Second International Protection and Refugees International Summer School Completed
Human Rights Academy (HRA) has provided human rights-themed courses in Turkey since 2020. Since the beginning, there has been an overwhelming demand for a course about international protection and refugee rights. Pursuant to these demands, the Human Rights Academy, with the cooperation of UNHCR Izmir Office and Mülkiye Migration Research Center (MÜGAM). The course gathered an overwhelming application and interest from the sector. The HRA gathered more than 500 applications from 52 countries.
It was a special occasion for more than one reason: Since the Human Rights Academy officially started its courses right at the start of the pandemic in 2020, this year’s summer school finally happened in person. In late July 2022, 20 young people interested or working in the field of migration from 11 different countries (Georgie, Greece, Bulgaria, Syria, Lebanon, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey) gathered in the beautiful region of Çeşme, Izmir to participate in the four days-program.
On the first day of the course, following the speeches of FNF Turkey’s Head of Office Beate Apelt, FNF Turkey’s and HRA’s Project Coordinator Elif Güney Menderes, HRA’s Academic Advisor Assoc. Prof. Dr Olgun Akbulut and Course’s Academic Coordinator Prof. Dr Murat Erdoğan, participants have been given a chance to introduce themselves and provide a short introduction of the importance of international protection and migration management in their countries.
The second day of the course began with HRA Academic Advisor Assoc. Prof. Dr Olgun Akbulut’s lecture on “Universal Human Rights and Introduction to International Refugee Law” following lecture, Prof. Dr Murat Erdoğan from Ankara University gave a speech titled “International Protection in the World and Turkey and Process Management”. This lecture was followed by Mr Metin Çorabatır’s seminar titled “Foreigners in Turkey, International Protection and Migration Management System”. At the end of this seminar, the UNHCR Ankara Spokesperson Selin Ünal talked about “Global Compact and Migration Management”.
The third day of the summer school began with the presentation of Ms Eylül Başak Tuncel from UNHCR Izmir on “The Principle of Non-Refoulment in International and National Legal Framework”. Following her presentation Assoc. Prof. Dr Ayselin Yıldız from Yaşar University gave a lecture titled “Irregular Migration: Security and Migration”. In the end, a panel of experts from civil society talked about different aspects of the issue of refugees. During the night of day 3, a documentary titled “Life flourishes again…Hope has the power to transcend all disasters” by Çoşkun Aral was screened.
The fourth and last day of the summer school began with the art activity of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Evrim Hikmet Öğüt to the participants. She talked about the portrayal of refugees regarding the music and musical practices of refugees. Following this event, a workshop on international protection and refugees was initiated. The participants were separated into four groups to discuss the best and worst practices regarding security, media, gender and social acceptance of refugees.
The summer school ended with the speech of Dr. Salim Amin, the Human Rights Themes Director of FNF, and a certificate and appreciation ceremony.
The participants had the chance to bring in their perspectives and experiences in the field, discuss their most pressing questions, and engage in lively debates with a multitude of speakers. Through lectures, the group works, Q&A sessions and the possibility of talking to experts in migration first-hand, the participants could better understand their area of interest and expertise.
Due to the close cooperation with the UNHCR Izmir office, the participants were offered a close-up look at how migration management is handled in Turkey and could get a glimpse of possible future work opportunities in the field simultaneously. Apart from the program, this four-day gathering in a relaxed environment away from daily life was a perfect opportunity for the participants to get to know other bright young minds working towards the same goals.