Meet Zeynep Dereli from Turkey

Bringing education to the table
Zeynep Dereli

“Change in Turkey is imminent and the main catalysts of this change will be women”, says Zeynep Dereli, vice-president of the Democracy and Progress party (DEVA) and founder of Turkey’s first tech K-12 school, TINK, because “women are adaptable, we have this intrinsic ability.” In the digital age, this politician and educational leader adds, the quality of women to adapt has made them more competitive, able to change and re-skill.

The up-and-coming Turkish politician, educational leader, businessperson with two decades of experience in several industries, and mother of two has much to tell about the worlds of business, politics, and education – not only in Turkey, but internationally. 

Watch the documentary film 'One Day in the Life of Zeynep Dereli' below. 

Documentary Film

At this point you will find an external content that complements the content. You can display it with one click.

In her long career spanning over 15 years, she has worked with global leaders of politics, business, and media across Europe, the MENA and Gulf regions, Asia, and North America. Since she moved back to Turkey, she has served as a municipal councillor in Istanbul, a consultant for the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism, and as a regular on a weekly foreign policy program, “Leaders and Decisions,” shown on the Turkish nationwide TV channel SKY Turk and on CNBC-e.

Zeynep Dereli quote

Before that, she established herself as a professional in the “manly” field of investment banking and finance in the UK. Dereli is also a founding member of Endeavor Turkey, a global non-profit that transforms emerging countries by supporting what they call High-Impact Entrepreneurs. She holds a master’s degree in development economics from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She earned a BA in economics from Princeton University, with a certificate in Near Eastern studies.

Zeynep Dereli quote

“The first word that comes to my mind when you ask me how I feel about being back in my country is hopeful. Why? Because I feel that there is an increasing demand for female representation in politics in Turkey as well as for equity in all aspects of life,” she confides.


Follow more stories on female empowerment with #FemaleForwardInternational.