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Essex graduate who chaired NATO research group up for education award

  • Date

    Thu 2 Feb 23

An Essex graduate who went on to become the youngest ever chair of a NATO research group has been shortlisted for a Study UK Alumni Award.

Berke Capli, who studied BA Economics and Politics at Essex between 2009 and 2012, is among a select group in the running for the Wider Europe and Turkey category.

Berke was named chair of the NATO Science and Technology Organisation research group in 2016, aged just 25.

He has held a number of jobs ranging from civil society to the defence sector in politics.

In 2017, Berke founded one of the largest women’s rights organisations in Turkey, KizBasina (Just a Girl).

The not-for-profit organisation has helped millions of women, and run numerous campaigns to raise awareness about gender-based violence and equality.

Berke said: “One of the first-ever campaigns, the Digital Carnation project, aimed at raising awareness of femicides, has reached 16 million people.

“Later projects, such as the ‘Why I stayed silent’ and the ‘Healing campaign’ focused on gender-based violence reached more than 15,000 women and helped women share their stories.

“Through our work, KızBasına campaigns and guides are viewed every day by thousands.”

Berke returned to the UK in 2020 to complete a Masters in Social Research and is currently completing a PhD in Quantitative Social Sciences.

Reflecting on his time at Essex, Berke said: “The University of Essex helped me develop an ability to conduct research and self-teach. In addition, Essex is an excellent environment for friendship and networking.

“I am still working with my best friend from university and we are helping each other throughout our careers.“

He added: “I can certainly affirm that the quality of education and the network I have attained in the UK has played a substantial role in my career development and my passion for civil society”

The Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education.

Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions and countries.

The Study UK Alumni Awards 2022-23 finalists will be announced later this year.

 * This story was written by BA Journalism student Cerys Ferguson