Science historian, statesman, academician, diplomat, General Secretary of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. He was born in Cairo on December 26th 1943. He is the son of Prof. Mehmet İhsan from Yozgat and Seniye Hacıoğlu from Rhodes.
İhsanoğlu, who became familiar with the Turkish culture at a young age in the family atmosphere, did studies at the Cairo National Library when he was a student (1962-1966) and took part in the writing and classification of and preparation of the catalogs of the old printed books in the Oriental Studies Department. After having completed the Faculty of Science in Egypt at Ain Shams University, he started his academic life in the Faculty of Science in Al-Azhar University. İhsanoğlu, who worked as a research assistant in Al-Azhar University, Faculty of Science, and Department of Chemistry in 1966-70, completed his master’s degree in the Department of Organic Chemistry in 1970. He gave Turkish Language and Literature courses at Ain Shams University in the same years. He served as a faculty member at Ankara University, Faculty of Science in 1971-1980 and completed his doctorate studies in 1974. He conducted postdoctoral studies as a researcher and visitor faculty members at the University of Exeter in England in 1975-1977. He served as an associate professor at Ankara University and Malatya İnönü University in 1978-1980. İhsanoğlu, closely interested in Western culture, was a member of Copyright and Translation Board of the Ministry of Culture in 1974-80.
Prof. İhsanoğlu has been specialized in a wide range of subjects including history, history of science, art and architecture, cultural development, international and inter-cultural relations as the intersection of his professional career and personal interests. He was appointed to the Islamic History, Art and Culture Research Center (IRCICA) General Directory founded in Istanbul based on the Islamic Conference Organization (OIC) that has 57 members by the agreement of the Turkish Government and OIC in 1980. As the founder General Director of this Center, he created and managed research and publishing programs that constituted the first of their field in the world and they still continue. He organized international conferences, published review and reference books, based on the original sources, contributed to the development of academic studies around the world on these issues in the frame of these programs he executed in science, art, written and architectural heritage preservation and restoration of this heritage in Islamic civilization, the cultural and scientific activities and works in various periods, primarily the Ottoman period, the relations between different regions of the Islamic world in history and today, and cultural relations with other civilizations, especially with the Western world.
In addition to these studies, Prof. İhsanoğlu became the founding president of the Istanbul University, Department of History of Science in 1984, Turkish History of Science Institution in 1989; he was the president of International Union of History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS, Paris) in between 2001-2004 and he received the Koyré Medal, which is the highest degree in this field and given by the International History of Science Academy in Paris. At the same time, he served as the Secretary of the International Commission for the Conservation of Islamic Cultural Heritage affiliated to OIC since 1983, a member of Harvard University (USA) Middle East Studies Center Advisory Board in 1992-1996, the director of the project and book titled as “Islamic Civilization in Malay World” in 1987-1997 and the editor of the publication of UNESCO titled as Different Aspects of Islamic Culture in 1988-2004. From 1995, he founded and directed the history of science and technology data bank with the title OMETAR (history of Ottoman civilization).
Prof. İhsanoğlu started to serve as the General Secretary of OIC in January 2005 as the first General Secretary elected for OIC where IRCICA was also affiliated as a result of the achievements he recorded during the 24 years he spent as the General Director of IRCICA. Three years after taking office, he was elected for this position again unanimously by the heads of the states in Summit Conference of Islamic Countries held in March 2008 with the co-operation projects for reform and development he carried out in the organization. The studies of İhsanoğlu have contributed significantly to OIC to gain reputation and efficiency in the global plan and thus, the better and more correctly recognition of the Islamic world that it represents. İhsanoğlu voiced the problems of the Islamic world in international platforms and worked for them to have a more prominent role. He carried out international projects from scientific research-development, improvement of the universities to civilization, meeting and reconciliation between religions and sects between the countries that are members of the organization by expending the scope of cooperation in the field of economy and trade of the member countries of the organization.
The first literary work of İhsanoğlu is his articles about Mehmet Akif and the translation of his poem el-Uksur’da (Al-sh'ir magazine, Cairo, April 1964). İhsanoğlu translated the famous poem of Nazım Hikmet, Ferhat ve Şirin into Arabic and this translation was published twice in 1969 and 1974 and staged in Cairo. The works he collected and translated in order to present the examples of the stories of Turkish literature to the Islamic world were published with the title Yeni Türk Edebiyatı’ndan Hikaye Antolojisi in 1970. Many books, articles, notifications of İhsanoğlu written on the subject of history of science, Turkish culture, the relation of the Islamic world with the Western world and the Turkish-Arabian relations have been published.
Prof. İhsanoğlu was given the order of merit by the Government of the Republic of Egypt in 1990, Independence Medal of the first degree in the name of the King of Jordan in 1996, State Distinguished Service Medal by the President of the Republic of Turkey in 2000, the Book of the Year Award by the President of Iran in 2000, “Ordre National du Mérite” medal by the President of Senegal in 2002, the Medal of Honor by the President of Azerbaijan in 2006 and Medal of Honor by the President of Russia and presented by the President of Tatarstan the same year, Tan Sri Medal and Title by the President of Malaysia in 2009, “Hilal of Pakistan” medal by the President of Pakistan in 2010 and the First Degree “June 27” Medal by the President of Djibouti the same year for his services to cultural relations, science and art. In 2012, the ‘Grand Commandeur Medal’ was given to him by the President of Gabon. In addition to these, İhsanoğlu was given the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Gambia in 1990 and “Ambassador at large” title by the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1997. İhsanoğlu was also given the "Building Bridges Award" of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists in England in 2007, the Golden Achievement Award by the American Biography Institute in 1994, the 20th Century Achievement Award by British International Biography Center in 1995, honor and merit certificate by the Organization of Islamic Conference in 1995, “South-South Cooperation for the Innovation” Award by The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2008.
Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu was the member of International Academy of the History of Science (Paris), International Al-Furkan Muslim Heritage Consulting and Trade Rules (London), Jordan Royal Academy of the Islamic Civilization Studies (Amman), Foundation for Middle East and Balkan Studies (Istanbul), North America, Middle East Studies Association (MESA, ABD), International Institute of Islamic Science and Technology (IIIST, USA), Academy of Arabic Languages (Jordan), Academy of Arabic Languages (Syria) in addition to his IUHPS membership, was the reporter member of the Academy of Arabic Languages (Egypt), the permanent member of the Egyptian Historical Society (Cairo), International Society for the History of Medicine (Paris), Atatürk High Institution of Culture, Language and History Ataturk Cultural Center.
Osmanlı Bilim Literatürü Tarihi (19 volumes): Osmanlı Astronomi Literatürü Tarihi (2 volumes, 1997), Osmanlı Matematik Literatürü Tarihi (2 volumes, 1999), Osmanlı Coğrafya Literatürü Tarihi (1999), Osmanlı Musiki Literatürü Tarihi (2 volumes, 2003), Osmanlı Askerlik Literatürü Tarihi (2 volumes, 2004), Osmanlı Tabii ve Tatbikî Bilimler Literatürü Tarihi (2 volumes, 2006), Osmanlı Tıbbi Bilimler Literatürü Tarihi (4 volumes, 2008), Osmanlı Astroloji Literatürü Tarihi ve Osmanlı Astronomi Literatürü Tarihi zeyli (1 volume, 2011), Osmanlı Bilim Literatürü Tarihi Zeylleri (Matematik, Coğrafya, Musiki, Askerlik, Tabii ve Tatbiki Bilimler, Tıbbi Bilimler) ve Osmanlı Mavzu’at al-Ulum Literatürü Tarihi (1 volume, 2011), Osmanlı Bilim Literatürü Tarihi Genel İndeksi (1 volume, 2012).
OTHER WORKS: Türk Kimya Eserleri Bibliyografyası (1985), Osmanlı İlmî ve Meslekî Cemiyetleri (1987), Başhoca İshak Efendi/Türkiye'de Modern Bilimin Öncüsü (1989), Osmanlılar ve Batı Teknolojisi: Yeni Araştırmalar Yeni Görüşler (1992), Transfer of Modern Science and Technology to the Muslim World (1992), İslam Kültür Mirasında Hat Sanatı (in Turkish, English, Arabic, Malay and Japanese, 1992), Çağını Yakalayan Osmanlı: Osmanlı Devletinde Modern Haberleşme ve Ulaştırma Teknikleri (With Mustafa Kaçar, 1994), Büyük Cihad'dan Frenk Fodulluğuna (1996), Osmanlı Devleti ve Medeniyeti Tarihi (Turkish, 1994-1998), (Arabic, 1999), (English, 2001-2002), (Bosnian, 2004-2008), (Russian, 2006) (Albanian, 2009), Suriye'de Modern Osmanlı Sağlık Müesseseleri, Hastahaneler ve Şam Tıp Fakültesi (1999), The West and Islam (Towards a Dialogue) (1999), The Different Aspects of Islamic Culture, Volume Five: Culture and Learning in Islam (as the editor in chief, Paris, UNESCO, 2003), Science, Technology and Learning in the Ottoman Empire: Western Influence, Local Institutions, and the Transfer of Knowledge (Oxon, Ashgate, 2003), Türkiye’nin Bilim ve Teknoloji Politikaları: Cumhuriyetin 80. Yılında Toplu Bakış (İstanbul, Türk Bilim Tarihi Kurumu, 2005), Mısır’da Türkler ve Kültürel Mirasları: Mehmed Ali Paşa’dan Günümüze Basılı Türk Kültürü Bibliyografyası ve Bir Değerlendirme (Istanbul, IRCICA, 2006), Darülfünun: Osmanlı’da kültürel modernleşmenin odağı (Istanbul, IRCICA, 2008), Süllemü’l-vusul ila tabakati’l-fuhul, Katip Çelebi (6 volumes, 2010), The Islamic World in the New Century The Organization of Islamic Conference 1969-2009 (New York, London, Columbia/Hurst, 2010).
REFERENCE: Beşir Ayvazoğlu / Bir Bilim Adamının Romana Benzer Hayatı: Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu / Defterimde Kırk Suret (s.147-151, 3. bas. 1999), İhsan Işık / Türkiye Yazarlar Ansiklopedisi (2001, 2004) – Encyclopedia of Turkish Authors (2005) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) – Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013). 75. Yılında Atatürk Kültür Merkezi (s. 71-73), TDOE –TDE Ansiklopedisi c. 5, 2005), Essays in honour of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu (Biography, bibliography and recollection about İhsanoğlu compiled by Abdullah Topaloğlu, IRCICA, 2006).