Education is the most important investment a community can make for the future

Dan Hananel, UAA Class of 97

Donation Programs: Graduate Class Scholarship and Endowment Fund

Please tell us about yourself. When did you graduate and what did you do afterwards?
I am from the class of 1997, so we are the product of the first co-ed class at UAA. After graduation, I attended Brandeis University in the US and studied Economics and History. I graduated from university during the 2001 crisis and started working in the field of budgeting and strategic planning in the finance department at MasterCard International's global head office. I left MasterCard in late 2004, applied for MBA and took an 8-month sabbatical from professional life. In that period, I became a certified ski instructor after a 3-month training, traveled and also spent some time in Istanbul after 8 years away from home. Then I started my MBA studies at INSEAD (France & Singapore) and graduated in 2006. Afterwards, I decided to return to Turkey to try my hand at the family business, where I still continue to work. I am married with two daughters.

What does it mean to be an UAA alumnus? What do you remember from your high school years? How did UAA make a difference in your life?
I was always glad about being a UAA alumni. Looking back, I remember the seven years in UAA as great times. I think as a class we had a special bond and it remained, perhaps because we were the first co-ed class. Some of my best friendships were formed in those years. I was aware that our education level was much higher than Turkish average but now I know for sure.

How did you as a class decide to donate for education and to your school? What affected your decision?
Frankly, donating for education is not a new concept for me. I have always donated within my means to a student or school. From 2006 to 2016, I continued to make regular donations to my university and especially my MBA. I volunteered in the tenth “Reunion - Class Gift” team at INSEAD in 2016. Meanwhile, I felt that UAA was lagging behind in this aspect and when I saw the “Bir İz de Sen Bırak” (Leave a Trace) campaign, launched by UAA Alumni Association and SEV in November – December 2016, I thought ‘UAA is getting serious about this issue’. With our 20th Reunion coming up in 2017, I got in touch with the alumni association and SEV to donate to our beloved alma mater as a class. In the matching fund, if half of the annual tuition fee is raised in donations, SEV matches the same amount. So, I formed a team from my classmates and together we decided to carry out two separate campaigns:

(1) Raising sufficient funds over the course of five years as a class to cover the 5-year tuition of a student with limited financial means and providing contribution to ensure that he/she graduates from UAA and becomes a good citizen of the world;

(2) Supporting the endowment that UAA is trying to establish for the first time to cover the tuition of many students with limited financial means by raising funds toward “Endowment” from our class.

Your support changes many young people’s lives and beyond that the future of a community. How does that make you feel?

In the first campaign, we launched the “UAA’97 Scholarship,” which is now supporting a successful student from Anatolia with limited financial means who planned to stay at a student residence in Istanbul for the entire UAA education.

In the second campaign, even though we as the Class of ’97 were not able to raise the full amount to always support a student, we still accumulated $45,580, which was a great contribution of our class to the newly established Endowment of UAA. I am sure that the Endowment Funds supported by other individuals, companies and classes will help to raise many students. Supporting the start of this Fund makes the Class of’97 and me extremely happy.

In total, 40 percent of the Class of'97 participated in these campaigns. According to international statistics, this is a really great ratio. We as a class can be proud of this ratio and the amount we have raised.

What is your message to potential donors?
I see access to good education as the first step toward progression of humanity. I consider myself fortunate because I was able to get a good education all my life. I think giving is very important so that people with limited means can also have this opportunity. We need well-educated, well-equipped and creative people who can think freely and generate ideas in order for the world to advance. Education is the most important investment a community can make for the future. So I donate for education and I think it is important for others to donate too. Whatever the amount, each donation matters. As the proverb says, after all it is the little drops of water that make the mighty ocean.

Interview Date: December 2017

Röportaj Tarihi: Aralık 2017