About Ipek Cem

Ipek Cem Taha is a Turkish businesswoman, journalist and an active member of several community-based organizations.

Media Experience

Ipek is currently producing and hosting 'Global Leaders,' a television program, in association with NTV networks, Turkey's leading news channel. The show consists of one-on-one interviews with political, business and other opinion leaders who shape our world today. 'Global Leaders' aspires to be the voice of Turkey and surrounding regions by delivering honest, firsthand global perspectives from world leaders.

Guests on Ipek's program have included political leaders such as Kofi Annan, Javier Solana, Madeleine Albright, Shimon Peres, George Papandreou, Amre Moussa, Hamid Karzai, Ursula Plassnik, Dora Bakoyannis, Brent Scowcroft, Mikhail Saakashvili and business leaders like Richard Branson (Virgin), Mark Mobius (Templeton), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Rahmi Koc (Koc Holding), the late Ahmet Ertegun (Atlantic Records), John Chambers (Cisco), Bill Ford (Ford) and Jeffery Immelt (GE) as well as leaders in their fields such as Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University, Gerd Leipold, the Executive Director of Greenpeace and legendary soccer star Pele.

Before launching 'Global Leaders' in 2005, Ipek had been a columnist commenting on international trends, politics and economics for major Turkish daily newspapers including Milliyet, Sabah and Yeni Yuzyil for eight consecutive years.


Business Experience

Since 2007, Ipek is co-founder and director with Melak Investments, where she specializes in providing strategic advice to funds and companies looking to invest in Turkey.
Previously, she was a co-founder and managing partner of Netwise / IKC Communications between 1996-2007, a consultancy and software company focusing on communications and Internet services. Netwise has been a pioneer in the Internet communications business in Turkey, with clients including multinationals, financial institutions and conglomerates. The company also owns and operates several portals and online ventures including www.kilim.com.

Prior to establishing Netwise in 1996, Ipek was an Associate for Bankers Trust Company in New York, in the International Capital Markets Group where she specialized in providing debt financing for leading Latin American private and public sector entities from 1993-95.


Community-Based Organizations

Ipek is a founding member and active participant in several non-profit organizations in Turkey. Her activities, which began in 1999, are related to business, women in the workplace, competitiveness, education and community outreach.

She is a founding member and a Vice Chairman of the Board of URAK (National Competitiveness Research Institute), which aims to foster competitive sectoral strategies for Turkish businesses.

She served as a Board member of GYIAD, Turkish Young Executives and Businessmen’s Association, between 1999-2002 and as the Deputy Chairman of the Board between 2001-2002.  In 2004 she was elected to the Honorary Board of GYIAD.

She is a founding member of KAGIDER (Women Entrepreneurs Association), the leading women’s business organization in Turkey, and served as a Board Member in 2004-2005. 

She is a Board Member of EDAM, an Istanbul based think tank focusing on political and economic issues.

She is also a founding member of YAY Foundation, which works to provide sustainable and affordable housing for earthquake prone areas in Turkey.

Ipek recently joined the Global Relations Forum (GIF), a nearly formed Turkish association focusing on Turkey’s foreign relations.



Ipek holds two graduate degrees from Columbia University in New York City: An M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration) from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, where she specialized in International Business and Finance; and an M.I.A. (Master of International Affairs) from the Columbia University Graduate School of International and Public Affairs. She completed her undergraduate B.A. degree with Honors in Political Science from Amherst College in Massachusetts. She is a graduate of the highly competitive Robert College in Istanbul, where she completed her high school education.


International Fellowships, Honors and Activities

Elected an Eisenhower Fellow in 2003, Ipek represented Turkey as a young leader in the Multi-National Program in 2003. Eisenhower Fellowships provide an opportunity for individuals from various countries and professional fields to exchange ideas and experiences, to build relationships with each other, and to foster mutual understanding during a two-month fellowship in the United States. Since 2007 Ipek has been elected the Executive Committee Chair for the Turkish Eisenhower Fellows.

Since 2007, Ipek is a member of the International Advisory Council of Columbia University.

Ipek is a member of Strategic Council of the Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration, an Institution founded by the World Bank, European Investment Bank and the founding member states France, Egypt, Jordan, Lebonan, Morocco and Tunisia.

Ipek is a contrubitor to two books on Turkey scheduled to the published in 2010 by Trans Globe/Thames and Hudson. “Unleashed: Contemporary Art From Turkey” and “Istanbul Cool” aim to be new reference points in English for their subject-matter.



Ipek lives in Istanbul with her husband Shwan Taha and three children.