SEVGİ GÖNÜL

(1938-2003)

Sevgi Gönül (Koç) was born to the family of the esteemed Turkish businessman Vehbi Koç in Ankara in 1938. After graduating from the American School for Girls at Istanbul, she went into business. She was a Board Member of Koç Holding and Vehbi Koç Foundation as well as the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of Sadberk Hanım Museum of Vehbi Koç Foundation, the President of the Turkish Numismatic Society and Geyre Foundation besides a Council Member of Beşiktaş Municipality until she passed away in 2003.

No doubt she inherited her interest and love for history and antiquities from her mother Sadberk Koç, whose greatest desire was to found a museum to display her collection of numerous items of our cultural heritage in order to pass it to the future generations. The dream of Sadberk Koç came true seven years after she had passed away, on October 14th, 1980 when the Sadberk Hanım Museum, the first private museum of Turkey, was inaugurated at the historical Azaryan Mansion.

Sevgi Gönül, as the Chairperson of the Executive Committee, had the greatest role in transforming the Sadberk Hanım Museum to a world renowned cultural institution. Sadberk Koç's collection was enriched in time by Sevgi Gönül and the Museum earned the "Europa Nostra" Award with its modern displays.

Despite her efforts to facilitate the research into Byzantine period in Turkey and to encourage public opinion to own this part of the country's history, her attempts to organize local academic activities in this field failed as the circumstances were not favourable for organizing regular international Symposia for Byzantine Studies. The First International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium, for which the preparations have been undergoing for three years, is the first of a series of attempts to establish a tradition that will be the heritage of Sevgi Gönül

 

      GABAM