a needed and unique school in a region that has had a troubled history. After the completion of construction, the first students of İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent Erbil College began classes in 2010.[8]

Personal life[edit]

His father Doğramacızade Ali Pasha was the Mayor of Erbil and later a Senator in Baghdad; his grandfather Mehmet Ali Kirdar was a Member of the Ottoman Parliament for Kirkuk.

Doğramacı was married to Ayser Süleyman[9] in 1942.

He had three children. His son, professor Ali Doğramacı was the Rector of Bilkent University until 1 March 2010. Currently his grandson-in-law Prof. Dr. Abdullah Atalar is the rector.


İhsan Dogramaci died at Hacettepe University Hospital on 25 February 2010 from multiple organ failure. He had been receiving treatment in the intensive care unit there since November 2009.[1]

Awards, prizes, and decorations[edit]

Orders and decorations[10][edit]


  • 1978 Turkey : TÜBİTAK Service Award
  • 1981 World Health Organization : Léon Bernard Foundation Prize
  • 1986 United States : Christopherson Award (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • 1995 UNICEF : Maurice Pate Award
  • 1995 Greece : Soranus of Science and Friendship Award
  • 1998 Council of Europe : “ Peace, Justice and Tolerance" Prize
  • 1999 Turkey : Health and Education Award
  • 2000 Turkey : Distinguished Service Award (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey)
  • 2004 Japan : Dr. Ju Shichiro Naito International Child Health Award
  • 2007 Turkey : Honor Award of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey
  • 2009 Turkey : Award of Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences


  1. ^ a b "Founding President of Turkey's Higher Education Board Prof. Ihsan Dogramaci Passes Away". Journal of Turkish Weekly. 25 February 2010. Archived from the original on 1 March 2010.
  2. ^ "Yükseköğretim Kurulu – Prof. Dr. İhsan Doğramacı". yok.gov.tr. Archived from the original on 5 August 2010.
  3. ^ "Tributes to Doğramacı". 25 February 2010.
  4. ^ "İlber Ortaylı's column" (PDF). 25 February 2010.
  5. ^ "QS rankings". 25 February 2010.
  6. ^ "Güneri Cıvaoğlu's column" (PDF). 25 February 2010.
  7. ^ "THE rankings". 25 February 2010.
  8. ^ "Bilkent Erbil". 25 February 2010.
  9. ^ ""Prof. Dr. İhsan Doğramacı Kimdir? Prof. Dr. İhsan Doğramacı Hayatı ve Biyografisi," Hem Soru Hem Cevap". 25 February 2010.
  10. ^ "Awards of Doğramacı". Official Website of İhsan Doğramacı. Retrieved 1 August 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Phillips, Sir Horace (former British Ambassador to Turkey). İhsan Doğramacı : A Remarkable Turk. York: Wilton 65, 1997
  • Özsoylu, Şinasi. İhsan Doğramacı ile 40 yıl. Ankara: Özkan, 1995 (in Turkish)
  • Ertuğ, Celal. Türkiye’de ve Dünyada İhsan Doğramacı Olayı. İstanbul: Komat, 1996 (in Turkish)
  • Akman, Muvaffak. Yaşantımda Hacettepe ve Sonrası: Bir Emekli Rektörün Anıları. Ankara: Emek, 1995 (in Turkish)

External links[edit]