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Professor İhsan Doğramacı (April 3, 1915 – February 25, 2010)[1] was an Iraqi Turkmen born in Erbil, Iraq, Türkmeneli then Ottoman Empire. He was a pediatric physician, an academic and an international leader of development. His father Doğramacızade Ali Pasha was the Mayor of Erbil and later a Senator in Baghdad, and his grandfather Mehmet Ali Kirdar was a Member of the Ottoman Parliament for Kirkuk. He was the founder of Bilkent University, a leading private university, in Ankara, Turkey, and he had been the first President and the Chairman of its Board of Trustees since 1985.

He was the founding President of the Council of Higher Education of Turkey (YÖK) from 1981 until 1992. He established the Hacettepe University in 1967, which is now one of the best state universities in Turkey in medicine-related areas. He also chaired the Board of Trustees in Middle East Technical University in 1965 and held the rector position in Ankara University in 1963. He was offered national political leadership positions by Cemal Gürsel that he declined. Professor İhsan Doğramacı co-founded the Assembly of the Parliament of Cultures together 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.

He had three children. His son, Professor Ali Doğramacı is currently the Rector of Bilkent University.

Professor Doğramacı was married to Ayser Süleyman [2] in 1942 and 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.

The vision of the Ihsan Dogramaci Erbil Foundation is to build a needed and unique school in a region which has had a troubled history.

İhsan Doğramacı, with his wife, Ayser 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.


International organisations

He was the founder 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. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Heart International since 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 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.


International Pediatric Association (IPA)

He had been the Honorary President of 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 Organisation (WHO)

He signed the WHO Constitution in New York, July, 1946 (he was the last living signatory). He was the Vice President in 1976 and a member of Executive Board between 1976 and 1982. He had been a member of many child health-related programmes 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 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 which Doğramacı endeavored to help develop, with his focus being medicine and child health. He also saw higher education 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 Phillips described him in his book: 'This is a likeable 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.' He is the founder of the Children's Hospital in Ankara, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, the first College of Nursing and several other universities in Turkey where he also served as the Rector and Chancellor. The first of his university level education centers of excellence (the opening of which had been his most recent project {s}) is to be inaugurated in Erzurum in late 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 for over 40 years. He was the recipient of the Turkish State Medal for Outstanding Merit as well as the 2007 Honor Award of the Turkish Parliament, The Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

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

Other awards, prizes, and decorations

  • Order of Heydar Aliyev (Azerbaijan)
  • First Rank Order of Independence (Azerbaijan).
  • Order of Homayoun First Class (Iran)
  • Gran Cruz Placa de Plata de la Orden Heráldica de Cristóbal Colón (Dominican Republic).
  • Gran Official, Orden del Mérito de Duarte, Sánchez y Mella (Dominican Republic).
  • First Rank Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland (Finland).
  • First Rank Commander of the Order of Merit of Poland.
  • Order of the Cross of St. Mary’s Land (Estonia)
  • Officier de la Légion d'Honneur (France).
  • National Award for Distinguished Service (Scientific and Technical Research), Turkey, 1978.
  • Léon Bernard Foundation Prize (WHO), 1981.
  • Christopherson Award (American Academy of Pediatrics), 1986.
  • Maurice Pate Award (UNICEF), 1995
  • State Medal of Merit (Romania), 1997
  • Health-For-All Gold Medal (WHO), 1997
  • 1999 Health and Education Award for Merit (Turkey)
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Turkey), Distinguished Service Award, 2000
  • Council of Europe “ Peace, Justice and Tolerance” Prize, 1998 (The other two laureates were Franz Cardinal König and Simon Wiesenthal.)


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


  • 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 (Turkish)
  • Ertuğ, Celal. Türkiye’de ve Dünyada İhsan Doğramacı Olayı. İstanbul: Komat, 1996 (Turkish)
  • Akman, Muvaffak. Yaşantımda Hacettepe ve Sonrası: Bir Emekli Rektörün Anıları. Ankara: Emek, 1995 (Turkish)

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