Serhat Akpinar

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Dr. Serhat Akpınar is the Founding Rector and Chair of the Board of Directors at the Girne American University. He is among the top experts in international higher education, having dedicated nearly 40 years in developing the Girne American University in Northern Cyprus, helping to launch the American University of Moldova, American University of Cyprus and Nursultan Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan as well as establishing a number of international campuses for student exchanges career in UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, the US and Sri Lanka. Throughout his career, he has been awarded by numerous national and international institutions for his contributions and achievements in furthering higher education and intercultural relations.
Dr. Akpinar completed both his undergraduate and graduate degrees on Management in England and specialized in International Marketing. In addition he is also a graduate of Galiee College / Harvard University Extension School, specializing on leadership and Management of Higher Education. During his education he acquired training in Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Weizmann Institute.
In 1985, at the age of only 22, he founded the Girne American University, which became the pioneer of private higher education institutions in Northern Cyprus. Soon after, he initiated a dual degree cooperation with the Southeastern University in Washington DC, and established the Southeastern University Cyprus Campus. In 1996 he started the City University Washington online programmes in Nothern Cyprus, Central Asia and in Asia Pacific. He also established the first generic campus of Girne American University in Kazakhstan.
In 1999 together with the National American University South Dakota, he launched the first satellite based online education, together with British Telecom and Fantastic Cooperation. He was appointed as the regional Director for Middle East and Central Asia for National University San Diego.
In 2003 Dr. Akpinar received his professorship from Kazakh Academy of Sports and Tourism, from Faculty of Taekwondo and Oriental Combat. He is also the Board member of the National Olympic committee.
In 2009 he was one of the 11 Founding 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. In addition he is also a member of NAHT, (National Head Teacher Association UK). He has been awarded as an International educator by ECIS (European Council of International Education).
Dr.Akpınar, who was appointed as the TRNC Roving 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 Dr Serhat Akpinar founded the American University of Cyprus (AUC) in the capital of North Cyprus - Nicosia. The university is a part of the Girne American University (GAU).
As an active member of the civil society, Dr. Akpinar was appointed to the DMW Diplomats International Board and subsequently became the Vice President worldwide and President for DMW Cyprus. He is serving as the President of the Cyprus Child Foundation, working on children’s rights and creating opportunities for children through scholarships and contributing to their development education initiatives in Cyprus. In 2019 he became the Director of the American Turkish Business Development Council Northern Cyprus Chapter. He also served as a regional director of ECBE (European Council of Higher Education).
As a vocal proponent of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, he made Girne American University a member of the UN Global Compact, and regularly attends international and national events in order to increase the awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr. Serhat Akpınar, who is married and has two daughters, has hobbies such as playing the flute and the guitar, underwater research and scuba diving. In addition, he has a passion for motorcycles and wildlife photography.