IU Internationalisation Strategy

Istanbul University [IU] (est. in 1453), renowned as the oldest and the most developed university in Turkey, has been a key fundamental player in advancing Turkish Higher Education. It has been at the forefront of the scientific and social advances in Turkey for centuries. Following its well-known motto of being “The Bridge of Science from the Past to the Future”, IU has maintained its positive influence on the Turkish intellectual and academic circles through the implementation of various education programmes ranging from natural sciences to arts and political sciences to theology. IU has continually strived to enhance the international dimensions of its teaching, research, outreach, service and administration.

IU’s 2019-2023 strategic plan identifies the following two fields as the main focus of its pursuit for internationalisation: (a) increasing the number of international students and staff on campus and (b) engaging in international competition through research and scientific production. In its pursuit for the implementation of its strategic plan, IU maintains its strong interest in increasing the quality and quantity of mobility while strengthening its partnerships. International engagement is a priority in IU’s quest for improving the quality of teaching, learning, and academic research, which in turn would enhance the university's overall reputation and further improving its worldwide ranking.

National and international recognition, a high institutional profile and its pioneering role in Turkish intellectual and scientific circles enables IU to be a popular partner not only in the region but also around the world. IU benefits also from its institutional ratings and location between the East and the West which also indicates one of its implicit strengths and potential to expand the European Education Area. Thus, academic quality and mutual strategic goals are considered as the main criteria for building longstanding partnerships regardless of geographical space and distance.

All of IU’s academic and administrative units actively participate in the implementation of its modernisation and internationalisation strategies. The International Academic Relations Unit [IARU] oversees international engagements, and employs the necessary means for advancing the University’s related strategies. The primary activities of the IARU are to carry out exchange programs and other academic exchange activities and internationalization strategies on behalf of the University for international and national students, academic and administrative staff. Erasmus, Mevlana, Farabi, and Bilateral-Multilateral Relations Offices administer international and national academic exchange activities under the roof of the unit. These offices are responsible not only for the administrative aspects of students, academic staff and personnel exchange but also assisting the academic units in benefitting from the current partnerships and creating new exchange opportunities.

Acknowledging the international dimension as one of the most important quality criteria, IU is committed to further implement its official vision of becoming a leading university with its education at a global level and its research shaping the world. This vision will be operationalised by strengthening its international collaborations, broadening its education potential through joint/double degree programmes, increasing its research capacity, empowering its community through new mobility opportunities, and modernising its institutional and educational structure by accommodating itself to the new developments in the European Education Area. Thus, IU identifies the following topics among the priorities which would enhance its modernization, and lay the foundations for its internationalisation as well as its quality improvement.