Biggest individual supporter of schools-world record
set by Husnu M. Ozyegin
8] ISTANBUL, Turkey--Since 2000, Husnu
M. Ozyegin has spent more than $50 million of his
own money, building 36 primary schools and girls’ dormitories
in the poorest parts of Turkey.
Husnu M. Ozyegin has spent $50 million building 36 primary
schools and girls’ dormitories in the poorest parts of Turkey.
Next to the Turkish government, Mr. Ozyegin is
the biggest individual supporter of schools in the country
— and an official from the education ministry has told him
that his market share is increasing.
He typically works 11-hour days, not solely from
his suite of offices but also from his car, plane or boat,
checking in on his far-flung operations in Turkey as well
as Russia, Romania and China.
The founder of a mid-tier corporate bank called
he cashed in on a rush of interest by foreign financial institutions
in Turkish banks last year and sold a controlling stake in
his bank to the National Bank of Greece, receiving $US2.7
billion in cash.
Flush with money and ambition, he is doing
all that he can to lift Turkish educational standards at the
primary and university level.
When Ozyegin visits a school, he is frequently
met by the district's mayor, a representative from the education
ministry and various other local notables. His visits, like
his business meetings, are swift and to the point - a sweep
through the school's halls and a barrage of questions directed
at school officials.
For Ozyegin, becoming one of the richest men in
the world has brought its own pressures. He gets many letters
each day. Some ask him to erase the debt they have on their
Others are more poignant - recently he received
a letter from an admirer in jail asking for a pair of shoes
and a suit, a request he plans to honour.
Like some who have made so much, Ozyegin likes
to keep score. Warren Buffet may be the richest man in the
world, but Ozyegin says his wealth has risen faster.
Becoming a billionaire is "a great feeling, but
your responsibilities increase,” said Turkey's Husnu Ozyegin
Husnu M. Ozyegin: "I'm giving away 2 per
cent of my net income every month," he says. "I don't think
Bill Gates is doing that."
"I'm first generation - that gives me satisfaction,"
he said. "Getting to the top is not so easy; staying there
is more difficult."