We have maintained cooperation with institutions in Turkey since 1996, initiating more permanent cooperation in 2007 around human rights education for justice sector institutions, universities and NGOs. Read more about our work in Turkey.
Advisors in Istanbul
Ilhami Alkan Olsson
Ilhami has a Masters degree in International Human Rights Law (2002) from Lund University, and a PhD (2007) from Kent University (UK). He was awarded post-doctoral grant from the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS) about international climate change regime at SOAS, London University. He was lecturer at Istanbul University for nearly 8 years.
Before joining RWI as consultant in 2017, Ilhami also acted as lecturer and mentor for SIDA-financed Lund University programme on children’s education rights and Swedish Institute-financed Lund University programme on the impacts of digitalisation on human rights.
Seda has MA degree in Transnational Communication and Global Media from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is doing her PhD in sociology, with research subject including nationalism, racism and citizenship. Seda has worked at various organizations including UNHCR, National Democratic Institute in Turkey and Civil Society Development Centre as public relation and communication officers.
Sebnem Kenis joined RWI in 2016 as Programme Officer responsible for gender mainstreaming and results-based management in RWI’s Turkey Human Rights Capacity Development Programme. In 2018, she was appointed as the Gender and Human Rights Advisor and began working with RWI’s regional and country programmes and partners around the world. In her current capacity as the Senior Policy Advisor, she leads RWI’s gender equality work and provides gender and human rights related expertise, advice and guidance to RWI’s regional and country programs. Before joining RWI, she had worked in the sectors of market research, public relations, and non-governmental organizations in Turkey. Her professional expertise also includes monitoring and evaluation, results-based management, capacity development of NGOs, and lobbying and advocacy (for youth rights and policy, gender equality, sexual and reproductive rights). She was appointed as the Gender Equality Rapporteur of the Council of Europe’s Joint Council on Youth in 2016 and maintained this position until the end of 2016. Sebnem holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Koc University, Istanbul.
Bahar Özden Çosgun
Bahar has been working as a Programme Advisor at RWI, mainly responsible for Human Rights Cities and local governments, since 2018. Before joining RWI she worked for the National Association of Local Authorities of Turkey and was responsible for international projects.
Bahar has been involved in local authority capacity building projects with the Council of Europe, UNDP and local government associations of Sweden (SALAR), Netherlands (VNG), Germany and Spain on good governance, local economic development, leadership, citizen engagement and gender equality. She conducted the secretariat for the national delegation of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities between 2008-2015, Strasbourg. She also worked as a Program Manager in Çankaya Municipality in Ankara between 2015-2018.
Bahar holds a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara.
Dr. Madra obtained her PhD degree in Sociology from the New School for Social Research in New York, USA. After obtaining her PhD degree, she worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Sabancı University, Istanbul. Before joining RWI, she worked as a Policy Analyst at Education Reform Initiative, a think-tank that focuses on educational policies in Turkey. Currently, she is working as a Program Advisor at Raoul Wallenberg’s Turkey Programme in charge of overseeing and enhancing the program’s research agenda and academic networks. Dr. Madra taught numerous undergraduate-level courses at various universities in Turkey and in the United States, and authored academic and non-academic works on secularism, education, and refugees.
Betül Yılmaz has been working at RWI since August 2018. She holds a degree in Turkish Literature and Languages from Hacettepe University and is currently studying International Trade and Logistics Management.
Prior to her current position, Betül worked as a teacher in Ankara and as an Events Management Director in Istanbul.