Celebrating International Cultures at Koç

Celebrating International Cultures at Koç

An Exemplary Scholar from Pakistan at Koç 

KU Ph.D Graduate Dr. Muhammad Anwaar Nazeer (Biomedical Sciences & Engineering) Gives ICO an Interview About His Research and Community Involvement

We are introducing a very well accomplished scholar at KU who earned his Ph.D Degree here and now currently pursues a Post-Doc position with senior faculty and constitutes a great example for his fellow Pakistani and other graduate peers. Meet Dr. Muhammad Anwar Nazeer through his own words: 


I am Dr. Muhammad Anwaar Nazeer. I came to KOC University in Fall 2013 under Higher Education Commission (Pakistan) scholarship. I did my PhD in Biomedical Sciences & Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Iskender Yilgor. My topic of research in PhD was "Design, Fabrication and Characterization of Biodegradable Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Applications". In simple words, tissue engineering involves development of artificial tissues and organs by using biomaterials. Biomaterials are materials of natural or synthetic origin that are used to direct, appendage or provide substitute to the functions of native tissues/organs and they are not toxic to biological systems. Results obtained from research which focused on a wide range of applications, it has been demonstrated that tissue engineering has tremendous potential for bone, skin, cartilage, liver, kidney, muscle and nerve regenerative medicine applications. During my PhD research, I worked on synthesis of bio-compatible materials and utilized these materials to fabricate scaffolds for skin and bone repair. Now, I am working as a post-doc researcher with Prof. Seda Kizilel and working on a very core issue of tissue engineering. The engineered scaffolds are lacking blood vessels, so we need to generate organized blood vessels network in these artificial tissues, specially in thick scaffolds for true clinical translation of engineered tissues and strategies.

I am also leading Pakistani community in Koc University as President, Pakistan Students Association (PSA). We organize different events to introduce our culture to Turkish community and with other international students. Key events include Basant (Kite Flying), Cultural Show, Pakistani Music, Food Festival, and inter-university sports competition. Extra-curricular activities are necessary to take a break from hectic routine of classes and research. KOC University's Office of International Affairs, Research Center for Asian Studies usually support our various activities. As cricket is very popular game in Asia so we have very few cricket teams in Istanbul. Other than KOC, Sabanci University, Özyeğin University and two locally registered clubs play cricket. We usually have bilateral cricket games with Sabanci University. Turkish Government is also keen to introduce Cricket game in Turkey. Recently, they organized a cricket tournament on behalf of International Cricket Council. KOC team also participated and we won all the league matches and reached to Final match. Unfortunately, KOC team was defeated by Özyeğin team after very tough and interesting competition. Originally, match was drawn and and then decided on super over (Just like if in a soccer game, match is drawn in available game time and then decided on penalties). So, at the end of the day, we stood second and got trophy and silver medals. But we really enjoyed while playing and appreciate Turkish Government for arranging such a wonderful event. 


Uludağ Mountain Trip with International Students, Faculty and Researchers

Earlier this year, ICO took international students and researchers to one of the best mountain resorts in the world. The trip saw the largest participation by international undergraduate/graduate students and post-doc researchers and their families thanks to timing and budgeting support of ICO and the trip being to an unusual and very popular destination. Students and researchers were so excited to visit this world famous ski resort. Trip featured English speaking tour guides, traditional Turkish village breakfast on the way and Bursa Iskender Kebap on the way back. ICO staff was on board with group. Tour made a breakfast stop at a historic small village called “Cumalıkızık”. Participants had the chance to see old stone houses, shop at souvenir stores and walk in the nature. 



Kite Festival at KU

Pakistani Students and ICO held this year’s kite festival on April 30th with a large turn out of faculty, staff, students and children of our community. 

Annual Kite Festival introduced to KU by its Pakistani students to recognize traditional “Basant” (celebrating arrival of Spring by flying Kites) was held on April 30th on a beautiful day at Henry Ford Student Commons. Like previous years, festival attracted people from all walks of campus community including faculty, staff, students, children of students and faculty. Without question children were the most excited after our Pakistani students and scholars who were quite anticipating this day after months of hard work and intense research.


One interesting aspect of the festival or rather how it is held, there is a significant amount of work done in the background to get things ready for the festival day. Namely, music, sound, space reservation, formal permissions procedures, purchasing the kites from India or Pakistan and getting them released through customs following tons of emails and phone calls and Pakistani students traveling to customs to pick them up and so forth. Come the day of festival everyone shows up and cherishes the joy together and let themselves into the open air. As always Pakistani students set up their kite station where they tie each kite for kids and adults. We’d like to thank our Pakistani students once again for their enthusiasm and sharing. 


Capturing the Spirit of Ramadan: Iftar Dinner With Everyone

Iftar dinners have become an indispensable part of our international community activities as International Community Office. Almost everyone honors the invitation to this grand day of coming together, eating with strangers or friends from any country, any religion, anywhere. 

The International Community Office organized its annual Iftar Dinner in the holy month of Ramadan for the KU international students and their families on May 23rd. The aim of the dinner was to provide an opportunity of gathering together and sharing diverse cultural backgrounds, meet, and experience the unique Ramadan atmosphere. 


The organization took place at the KU Radio Terrace with 70 participants in lovely weather. International students and their families had the chance to mingle and get to know each other. As the Ramadan teaches, they all sat down together, regardless they fast or not, and waited for the Iftar time with patience. Once it was the time, the ones who fast broke their fasts and all participants enjoyed the Turkish cuisine. The conversations and laughs during and after dinner not only represented gratification, but also peace and harmony.

As the sharing experience of Ramadan gathered us all together, the dinner helped to promote the coherence amongst the international students. The organization resulted in smiles at the end and positive feedback.