Deputy Minister of National Education Orhan Erdem stated at the closure ceremony of Students Learning about the EU Project that common values of the EU like human rights, freedom, rule of law, gender equality, and rights of children are the common rights and values of the whole humanity. Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Ali Şahin said “I felt that Students Learning about the EU Project made our young people full members of the EU”. Counsellor François Begeot from Delegation of the EU to Turkey expressed that the EU vision of young people of Turkey improved because of the Project.
Students Learning about the EU Project, of which Ministry of National Education is the executive institution, had its closure ceremony on the 9th of December in Ankara. Opening speeches of the ceremony were given by Deputy Minister of National Education Orhan Erdem; Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Ali Şahin; Counsellor François Begeot, Head of Economic and Social Development, Delegation of the EU to Turkey; Central Finance and Contracts Unit Director Emine Döğer; and General Director of European Union and Foreign Relations, Ministry of National Education Funda Kocabıyık.
At the ceremony, also the winners of painting, slogan, short-story, and quiz competitions gave speeches. All of them: Esra Yatkın, winner of 2015 “Tell Me the EU” Painting Competition, from Denizli Merkezefendi Ekrem Başer Middle School; Yasin Arıkan, a member of the winning team of 2015 “I’m Learning the EU” Quiz Competition, from Ankara Etimesgut Anatolian High School; Tuğba Erdaş, winner of the 2016 slogan competition, from Ankara Sincan Tuna Üçer Middle School; Nevzer Karaman, winner of the 2016 short-story competition winner, from İzmir Güzelbahçe Doktor Güngör Özbek Anatolian High School, expressed that competitions and Students Learning about the EU Project, their study visits to Brussels and Strasbourg had a positive impact on their lives.
Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Ali Şahin, on the other hand, said that Turkey’s membership will be good for EU’s heart arrhythmia, which is caused by terrorism, immigration, etc., and EU should have the dream of a peaceful climate for other geographies, too. He continued saying: “We should not discriminate Aleppo’s children from Paris’, Brussels’, London’s children. If it condemns Aleppo’s children to the cool waters of Mediterranean, it is EU’s failure. Our relations with the EU did not start in 1955. Turkey is a natural part of the Europe”. Şahin emphasized that he felt like Students Learning about the EU project is making the young people full members of the EU. As a continuation of this project, another project must be implemented, telling about Turkey to the EU.
Counsellor François Begeot from Delegation of the EU to Turkey expressed that the EU will be in a better position with accession of Turkey. He mentioned that negotiation process is very valuable for them and Turkey is a part of the family. Begeot reminded the audience that Europe has problems like terrorism, unemployment, and elderly population and needs a young Turkey. He said young Turkish people should benefit from education opportunities in Europe and went on saying “EU will support the young. I guarantee this. I am in Turkey for two years and it felt good what those young people said at videos that I watched.”
General Director of EU and Foreign Relations Funda Kocabıyık mentioned that approximately 33 thousand secondary school students participated at painting, slogan, short-story, and quiz competitions that were conducted in the years 2015 and 2016 within scope of the project. “In other words, we are talking about 33 thousand children to whom we reached only through competitions and helped in increasing curiosity, level of knowledge, and awareness about the EU. Also, when we add the surveys implemented on 60 thousand students at the beginning and at the end of the project, their families and circle of friends, their teachers, staff of our Ministry, other students participating at our other project activities to this number, we can easily claim that our project has reached 150 thousand people.” Kocabıyık emphasized on that when European Union chooses not to protect what is at hand but planning the future, then it will be the “winning force”.
A presentation including two years’ story of the project, project spot films, and a trailer of 20 educational short videos on the EU were also screened at the ceremony where results and outputs of two years’ work of the project were shared. Ceremony ended with a Mevlevi Sema Ceremony.
Provincial General Directors of National Education from 81 provinces, staff of the Ministry, and representatives from related institutions attended the ceremony that took place in Grand Ankara Hotel (Rixos).
With its long name, Technical Assistance for Students Learning about the EU Common Values, Fundamental Rights and Policies, is a project that is implemented between December 2014 and December 2016 with a budget of 3 million and 256 thousand Euro consisting of many activities, among these the most important ones being quiz, painting, slogan, and short-story competitions, to create awareness about the EU.
Click for the agenda of the ceremony.