Activities of GRM


GRM Joint Workshop "Towards a Future of Dignity for All"

Seminar & Lectures


GRM Program and Research Center for Human Dignity Joint Workshop

Towards a Future of Dignity for All

Higher Education for Students from Conflict Regions: Japan-Turkey Partnership

■Date and Venue
2019.4.22 (Mon) 11:00-12:30
Learning Studio (B1), Shikokan, Karasuma Campus

Professor Masanori Naito
Graduate School of Global Studies, Doshisha University
Director, Research Center for Human Dignity, Doshisha University

11:10-11:35Students’ Global Outreach
UDEF Activities in Turkey for Solidarity, Mobility& Cultural Understanding
Mr. MD Halid Durmus
Project Coordinator, Federation of International Student Association (UDEF), Turkey

11:35-12:00The NGO “IHH” and its Role in Higher Education Support for Students from Conflict Regions
Mr. Said Demir
Vice President of IHH, The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, Turkey

12:00-12:30Question & Answer Session

Written by Iyas Salim

The GRM Program and the Research Center for Human Dignity, RCHD, of Doshisha University hosted an international conference on the 22nd of April, 2019 to highlight the importance of higher education for students who come from vulnerable regions and areas of conflict. Higher education is vital to students coming from marginalized social groups or conflicts as it means much more than mere educational qualifications. Certainly, education qualifications facilitate broader opportunities for work and careers. Yet, education can have further essential effect on those who seek to build a future after experiencing devastation of war and conflict. For many, education means self-respect and ultimately the dignity for oneself. Those who face oppression and wars, there are the psychological scars of humiliation and trauma. Education, inducing higher education, is a vast realm as well as a chance for self-improvement, overcome obstacles of life and seek hope and future.

In this conference, Dohishsa University’s Research Center for Human Dignity and GRM Program teamed up with two of Turkey’s prominent NGOs working to support refugees and students from conflict regions in seeking higher education opportunity. The two Turkish NGOs are the Federation of International Student Association, UDEF, and The Foundation for Freedom, Human Rights and Humanitarian Relief, IHH. Both NGOs came to Doshisha to present their activities and share experiences and lessons with Doshisha University students.

Federation of International Student Association (UDEF), is an umbrella institution of 63 International Students Associations in 54 provinces in Turkey. Established in 2012, now it hosts approximately 143 thousand international students of High School and University. The international students come from 203 countries who chose Turkey to seek education. UDEF works hard to get to know the students, create a positive environment, attend to their needs. UDEF seek to find solutions in daily living and moral needs as they live to Turkey in order to achieve higher education. UDEF aims at emphasizing the potential of international student in Turkey as the country has become an education training hub and increasing every year. In this year 2019, UDEF has decided on the period of 1 Feb - May 4th to hold activities to commemorate the International Student Gathering Programmed under the theme "A Fair World from East to West." Activities will be held in 51 countries and 91 cities within Turkey.

The Turkish NGO, The Foundation for Freedom, Human Rights and Humanitarian Relief, IHH, has been very active in supporting relief to refugees, development project and human rights advocacy in more than 134 countries. IHH was a co-organizer of the Freedom Flotilla which sailed to Gaza in May 2010 to deliver humanitarian relief and attempt to break an illegal siege against Gaza. That event ended in the killing of ten Turkish humanitarian workers by Israeli military. Worldwide, one of IHH activities is to provide opportunity for higher education to refugees and to students who come from conflict areas. Recently, IHH supports Rohyinga students who seek higher education in Bangladesh or in Turkey. Both UDEF and IHH work together to provide as many opportunities as possible to Rohyinga students and other refugees.

In the conference, Mr. Halid Durmus, who is the project coordinator of UDEF, gave a presentation about activities carried out in Turkey in supporting vulnerable students. On his part, Mr. Said Demir, vice president of IHH, talked about IHH’s humanitarian relief activities in many different parts of the world. He pointed out IHH has a relief base in Cox Bazaar at the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh where hundreds of thousands of refugees are forced into small spaces in refugee’s camps. IHH is trying to provide as much support to the Rohyinga refugees in what is considered the 21st century’s biggest humanitarian disaster. Rohyinga refugees have been expelled by military force. Higher education is vital to young vulnerable refugees for their own future as well as their families and communities in seeking a better and dignified future.

Professor Naito provided comments and explanation about how important the concept of “inclusivity” is vital in upholding the dignity of every person no matter where is he/she from or what religion or ethnicity that might be. Dignity is priceless.

(Reported by Dr. Iyas Salim, Institute for Advanced Research and Education, Doshisha University)