KOÇ-KAM, full name KOÇ UNIVERSITY GENDER STUDIES CENTER, is a multidisciplinary research and implementation center operating from
Koç University (KU). It was founded in 2010 through the efforts of Semahat Arsel, chair of the
Vehbi Koç Foundation Board of Directors. Covering a wide range of disciplines including sociology, social psychology, law, philosophy, political science, history and visual arts, the center aims to help teaching staff and researchers carry out research, lead national and international research projects, and engage in scientific and educational activities on the issues of gender and women both inside and outside the university.
The center’s principal areas of research include the family, gender, personal development and human development; women’s human rights; gender, law and politics; feminism, feminist theory and philosophy; gender in the visual arts; women’s health, body politics and care; women’s movements, participation and democracy. KOÇ-KAM, which serves as a center for gender studies, supports high quality research projects in the field by offering the Research Awards program and the Gender Certificate program—aimed at the students of KU. In addition, the Abadan Awards were created by KOÇ-KAM in 2015 with the aim of encouraging students and/or postdoctoral researchers studying at home and abroad. The program includes two awards offered in alternate years: the Professor Yavuz Abadan Constitutional Law Award is granted “for studies relating to constitutional law, with an emphasis on political theory, legislative, executive and judicial studies and human rights”; and the Professor Nermin Abadan Unat Social Sciences Award granted for “research relating to the social sciences with a focus on women’s studies”.
Working in partnership with UNESCO, the center has designed and implemented a gender equality education program aimed at those working in the private sector. KOÇ-KAM organizes numerous panels, symposiums, seminars, workshops and other events every year, and in 2012 it became an institutional member of The European Association for Gender, Research, Education and Documentation (ATGENDER). In 2015, KOÇ-KAM inaugurated the Semahat Arsel Honorary Distinguished Fellow Award for “women of high international standing and those working in gender and women's studies”. The first prize was awarded to the first female director general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.
In May 2016, the UNESCO Chair in Gender Equality and Sustainable Development was established at KU in honor of the KOÇ-KAM director, Professor Çiğdem Kağıtçıbaşı. The Human Development Research Award was also created to be granted by the chair. Following Professor Kağıtçıbaşı’s death, the role of director was assumed by Professor Bertil Emrah Oder, Dean of KU School of Law.