The International Conference on Higher Education of Students under Protection is held in Istanbul on July 30th, 2019 between 09.30 and 17.30 in cooperation of UNHCR, Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) and TRT WORLD. In addition to opening speches, the conference consist of 3 sessions and welcoming speeches made by UNHCR Turkey Representative Katherine Lumpp, TRT World Editor in Chief Serdar Karagoz, Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) President Abdullah Eren and opening speech was made by UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Council Co-Chair by Four Joyce.
Joyce touched upon the topic of the conference with her experience in education and said: ‘’ I was a refugee and I can only be burden unless the country that I went has no peace. We can only achieve development in peace. If we will advocate for education, we cannot leave the term of peace behind. Education allows you to be the person who makes or breaks peace. Education is therefore the basis of everything. We need to involve women in vocational training. Just because of cultural factors, they might have limited access to education. We need to cooperate and get the girls to go to school. The training I received helped me to represent my country. Education is the key element in the construction of everything. We also need to strengthen women's skills. It is impossible to build something if the community does not support women or men equally.’’
The first session, Key Actors' Talks panel was moderated by TRT World Reporter Melinda Nucifora. Member of Executive Board of The Council of Higher Education (YÖK), Dr. Zeliha Koçan Tufan, presented the conditions and statistics for the transition to higher education. Afterwards, information was given about the number and statistics of foreign students who were granted scholarships by Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) President Abdullah Eren. The third speaker was the President of the Turkish Red Crescent Association Kerem Kınık stated that: ‘’ We are looking for a community of 75% women, children and the elderly. We are hosting 3 million Syrian refugees and we are providing financial support to 1,700.000 refugees. We provide scholarships to 511,000 refugee students. 645,000 children continue to their primary and secondary education. There are 400,000 children who need education. Approximately 100,000 refugee children need to increase their educational capacities in order to read. As the Turkish Red Crescent Association convincing visits were made to meet 50,000 families who had taken their children from school. In addition, 152,000,000 medical interventions were made and 16.000 legal consultations were received. 1 million asylum seekers all received services from community centers. If you provide non-discriminatory support, they discover their potential. As Turkish Red Crescent Association we are trying to get the necessary education to build their future.’’ The last speaker of the session Recep Batu, who is Istanbul Provincial Director of Migration, gave information regarding intra migration in Turkey recently. Before the 2nd session, Trt World Citizen Campaign Expert Neslihan Öztürk gave information about J4J Talks.
The second session, which based on the Role of Higher Education in Strengthening Social Cohesion, was moderated by Tarek Cherkaqui who is Director of TRT World Research Center. The first speaker was Dr. Murat Uyum who is Professor of Migration and Integration Research from Turkish-German University. During his speech, he stated that ‘when Turkey’s history of immigration is reviewed from 1923 until 2011, it’s seen a total of 1 million refugees. Not everything is about number, but numbers are matters. The refugee problem in Turkey, where there is internal migration, has not erupted so much because there is intra migration in the country. The ones who went abroad did not come bak. Countries are looking for immigrants but have trauma when the issue comes to refugees. In our country there is an imbalance between provinces and even districts. This is not a matter that you put emotions in it.’ After Murat Erdoğan gave his speech, Dr. Zeynep Ozde Ateşok from Istanbul University gave information about the student ratios, adaptation processes and the problems experienced in the university. Doç. Dr Ulaş Sunata, as another speaker, stated that: ‘’ Nation states are obliged to manage migration. Although there are international organizations, nation-states are important actors in migration management and they have to think about how they will come, go and be integrated. With our immigration experience, we had the knowledge to manage this migration. Turkey is a country where wthnic composition is a very different. Social cohesion of refugees and local people needs to be ensured. We cannot ignore emotions when managing people. Emotion management exists both for immigrants and the current society. How can these two groups get into social cohesion? Although success stories from refugees are sometimes negative, they are an important factor. There is no economic capital, but cultural capital, which is achieved through education. Until this time, attention has been paid to primary education, but higher education is very important because we obtain cultural capital through this way. Higher education does not only provide social cohesion. Communication and social impact are also important for this…’’
The toppic of 3rd session was Student Experiences of Syrians in Turkey and modarated by Hajra Maryam who is a researcher at Trt World Research Center. After the success stories and experiences of Hüseyin Yusuf, Ahed Mahmoud Alkhatip, Abdullah Sukkar and Vidat Bakır, evaluation of the day was held under the moderation of TRT World Reporter Ali Koç.
Prof. Dr. Ahmet İçduygu who is a professor from Migration Research Application and Research Center at Koç University, UNHCR Senior Training Director Jennifer Roberts and Professor Talip Küçükcan from TRT World Research Center evaluated the day and ended the conference.