Social / Public Impact Focused

European Studies

Turkey’s integration process to the EU gained significant momentum between 1999 and 2005. It brought along significant structural and legal reforms. The accession of Greek Cyprus to the EU in 2004 and the magnitude of the political and economic cost of the negotiations that were initiated in 2005 along with other reasons first led to the skepticism of the political authorities and then the public. At this point, both in the EU and in Turkey, certain political, economic, and social ruptures are experienced. The researchers who work as part of İstanbul Bilgi University European Studies Field of Excellence will continue to contribute to the healthy progression of Turkey’s integration to the EU by organizing scientific activities, meetings, publications, podcasts, television programs, and social media activities in order to directly inform the public especially in those areas that Turkey needs during this period of ruptures. These studies will include issues such as Green Deal, modernization of Customs Union, foreign trade policy, competition law, visa liberalization, Refugee Deal, dialogue with civil society, gender, lifelong education, migrant harmony policies.

  • Prof. Ayhan Kaya, Department of International Relations (BMA Representative)
  • Prof. Ayşe Uyduranoğlu, Department of Economics
  • Assoc. Prof.  Kerem Cem Sanlı, Department of Law
  • Faculty Member, Özge Onursal Beşgül, PhD Department of International Relations
  • Faculty Member, Mehmet Ali Tuğtan, PhD Department of International Relations
  • Faculty Member, Büke Boşnak, PhD Department of International Relations
  • Faculty Member, Pınar Artıran, PhD Department of Law
  • Faculty Member, Ali Alper Akyüz, PhD Department of Arts and Cultural Management


Support for Civil Society

As indicated in Social Engagement Policy of İstanbul Bilgi University, social outreach is one of the main goals of İstanbul Bilgi University. In order to achieve this goal, İstanbul Bilgi University has aimed to establish a continuous and warm relationship with all segments of society since its foundation through the work that its centers and faculty members have carried out. The University has continued to contribute to the solution of social problems, an integral part of its mission, and carry out and support social responsibility activities, and established collaborations with social enterprises in every field with its centers and faculty members. Within the framework of field of excellence, Support for Civil Society continues to work in fields such as providing trainings, capacity building, mentorship, and collaborations for NGOs and social enterprises; support and collaborations for NGOs working in the fields of youth, culture, and arts; providing training support for local governments and local civil actors; voluntary works; monitoring the transparency and accountability of NGOs and social enterprises, and monitoring the public expenditures for NGOs.

  • Prof. Nurhan Yentürk, Department of Economics (BMA Representative)
  • Prof. Bülent Bilmez, Department of History
  • Prof. Kübra Doğan Yenisey, Dean, Department of Law
  • Prof. Itır Erhart, Department of Media

Child Studies

Regarded as a field that needs to be approached with an interdisciplinary and holistic perspective, child studies also require collaboration between academia and field. In view of these needs, BİLGİ Child Studies Unit was founded in our university in 2017 and it was the first ‘child studies’ unit in Turkish academia. Child Studies Unit has been conducting both scholarly and social effect focused works on ‘child studies’ in Turkey by establishing collaborations with different departments, faculties, and research centers within the university. In this field of excellence that we define as ‘Child Studies’, the working areas that we have contributed to up until now by adopting a perspective looking out for the ‘best interest of children’, the most important principle of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the working areas that we would like to contribute to are as follows:

  • Ensuring that children learn their rights and that all the actors responsible for realizing children’s rights assume their responsibility in that regard and act accordingly
  • Increasing the awareness regarding the approach of ‘child’s well-being’ in Turkey and conducting innovative studies in order to depict the state of children in the framework of this approach
  • Carrying out studies in order to increase child participation, a developing working field in Turkey
  • Conducting preventive, protective, and supportive studies for ensuring that children are protected from all kinds of maltreatment and violence and that their development is supported by focusing on matters such as prevention of child labor, child protection at sports, prevention of sexual abuse, monitoring public expenditures for children
  • Ensuring that education environments are inclusive of all children and fighting against discrimination in education
  • Conducting studies that are innovative, scientific, and social effect focused in the field of children’s mental health
  • Conducting studies in the field of ‘Protection of Child Rights in Digital World’, a quite innovative and much-needed field for child rights in the new world
  • Supporting children in all developmental areas and ensuring that their potentials are fulfilled
  • Contributing to the development of mutual awareness between academia and field regarding child studies in Turkey and the development of a holistic approach regarding children


  • Prof. Pınar Uyan Semerci, Department of International Relations, Director of Center for Migration Research (BMA Representative)
  • Prof. Kenan Çayır, Department of Sociology, Director of Center for Sociology and Education Studies
  • Faculty Member, Esra Ercan Bilgiç, PhD Department of Media

Migration and Social Inclusion

Due to the transformation and change that it leads to in social, political, legal, economic, and cultural structures of societies, migration is one of the important dynamics of social life and a significant academic field. Addressing migration, which is a universal phenomenon and has become diversified and intense, has come to the fore as one of the important elements for contributing to a fair and equitable society with all its differences in the framework of social inclusion. As COVID-19 pandemic, which has been going on since 2020, has illustrated once again, it is vital that we examine the transformations that emerge especially in the context of human mobility due to epidemics, catastrophes, climate change, our production and consumption habits, and ongoing conflicts; migration’s social effects in relation to social justice, marginalization, discrimination, polarization processes during the period referred to as post-truth era, and the needs, arrangements, possibilities, and predicaments in this field for providing scientific and social contribution.

As academics and experts coming together under the roof İstanbul Bilgi University, our principal approach in Migration and Social Inclusion Field of Excellence is to recognize differences and to strengthen scholarly and social knowledge and practices against discrimination, social marginalization, and hate speech in Turkish society with a perspective based on respect, access to fundamental rights, and social inclusion that also includes migrants.

Our work aims for realizing social change that centers around equality and wellbeing in the context of access to fundamental rights, participation, and social inclusion of disadvantaged groups including migrants with an emphasis on a fair and equitable society. In order to share the scholarly knowledge in this field with society, methods such as open access publications, online trainings, visual materials, and impact analyses will be used.

  • Prof. Emre Erdoğan, Department of International Relations (BMA Representative)
  • Faculty Member, Gülay Uğur Göksel, PhD Department of International Relations
  • Faculty Member, İlknur Hacısoftaoğlu, PhD Department of Sports Management

Disability Studies (EÇMA)

The disability status arises from the interaction of the attitudes and environmental circumstances that prevent the people with inborn or acquired inability from participating in social life fully and effectively on equal footing with the other individuals. The World Health Organization’s finding that the 15% of the world population is disabled leads one to predict that there are 12,756.000 people that are directly affected by disability status in our country’s population. Accepting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability as a guide, Disability Studies Field of Excellence (EÇMA) advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. It addresses the disability-related issues within the framework of Bronfenbrenner’s socio-ecological theory. This theory maintains that one needs to understand both the individual and his/her environment in order to understand him/her. In this context, the work of EÇMA not only includes the persons with disabilities but also the various layers of society such as the family members, school, teachers, peers, service providers, and policymakers that affect the lives of persons with disabilites. In short, the goal of EÇMA is to develop science-based service models that will enable the full and equal participation of the persons with disabilities in the social life. 

  • Prof. Dilara Fatoş Özer, Department of Child Development (BMA Representative)
  • Faculty Member, Aynur Aydoğan, PhD Department of Child Care and Youth Services
  • Faculty Member, Zeynep Maçkalı, PhD Department of Psychology


Disasters and Mental Trauma

Disasters are events that disrupt the normal way of life in a society, causing wounds that become visible with losses, making individuals and communities lose their sense of trust and control by exceeding the capacity of the affected society to cope with the existing means. From 1900 to the present day, more than 22,000 mass disasters have occurred worldwide, and it is known that traumatic events such as floods, wildfires, and droughts will increase with global climate change. International and national literature also shows that the frequency of traumatic events in life is over 70%. For this reason, different countries are moving towards a trauma-sensitive / trauma-informed culture in their institutions and organisations, especially in education, social services and health. In some countries, legal regulations recognizing the importance of trauma-informed services and encouraging the use of trauma-informed practices have started to be prepared. Trauma-informed service delivery is a form of service delivery that focuses on prevention and healing, is aware of the physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral stress reactions that people give to protect their integrity after a traumatic event, focuses on controlling the dangers and risks that may cause re-traumatization, emphasizes physical and emotional safety for service providers and survivors, emphasizes the participation of the affected community in all activities to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment by emphasizing strengths, and activates inter-sectoral cooperation. In Disasters and Mental Trauma field of excellence, social impact-oriented studies will be carried out to ensure that service delivery systems, especially in disasters, are trauma-informed. The main objectives are summarized as follows:

  • To develop and implement innovative, evidence-based and social impact-oriented trauma-informed education programs to protect community mental health,
  • To contribute to public health by ensuring coordination and cooperation between mental trauma workers carried out by different disciplines throughout Türkiye and all organisations and professionals involved in counselling services on these issues, increasing knowledge and service effectiveness,
  • To develop projects related to mental trauma and disaster throughout the country with international and national collaborations, and to disseminate evidence-based information to the society through scientific activities such as symposiums.

  • Prof. Ahmet Tamer Aker, Department of Child Development (BMA Representative)
  • Prof. Zeynep Şimşek, Department of Health Management
  • Prof. Perihan Güner, Department of Nursing
  • Faculty Member, Ersin Uygun, PhD, Department of Property Protection and Security