The winners of the 2015 Vehbi Koç Award granted in the field of education are Professor Ali Nesin who has broken the barriers of mathematics education in Turkey, achieving extraordinary success in creative education with his publications, studies and especially the Mathematics Village Project and the Mathematics Village Project. Professor Ali Nesin who has devoted his life to science and mathematics, contributing greatly to the society through the Mathematics Village Project where he continues his work.
Among the candidates nominated by the Selection Committee headed by Professor Gülsün Sağlamer, Vehbi Koç Foundation's Board of Directors chose Professor Ali Nesin Ali Nesin who completed his secondary education at Lyceé Saint Joseph, and high school education at College Champittet, Lausanne. He then studied Mathematics at Diderot University, Paris. While pursuing his doctoral studies at Yale University, he started working as a Research Assistant in 1982. He taught at University of California at Berkeley, University of Notre Dame, and University of California at Irvine, as instructor, assistant professor, associate professor and finally as full professor, respectively until 1995.
Returning to Turkey upon his father Aziz Nesin's passing in 1995, Professor Nesin assumed the management of Nesin Foundation and founded the Department of Mathematics at Bilgi University, which he currently chairs. Seeing that the general mathematics courses that students take in university were insufficient, Professor Nesin held summer courses across Turkey for 10 years. He founded the Mathematics Village in Şirince, a village in the Selçuk district of Izmir, in 2007 with the assistance of Sevan Nişanyan. Mathematics Village, as a not for profit organization that has set a global example, accommodates over a thousand students each year, teaching them with the support of volunteering scholars from Turkey and around the world.
Professor Ali Nesin has contributed to the world of mathematics with his Mathematics Village work, his scientific and popular articles and books; his work in the last 20 years has changed many young people's view of mathematics, and he has not only made mathematics accessible but also loved.
Speaking at the 14th Vehbi Koç Commemoration and Award Ceremony attended by the entire Koç family and guests, Koç Group Chairman Mustafa V. Koç emphasized the importance of holding the award ceremony every year on February 25th, the anniversary of Vehbi Koç's passing, and said, "We as the people responsible for protecting and advancing the institutions and values that Vehbi Koç has entrusted us with always remember him. And from time to time we ask ourselves, 'What would he do if he were here now?' And sometimes we feel that he may be watching us with his mischievous smile. If he were really watching us, I am sure he would have been proud of how far Koç Group has come and yet the developments that would make him the happiest would be the increasing achievements of our educational, healthcare and cultural institutions. Even though he was known for his prudence, when it came to education and the future, he would approve huge investments without blinking an eye; and today we remember our founder once again with respect and gratitude."
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