Case study: Professional studies

Ayse Inan

I am the daughter of immigrants, born and raised in Palo Alto, California, where I spent the first 30 years of my life. For many reasons, I have focused my career on being of service and supporting positive change. This focus is also the reason why I moved to Turkey, to give back to my country of origin.

Turkey is a country brimming with unmet potential, bogged down by bad politics, corruption and perpetual uncertainty. At the same time, there are many like myself, working to build the country up and beyond its current circumstances.

The philanthropic and civil society sector is of utmost importance in this effort. Though I have established expertise in the non-profit sector, I feel underdeveloped when it comes to the nuances of foundation work. Thus, I believe it is my professional responsibility to increase my expertise through continuing education.

I have a vision for philanthropy in Turkey that involves bringing the best version of grantmaking, philanthropy and social investment to the country. Though some non-profit management courses exist in Turkey, the academic expertise is still developing and not at the level of rigour one can find in such countries as the US or England.

The MSc programme in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment at Cass Business School, City University of London is academically and practically a direct overlap with my needs. The course design and cohort structure also add value, and the international nature of my studies enables me to have a richer understanding of the sector.

Now four months into the programme, my experience so far has reinforced my decision, having already learned theories, frameworks and case studies that have direct application to my goals. By the end of the programme, I am confident that I will have new expertise in philanthropy, enabling me not only to better serve my foundation, but also to be a resource for the sector in Turkey. I believe my thesis work, which will explore risk in social innovation across countries, will also add value.

Ayse Inan is manager at the Suna and Inan Kirac Foundation, Turkey. Email

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