Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was born in Beşiktepe Village, a nice village of Cyprus, as the son of a forester in 1952.
At the moment of his birth, Suat İ. Günsel had already started the great adventure of his life, feeling the persistence and fortitude of his people, Turkish Cypriots who were living with trials and tribulations in various dimensions.
He was one of the very first students of the English College opened in the Turkish Side of Nicosia, and graduated from this school in 1969. Following his graduation from the Department of Physics at the Middle East Technical University, he carried out his postgraduate studies and obtained a PhD on Educational Psychology.
At one of the stages of the long way he committed, “His impressive achievements resulting with creation of institutions and foundations at the international standards in education and health sectors that are renowned worldwide, and offering these achievements into the service of his own people and the peoples of world…” would be the term of justification to be honoured with a distinguished award at an international platform.
So indeed, it has been observed in his speeches on various occasions that he acts with the sense of a patriotic Turkish Cypriot who considers the education system as a “…waving stream on which achievements of our next generations are shaped on the basis of our current social and national values”.
Establishing his entire life philosophy and vision upon this idea, Dr. Suat Günsel, starting from the times he established a private school where students were prepared to university entrance exams and university life, has been called as “Suat Hoca” at the university environments and in all around of Cyprus. Today, his former students, who are now professors, directors, managers, ministers or members of national assemblies, state councils, state that they still identify him with this name.
The year is 1988 and the establishment of the Near East University was recorded in lines of history. Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was the Rector and the Founding Rector of the university.
It is 2018 today: The Near East University, bearing a private foundation status in legal terms, however, being in commitment of public totally, is carrying out its multi-dimensional educational service in educational and social terms with its 19 faculties, 220 undergraduate program, 6 postgraduate institutes with 224 programs (at MA and PhD level), 4 vocational schools, 3 high schools and 28 research centers in accordance with the philosophy that Dr. Suat İ. Günsel dedicated himself to.
Some of the remarkable developments of the Near East University established on a 320,000 square meters area are:
The Grand Library of the Near East University that was proclaimed to be the “Central Library of Turkic World” at the Final Declaration of The International Conference organized by the Delegates of Turkic World; Super Computer that can process over 15 trillion operations within a second, the unique samples of their own kind in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, and they are available at only 28 universities all over the world; The Near East University Hospital that found life as a result of a dedicated investment over 150 million USD; Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Dentistry and Dentistry Clinics that have been accredited by JCI (Joint Comission International), Faculty of Pharmacy that shares the same features and excellent quality of the Faculty of Dentistry, the Olympic Swimming Pool which is one of the most advanced and modern sports facility complexes of the country,
The Founding Rector Dr. Suat İ. Günsel states that he adores the extraordinary beauty of greenery fields of the campus as much as the advanced foundations and institutions of the university aforementioned above.
And also, as Dr. Günsel states, in their white uniforms, the male and female students of the Faculty of Maritime Studies are on cruise with full speed in the vastness of the ‘Blue’.
The Near East Colleges that come after the Pre-School Foundations of the Near East University are the “Foundations of Wisdom” as the pioneers of the elementary, secondary and high school education of the country in both private and general terms. And so, they represent the educational units that followers and staff of Dr. Günsel take responsibility starting from pre-school stages up to the institutes where PhD programs are carried out.
It should be pointed out that Dr. Suat Günsel has been honoured with several important prizes and awards, and his worldly renowned achievements were also highlighted by the Forbes Magazine, one of the most prestigious magazines of the world.
In August 2009, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was awarded with the “Medal of Honour” of Gagauzian Autonomous Republic at the II. World Gagauzians Conference by the President of Gagauzia, His Excellency Mihail Formuzal.
In December 2009, Dr. Günsel has also been honoured with Gold Medal of Honor by Gagauzia Autonomous Republic for his precious contributions to education sector of Gagauzia Autonomous Republic.
In March 2010, Dr. Günsel was awarded with “Outstanding service award” by the National Assembly of TRNC for his contributions and worldwidely renowned investments made for educational systems and health sectors of TRNC.
Dr. Suat I. Günsel was awarded with the title of Honorary Doctorate for his outstanding success in the education sector by the Komrat University in Republic of Moldovia in April 2010.
In April 2010, the Founding Rector of the Near East University, Dr. Günsel, was awarded with a Honorary Doctorate by Azerbaijan State University of Medicine for his contributions to health sector and for the establishment of Research Hospital of the Near East University that renowned worldwide, and he was also awarded with another Honorary Doctorate in Educational Sciences by Academy of Azerbaijan Universities for his outstanding contributions to education.
In October 2010, Dr. Günsel was awarded for his contributions to Turkish culture and education system with “Türksoy Most Prestigious Golden Medal of Honour” in accordance with the decision taken at the conference of Organization of Common Directorate of International Turkish Culture and Arts by the Permanent Council of Ministers of Culture of Member Countries of TÜRKSOY.
Moreover, Dr. Günsel was awarded with the “Golden Honorary Plaquet” by the Centre of Research Islam, History, Art and Culture for his contributions to Islamic Conference Organization.
On 3 November 2010, Dr. Günsel was also entitled as the “Rowing Ambassador of TRNC” through the common decision of the President Dr. Derviş Eroğlu and the National Assembly,.
On 20 January 2011, Paphos Turkish Association presented a plaque to Founding Rector Dr. Suat İ. Günsel since he was elected as the “Most Successful Paphosian” in economical issues.
Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was awarded with an honorary PhD on the subject of “Innovations in Education” by the Senate of İzhevsk International Eastern European University of Republic of Udmurtia, a state of Russian Federation, on 21 February 2011.
On 22 February 2011, Dr. Suat Günsel was honoured with a “Medal of Commemoration” for 60th anniversary of invention of Avtomat Kalashnikova 47 – AK 47, one of the most important patents of 20th century, by the legendary designer of this gun, General Mihail Kalashnikov.
On 5 July 2011, Dr. Günsel was awarded with “Friendship Order”, the highest order of the state given to foreigners, by the President of Azerbaijan, His Excellency İlham Aliyev, for his outstanding contributions in order to develop the relations between the TRNC and the Republic of Azerbaijan, and for his contributions to Azerbaijan Diaspora.
On 7th November 2011, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was awarded with the Honorary Medal in celebrations organized to commemorate the 20th anniversary of establishment of Autonomous Gagauzian Republic.
On 1 December 2011, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel, the Founding Rector of NEU, conferred upon a honorary PhD in education upon the decision of Senate of Odlar Yurdu University of Azerbaijan.
On 20 January 2012, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was awarded with Plaque of Patriotism for his superior services for his country by Cyprus Turkish Businessmen Council.
On 27 May 2013,The founding Rector of the Near East University, Dr. Suat Günsel was awarded with Honorary Doctorate Diploma for his outstanding contributions in the field of “Innovation in Education and Health” at the senate meeting of the Crimean State Engineering and Pedagogical University.
On 1 June 2013, At the first Turkey Achievement Awards Ceremony organized by Turkey Life Magazine “Award of International Quality in Education” has been presented to Dr.Suat İ.Günsel due to his international contributions to education.
On 2 July 2013,The 2013 Socrates Award that was awarded Dr. Suat İ. Günsel by Oxford Europe Business Assembly (EBA) at the award ceremony of Swiss Summit of Leaders held in Montreaux, Switzerland.
On 19 July 2013, “Outstanding service award and plaque” was presented to Dr.Suat Günsel by Association of Journalists of the Republic of Turkey due to his national and international contributions and achievements in education and health.
On 19 August 2013, As part of 20th year celebrations of Turkish Culture in service, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel, the Founding Rector of Near East University paid an official visit to the General Secretary of TURKSOY, Düsein KASEİNOV. During the visit,Günsel’s 60th birthday has been celebrated. Düsein KASEİNOV, presented a plaque to Dr. GÜNSEL and put on him a traditional trawl.
On 27 September 2013, Founding Rector of the Near East University, Dr. Suat Günsel presented plaque to Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Prof. Dr. Beşir Atalay because of his coming for preside to the Groundbreaking Ceremonies of NEU Mosque and Univesity of Kyrenia.
On 27 September 2013, Founding Rector of the Near East University, Dr. Suat Günsel presented plaque to Chairman of Religious Affairs Office and Higher Council of Religious Affairs, Prof. Dr. Raşit Küçük because of his materially and spiritually academic services and his participation in the Groundbreaking Ceremonies of NEU Mosque and University of Kyrenia.
On 27 September 2013, Founding Rector of the Near East University, Dr. Suat Günsel presented plaque to the Director of Religious Affairs Department,Prof. Dr. Mehmet Görmez because of his participation in th Groundbreaking Ceremonies of NEU Mosque and University of Kyrenia.
On 27 September 2013, Rector of Cumhuriyet University, Prof. Dr. Faruk Kocacık presented tree of life plaque, located on birds symbolises the peace, garnets symbolises proliferate and the eagle symbolises the power and strength, to Dr. Suat Günsel in his visiting for the Grounbreaking Ceremonies of NEU Mosque and University of Kyrenia.
On 2 October 2013, Special Gold Medal of 20th Anniversary of TURKSOY was decorated to Dr. Suat İ. Günsel, the Founding Rector of Near East University Cyprus, for his outstanding contributions to cultural and educational issues of Turkic world.
On 22 November 2013, The founding Rector of the Near East University, Dr. Suat Günsel was awarded with Honorary Doctorate Diploma for his outstanding contributions in the field of “Innovation in Education and Health” by Baku Eurasian University.
On 13 December 2013, The Founding Rector of the Near East University, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel granted with the title of Professor in the department of “International Relations” by the Senate of Kazakh – American University.
On 23 December 2013, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was granted with the “Order of Gagauzia Republic”, the highest order of Gagauzia state for his outstanding contributions in the field of Education.
On 12 February 2014, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was granted with the outstanding service award of Crimean by the Parliment of Crimean Tatars for his outstanding contributions in the field of Education.
On 22 April 2014, Rector of Baku Eurasian University ,Prof. Dr. Nazım Hüseyinli presented a hand-made carpet,as a gift which is only given to important persons and precious guests,on which Dr. Günsel’s portrait was depicted.
On 19 September 2014, High Honor Certificate and Gold Medal was granted to the Founding Rector Dr. Suat İ. Günsel with decision of board of directors of Martyrs Families and War Veterans Association because of his crucial contributions to country’s educational, technological and medical developments.
On 23 September 2014, Retired Military Officers Association gave a plaque to Founding Rector of the Near East University, Dr. Suat Günsel because of his achievements in the field of education and health.
On 30 September 2014, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was granted with “Cyprus TİAK Special Award” by the Cyprus Turkish Businessmen Council owing to his crucial contributions in promotion of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the international area.
On 14 October 2014, United Europe Award was presented to Dr. Suat İ. Günsel, Founding Rector of NEU by International Socrates Committee.
On 2 December 2014, Dr. Suat I. Günsel, invited to the House of Lords of the United Kingdom as the special guest, delivered a speech to members of House of Lords and a selected group of guests at the Parliament of UK, and told about the achievements of NEU throughout the historical process as well as the importance and position of higher education in TRNC and in the world.
On 3 December 2014, Dr. Suat I. Günsel granted with an award by the Anglo-Turkish Healthcare Professionals Association for his “outstanding contribution to health education & wellbeing in Cyprus” in Britain.
On 23 December 2014, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel, Founding Rector of Near East University, has been awarded with 20th Anniversary State Order by His Excellency Mikhail Formuzal, President of Gagauzia Autonomous Republic.
On 22 April 2015, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was awarded with the Oscar of the Year in recognition of his great contributions in achieving outstanding success in the field of education and health as well as for his unique efforts towards TRNC’s promotion.
24 March 2016, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel, Founding Rector of Near East University, awarded with Queen Victoria Commemorative medal by Oxford Academic Union formed by leaders of higher education sector, rectors, professors and scientists from 30 countries and empowered as the Mediterranean Representative of Oxford Academic Union.
On 7 May 2016, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel, Founding Rector of NEU, was conferred upon a honorary doctorate by Ardahan University Senate due to his extraordinary efforts in making the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus a world brand in higher education sector, his much reputed achievements and his efforts in overcoming the embargoes through education.
6 November 2016, 25th Year State Order of Gagauzia was presented to Dr. Suat İ. Günsel, Founding Rector of Near East University, by Vlah Irina Fedorovna, President of Gagauzia, for his outstanding contributions in education, health and development of Gagauzia.
On 7 November 2016, Oleg Budza, President of the National Confederation of Trade Unions of Moldova, presented ‘Special Honor Certificate’ of the Confederation to Dr. Suat İ. Günsel in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the young people of Moldova and Gaguiza in the field of education
5 December 2016, Awarded with honorary professorship diploma by Southern University of Russian Federation due to the contributions he made for the cooperation protocol of education signed between the Near East University and the Southern University.
March 28, 2017, Dr. Suat İ. Günsel conferred upon the title of Honorary Professor by Academic Union Oxford.
5 June 2018, 25th Independence Anniversary Medal of Turkic Republics Awarded to Dr. Suat İ. Günsel, Founding Rector of Near East University, by TURKSOY.
25 December 2018, “Turkey’s Greatest Living Minds Award” given by Forbes Magazine to celebrate its 100th year anniversary to people who shaped the history of Turkey’s economy, left their traces and broke new grounds was presented to Dr. Suat Günsel.
April 18, 2019, Near East University Founding Rector Dr. Suat İ. Günsel was awarded the Gold Medal of “True Patriot” by National Dede Qorqut Foundation of Azerbaijan for his efforts to promote the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus all over the world, his dedicated works in the field of education, health, culture and art in the TRNC and for his dedication and the important services he showed in the development of the relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the TRNC.
On September 19, 2022, Near East University Founding Rector Dr. Suat İrfan Günsel was presented with the Order of the Republic of Tatarstan by Rudenko Gulzada Rakipovna, Member of the Cultural Council of the Presidency of Tatarstan and advisor to the President, General Director of the Elabuga State History-Architecture and Art Open Air Museum for his contributions to the Turkic world in the fields of culture, arts and education, and for the strengthening of cultural ties and the development of friendship relations between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Tatarstan.
September 20, 2022, TURKSOY Secretary General Sultan Raev presented Dr. Suat Irfan Gunsel with TURKSOY's highest Honor Gold Medal for his outstanding contribution to the Turkic world.
December 16, 2022, Artists of the Republic of Uzbekistan presented their traditional "National Golden Robes" to Dr. Suat İrfan Günsel, which is presented to express their gratitude, love and respect to respectable people who have made important contributions to society, Turkish World and art.
On May 17, 2023, Near East University Founding Rector Dr. Suat İrfan Günsel was presented with the "TURKSOY 30th Anniversary Gold Medal" by the International Organization of Turkic Culture for his outstanding contributions to the international adoption and dissemination of Turkish culture.
Dr. Suat I. Günsel, the Founding Rector of the Near East University, is married and has three children.