26 March 2014, Çırağan Palace Kempinski
Sabancı University International Center for Energy and Climate (IICEC) Honorary Chairman Dr. Fatih Birol was elected as the Executive Director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) with the unanimous vote of the 29 member nations of the world’s leading energy institution, becoming the first Executive Director supported by all members in the history of the agency.
A reception was hosted by Güler Sabancı, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sabancı University, on March 26, 2015 to honor the election of Dr. Fatih Birol as the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The speech of Sabancı University Founding Board of Trustees Chair Güler Sabancı at the reception held in honor of the election of Istanbul International Center for Energy and Climate Honorary Chairman Dr. Fatih Birol as IEA's Executive Director:
I would like to welcome you all on behalf of Sabancı University. We are here today to celebrate the important assignment of Dr. Fatih Birol.
Dr. Fatih Birol was elected as the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency by the unanimous vote of all 29 member nations. This is a first for the agency. Dr. Birol was the first Executive Director in the history of the Agency to receive the affirmative vote of all members, and the first person to be elected to this position within the agency. Dr. Birol has been serving at various positions of the International Energy Agency in Paris since 1995, and had been the Chief Economist for the past 9 years.
I met Fatih Bey in 2005. It was a period of enthusiastic preparation for EU accession led by the governments of the time, and the 11th President of the Republic in particular. Back then, the share of the Turkish private sector in energy production was 17%. Today, it is 50%. In 2005, the only private distribution of electricity was in the Kayseri area. Today, all distribution takes place by private companies. Established capacity increased by 90% in the last decade, all built by the private sector. The total foreign and domestic investment (with no purchase or Treasury guarantees) is above USD 50 billion. This indicates the confidence in the government's energy policies. All of these led to a remarkable energy business emerging in Turkey.
As private actors, we want the energy industry to continue strong growth and evolve towards a more liberal and competitive structure more than anything. Steps taken recently make the dynamic Turkish energy market the crossroads of the busiest crude oil and natural gas corridors in the world. Turkey's role in the energy balance of the world grows. We energy investors follow these important developments very closely. One such important development was partnering with Dr. Fatih Birol to establish a center in Sabancı University that would be supported by the major players in the energy industry. Dr. Birol agreed to be the Honorary Chairman of the Center, and under his direction we were able to establish the Istanbul International Center for Energy and Climate (IICEC) at Sabancı University with the support of the industry.
Established in 2010, to become, in Fatih Bey's words, the “Polar Star” for the energy industry, IICEC is a future-oriented independent research and policy center designed to develop solutions to a sustainable energy future for the region and the world. Our aim is to bring universities, industry and the public sector together on a platform and prepare solution recommendations. IICEC will complete its first report in the coming months under the vision and direction of Dr. Birol. Its sixth conference is to be held in May.
Furthermore, an interdisciplinary graduate program in "Energy Technologies and Management" started in Sabancı University with IICEC's support. There is remarkable interest in this groundbreaking master's program in Turkey. Our President Nihat Berker and our Dean are enhancing the program with guest lecturers from MIT and other universities with which we cooperate.
We need effective, multidimensional and sustainable energy policies that span all aspects of energy from generation to consumption on a global level, promote energy security, and improve energy efficiency for a better energy future. International Energy Agency's motto "to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy" will be critical in improving our outlook in energy. Fatih Bey’s extensive experience ranging from oil production in OPEC to consumption within the IEA, and his effective efforts everywhere from Davos to the villages of Ethiopia make him the ideal candidate to make immense contributions to the world's most prestigious and influential energy organization.
This year, the Paris meetings on climate change, and the G-20 and B-20 Summits in November will be held in Antalya. Turkey will host the leaders of the world. At a time when energy security, geopolitical developments and the critical issue of climate change are the most urgent and pressing issues for the entire world, Dr. Fatih Birol becoming the first Executive Director elected by unanimous vote is a great opportunity for Turkey and the world. I wish him great success.
I would like to thank Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yıldız for honoring us once more by his presence.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the esteemed 11th President of the Republic of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, for his continued support since the establishment of IICEC, his opening of our first conference, and his presence here tonight.
Honorary Reception at Çırağan Palace – Foyer Area
Duration: 04:59 mins
Honorary Reception at Çırağan Palace – Opening Remarks by Ms. Güler Sabancı - Duration: 09:19 mins
Honorary Reception at Çırağan Palace – Dr. Fatih Birol
Duration: 15:35 mins
Honorary Reception at Çırağan Palace – HE Taner Yıldız
Duration: 04:33 mins
Honorary Reception at Çırağan Palace – HE Abdullah Gül
Duration: 14:56 mins