Life & Me

Serhat Akpınar, Girne American University Founding Rector and Chancellor of the Board of Administrators, was born on 1 February, 1964 in the Arabahmet neighbourhood in Nicosia. He completed his primary and secondary education in Nicosia where he was born. Throughout his career, he has been recognized by numerous national and international organizations for his contributions and achievements.

Mr.  Akpınar completed both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree on Management in England and specialised in International Marketing. During his university education, he received advanced training in professional education centres in England on management, management engineering, management expertise, marketing, finance and communication. Akpınar, who established the first private university in TRNC when he was 22, is an individual who pursues lifelong learning during his professional life.

He has lead various research projects and taken part in numerous international workshops organised by International Quality Assurance Agencies and national and international accreditation institutions in order to help the higher education system move in the same direction as prominent higher education institutions in the globalized world; he currently continues his works within the scope of various international institutions.

Married to Tomur Akpinar and has two daughter Sevim Akpinar ve Toya Akpinar.


he founded Girne American University, which became the pioneer of private higher education institutions in Northern Cyprus. GAU is actively present in three different continents with its campuses: Canterbury, UK, Hong Kong, USA, Sri Lanka, Moldova and Turkey.


he initiated cooperation with Southeastern University to work on double diploma programmes and established Southeastern University, Cyprus Campus; it was the first generic campus of an American university abroad. He continued acting as the Regional Director for the Southeastern University in Cyprus and Turkey until 1998.


Between 1995 and 1996, he founded The Future American College and The American College located in Kyrenia and Nicosia. He has embraced the internationalization phenomenon for higher education which he also implemented in developing the primary and secondary education systems.


he established the first generic campus of Girne American University in Kazakhstan. he started the Washington City University online programmes in TRNC.
Between 1996 and 1997, he formed the first international pre-school educational institution in Kazakhstan.


Between 1996 and 1997, he formed the first international pre-school educational institution in Kazakhstan.
In 1997, he formed GAL Net – FUTURE NET in Nicosia, the first companies providing internet access service in Northern Cyprus.
In 1997, he was appointed as the representative of TRNC and the Republic of Turkey by the European Federation of Business Education.


In 1998, he initiated the 2+2 and 3+1 Study Abroad agreement with National University of San Diego and managed the associated programs in Cyprus and Turkey until 2002.


Between 1996 and 1999, he became the Regional Director for Northern Cyprus, Turkey, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan.


In 1999, he received training on leadership and Management of Higher Education Institutions in a program organised with the cooperation of Harvard University Extension School and Galilee College. During the program, he attended trainings in Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Weizmann Institute.


In 2000, in cooperation with National American University and Fantastic Cooperation, he started higher education programs that use satellite technology in England.


During the 2001-2002 academic year, he initiated the first higher education institution in Kyrgyzstan by founding Girne American University English Preparatory School which he subsequently handed over.


In 2002-2003, he founded Girne American University postgraduate education centre in Banghalore, India.


In 2002-2003, he started Girne American University Psychology Undergraduate Program in Sri Lanka which he subsequently handed over.


In 2006, he contributed to the establishment of the Cyprus Observer newspaper under the Media Movement; today the newspaper continues to provide scholarships to many students.


In 2007, he established the Cyprus Child Foundation.


In 2007, he established the World Peace Organization in England. And in 2008, he established the Universal Education Consortium.


In 2008, he published the first dialectical dictionary and research book in Kyrgyzstan.


In 2008, as the National American University Program Manager, he developed the double diploma program, and respectively:


In 2009, he established the Canterbury/England Campus of Girne American University.


In 2009, he took part in Kazakhstan Presidential Higher Education Committee. He was one of the 11 Founding Committee members who founded the Nursultan Nazarbayev University. Today, it has taken its place as Kazakhstan’s most important gateway to higher education in the world.


The GAU Singapore Campus, which was transferred to the GAU Hong Kong Campus, was established in 2010.


He formed the International Universities Council, which was established in 2010. He took part in The International Universities Council workshop, hosted by the GAU, to which the then YÖK President Prof. Dr. Yusuf Ziya Özcan had attended as honorary president and approved Akpınar as the founder and co-chairman.


In 2011, he established the Dulles University in the State of Virginia, USA.


In 2012, he opened Turkey Istanbul premises of Girne American University.


With the principle of developing the Dipkarpaz region and its people and protecting and enriching its nature, towards the goal of opening the second TRNC campus of the GAU, he laid the foundations of GAU Karpaz Life Campus in 2012 with an architectural plan that includes an ecovillage.


He started the Karpaz Honey Forest Project. Under the project, the people of Karpaz region are offered beekeeping lessons and encouraged to develop beekeeping in the region.
Akpınar, who has a great sensitivity about protecting cultural heritages and the entities of Turkish Cypriots, facilitated the reopening of the Grand Turkish Hamam, which was built on the ruins of a Latin Church during the Lusignan Era, for the use of the Cypriot community in 2012.


In 2013, he started cooperation between Girne American University Space Research Centre and Kazakhstan National Space Agency to form a Cyprus Astronomy Centre. The works to complete the establishment of the centre are still in progress.


Akpınar, who was appointed as the TRNC Roaming Ambassador by the decree of the Council of Ministers in 2013, visits countless countries every year in order to establish effective relationships with other countries both on the basis of education and for the promotion of TRNC internationally.


In 2014, Akpınar was appointed to the DMW, Diplomats International Board of Directors and has played an active part in the relations between Turkey and the EU.


In 2014, by founding the International Aviation Academy in Turkey and the Cyprus Aviation Academy in Cyprus, he opened the Vecihi Hürkuş Building during the opening ceremony for the start of the academic year.


In 2014, he established American University of Cyprus.


In 2014, Mr. Akpınar represented the higher education sector in the TRNC during the sub-programme of the EU, which, within the scope of Prio, focused on confidence building measurements before and after a potential resolution of the Cyprus problem.


The opening of the Arabahmet Culture and Art House, a valuable centre of cultural heritage for the Turkish Cypriot community, took place in June 2014


The American University of Moldova, whose establishment was initiated by Mr. Akpınar in 2014, started accepting students in September 2017.


Yılı Ağustos ayında Sri Lanka kampüsünü kurma için gerekli protokolleri tamamladı.


In August 2014, he completed the necessary protocols for the establishment of the Sri Lanka generic campus.


In 2015, he became an official member of the International Association of University Presidents.


He was appointed by the majority of votes as the chairman of Board of Directors of the Cyprus Universities Association in March 2015.


In 2016, he founded the Ottoman Library under the American University of Cyprus.


In 2017, he became Northern Cyprus Founding Director for the DMW Diplomats International and was appointed as the DMW Diplomats International Vice President.


In 2019, he became Northern Cyprus Director for the American Turkish Business Development Council (ATBDC)

GAU is a university which provides high standards of education for the students of over 70 different countries and also it is the first university in TRNC that had been granted the accreditation of the academic programs from the world wide recognized accreditation institutions.

The most visible specifications which form the International Identity of GAU are its accreditations and international memberships. GAU is recognized by the Higher Education Council of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Higher Education Council of Turkey. The Business Faculty of the university is accredited by the International Business Education Assembly, USA (IACBE) and European Council Business (ECBE).

GAU is also recognized by the NARIC (National Accreditation and Information Center of Great Britain) which is important for the students who undertake their higher education and career ship in the UK. Tourism and Hospitality programs are accredited by TedQual. TedQual which is operating under World Tourism Organization (WTO). Engineering programs are also accredited by one of the best science and engineering auditing and accreditation institution of European , ASIIN. GAU also collaborates with Observatory Magna Charta Universitatum and UN Global Compact.

The University is member of the International Association of Universities (IAU), Federation for the Universities of Islam World (FUIW), European Federation for Management Development (EFMD), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), Leader Hospitality Schools in Europe (Eurhodip), European Council of International Schools (ECIS), Council of International Schools (CIS), European Council for Business Education (ECBE), European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE), International Vocational Education and Training Association (IVETA) of UNESCO.



I’ve known Serhat Akpınar for years and followed his initiatives with appreciation. Serhat Akpınar, who introduced the university sector to our country and became the pioneer of this process and who has been continuing to be in this sector with great success, has also made invaluable contributions to make our country known and to make it accepted as a fact through his initiatives in the international arena. I wish him the permanence and continuation of this success.

Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu,
A politician and former Minister of Foreign Affairs in TRNC

It is necessary to know Serhat Akpınar to understand that the biggest success is to win hearts. My dear friend has been able to accomplish these achievements with real sincerity. In spite of the summits he reached, he has never lost his innocent childlike heart which was his first treasure in life; he has always made it his priority. This is his life-long investment. Serhat Akpınar is someone who would be moved to tears at the sight of the migration of swallows, who would hug a child so whole-heartedly that the child would feel it in his heart and who would change all his plans and return from the far end of the world just because his cat is ill. All these basically constitute the foundation on which his success and energetic and creative vision are built. Beside his success, there are lots of other things to be learned from Serhat Akpınar such as goodness, common sense, loyalty and virtues. I hope to watch our documentary “Letters to Future” together and in good health in May 2038. With the same feelings…

Author, Scriptwriter and Director

Saygıdeğer Hocamız Serhat Akpınar bir fenomendir ve günümüzün kahramanıdır. Yiğittir. Masalsı kahramanlar gibi devletin yükünü sırtında taşıyan pehlivandır. Yorulmaz bir sporcu gibidir. Zaman zaman yol ortasında yalnız kalan yolcudur. Masalsı Kıdır Ata gibidir. Yolunu şaşırmaz ve yerinde durmaz. Bu deyişler Değerli dostumuz Serhat Akpınar´ın olgusunu çizen çağdaş destansı tipin kimliğidir. Benzeri olgunun ırkı, ana dili ve mekanı olamaz. Benzeri olay tüm insanlığa ortaktır. Bu ortaklığı meydana getirenler Değerli dostumuz Serhat Akpınar´ın kişiliğini, bilgisini ve yiğitliğini paylaşanlardır. Onlara aramızda nadir rastlanır, zaman zaman tek başlarınadır. Onun için de kıymetlidirler. Kıdemli Efendilerdir. Günümüz bilgi, yönetim ve teknoloji mücadelesinin pehlivanlarıdır. Bu bizim sevgili dostumuz Serhat Akpınardır!

Prof. Dr. Yerden KAZHYBEK
Qazaq Language Foundation,Kazakistan

Your sincerity inspires us, your hard-work motivates us and you set a great example for all of us. You are an excellent entrepreneur and an encouraging leader. Wishing you all the very best on this eminent launch. God speed my friend!

Dr. Siraz Meerasahib,
Metropolitan College,Sri Lanka

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