Irina Bokova speaks in Istanbul on the role of Jewish refugees from Nazism in higher education in Turkey
"UNESCO is proud to be associated with Bahcesehir University in Istanbul and the Aladdin Project for convening this conference,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova at the opening session of conference on Jewish Refugees from Nazism and their role in the modernization of higher education in Turkey. “This shows that a genuine exploration and understanding of history is a path to the healing of sufferings inherited from the past and to reconcile peoples and societies with their memories."
"Today we need concrete policies of education on Holocaust and strategies for prevention," said UNESCO Special Envoy for Holocaust Education Samuel Pisar, who was also took part in the conference. UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Omer Zulfu Livaneli also took part in the conference. The Director-General commended him and his valuable support to the Organization through his advocacy for intercultural dialogue that goes well beyond the boundaries of his own country, Turkey. The Director-General went on referring to his intellectual and creative work as a singer, composer, film director, and novelist that is entirely dedicated to establishing bridges amongst cultures.
The conference was held on 19 April in Bahcesehir University in the presence of the President of Board of Trustees of the University Enver Yucel, US Ambassador to Turkey Francis J. Ricciardone Jr., President of the Aladdin Project Anne Marie Recvoleschi, President of the Anna Lindh Foundation Andre Azoulay, and Former Chief Rabbi of France, Rene-Samuel Sirat. Several deans, rectors and professors were also present.
At the end of the opening session of the conference, the Director-General and the President of the Board of Trustees and Founder of the University Enver Yucel discussed avenues of cooperation in the areas of dialogies between cultures, curricula development for peace building and revision of textbooks.
During her visit to Istanbul, the Director-General also visited the Mother Child Education Foundation’s (ACEV) Lifelong Learning Centre. She applauded Mrs. Aysen Ozyegin for her visionary commitment to establishing the Foundation in 1993, and for its 965 centres throughout Turkey, advancing non-formal education, vocational education and computer literacy for women free of charge. She acknowledged the deliberate and focused commitment of the Foundation representatives and voluntary staff serving at the Centre for the new pilot initiative. This initiative is dedicated to the development of technology for learning by women and highlights the importance of NTC* to break the isolation of many women across the world.
The Foundation has also engaged in wide-reaching peace building programmes through early education in many countries and in refugee camps, notably in Lebanon, Bahrain, South Africa, Jordan, France, Germany, Belgium and Mexico, amongst others. It builds on the importance of investing in the child with a view to instill tolerance, openness and exchange from a very young age.