2018 Experience Sharing Program is Underway

The “2018 Experience Sharing Program” that is organized by Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) in cooperation with Turkish Airlines (THY), Anadolu Agency and Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), in order to promote an awareness of global volunteerism among university students, was introduced with a meeting.

The “2018 Experience Sharing Program” that is organized by Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) in cooperation with Turkish Airlines (THY) Anadolu Agency (AA) and TRT in order to promote an awareness of global volunteerism among university students, was introduced with a meeting held in TÜGVA Florya Higher Education Male Dormitory. 

President of the World Ethnosport Confederation Bilal Erdoğan congratulated TİKA and expressed that today, particularly thanks to TİKA’s efforts, Turkey ranks the first in the world in terms of foreign humanitarian assistance.

Erdoğan stated that Turkey was already in the first place in terms of foreign assistance per national income but the data from 2017 shows that it has also become the largest donor of humanitarian assistance in terms of volume as well:

“What does it mean to be the first in terms of volume? We provide more aid outside our borders compared to the USA, England, Japan, China and India. In terms of economic size, we are ranked 17th. The 17th biggest economy in the world is in the 1st place in foreign humanitarian assistance. This is striking as we can be proud of ourselves and we can see that we follow the steps of our ancestors and move forward. It is also striking as it shows that 16 economies that come before us are not doing their part. If we are discussing the economic and social hardships encountered in the world today, I am sure that this is closely related to the background and the causes of the issues.

I hope that Turkey will continue with increased efforts to help people without expecting anything in return because we are all created by the same God and we serve him.

“You will see how valuable the names Turkey, TİKA and Erdoğan are.”

Stating that he recently visited Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan, Bilal Erdoğan said:

“After seeing the assistance provided by Turkey to Mongolia in the past 16 years, one thing is clear. Turkey can't be providing assistance to this far away country with a population of 3 million people and with limited commercial ties with Turkey. Are there petroleum or mines in Mongolia? What is the benefit, what are the political or economic concerns? Turkey provides thorough and significant contributions to many countries that don’t have any of those. Indeed, this is an undertaking by Turkey that will teach a lesson to and inspire the entire world. Really, you will see it when you go there, this will be one of the biggest outcomes of this project. In the countries you visit, when you see how valuable Turkey’s name, TİKA’s name, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s name are, you will be immensely proud of your country, your president and your organizations; this will be one of the biggest gains for you”.

“We shouldn’t see it just as a trip”

President of the World Ethnosport Confederation Bilal Erdoğan gave the following advice to students related to the countries they will visit:

“You may face difficulties, you may not like the opportunities of the places you go to. You will realize how much progress Turkey has made in terms of infrastructure services and standards. You will see what Turkey means to those countries. On the other hand, there might come a time when you are not sure what you will do. You must find something to do and you shouldn’t see it just as a trip. The least you can do is be with somebody in need and show a little friendliness. However, of course, some of you will do paint jobs, carry weights, work as a porter, etc.

The USA has a program called the Peace Corps, which we can say was the inspiration for this project. With this program, during the summer, they send college students to regions, where United States Agency of International Development implement projects.  American students usually serve as English teachers in these places. However, there is an interesting aspect, this program is usually backed by American church foundations and missionaries. They gain an imperialist vision by seeing their countries influence around the world and they contribute to the missionary activities.

“It will help young people expand their vision of the world”

Erdoğan pointed out that young people should not demean this project and that it will help them expand their vision of the world while at the same time improving their sense of altruism towards people in need in the countries they will visit.

Bilal Erdoğan explained that 14 years ago, he worked at the World Bank for 2 years and saw that many projects in the Middle East and the Balkans spent as much on the expenses of the project workers as they did on the project itself.

Bilal Erdoğan told that a few years ago, a large company in Turkey built a school in the eastern region of the country as a social responsibility project. Later, he learned that the budget allocated for the advertisement was larger than the budget of the construction project. He continued:

“International development organizations and organizations like the World Bank, IMF, United States Agency of International Development, and French Development Agency carry out these projects partly for the sake of appearances. One day, as we were hosting Syrian refugees in our country, we saw a UNESCO logo in a tent city in Nizip. I wondered what they were doing there. I kind of enjoyed it, thinking that they come here and provide assistance. My question was ‘What do you do here?’ What I got in return was not much of an answer. They handed out school bags to children and they were taking pictures. Who is doing the rest of the work? It is all carried out by our state, Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), and Turkish Red Crescent. The promotional aspect of Turkey’s aids is unfortunately very lacking. We carry out projects that are big enough to send a message to the world but we are lagging behind in telling the world about them. That is why it is important to have TRT and Anadolu Agency among the sponsor of this project. These organizations, which have a mission to promote our country around the world, should also present this project to the world and therefore, TİKA should promote its projects more thoroughly around the world. The sponsorship of Turkish Airlines is also important.”

“You will also carry out a portion of this good deed now”

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the meeting, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) President Serdar Çam stated that their first priority is to ensure that 500 students, who will go to 30 countries, to carry out their duties, make their contributions and come back in good health and without any accidents or incidents and that they are praying for their safe return.

Çam stressed that the biggest contribution a young person can do is to offer his civil and informative accumulation of knowledge and that they will carry out a portion of this good deed now but it will have a larger impact on the rest of their lives and they will continue working with other NGOs and perhaps undertake different roles in the future.

Çam stated that the world is experiencing a real crisis and he said:

“In a world with incapable states, inadequate state bureaucracies and politics, civil society organizations become even more important. We are moving towards a world that is increasingly specialized and that requires groups that are familiar with certain areas and certain issues. Hopefully, our world will be a much healthier, much better place in the future. We are praying for it. Turkey is putting in the effort for it. Our state, especially our President is working very hard for it but unfortunately, the recent events show that the world is becoming an increasingly difficult place. In such a world, our youth, who are trained here will provide valuable contributions. Your efforts will help with the resolution of many crises as well as improvements, treatments, rehabilitation and relief after the crises.”

Serdar Çam continued, “When you look at Iraq and Syria or the suffering geography around us, first you see demolished, downtrodden cities with acts of cruelty and oppression, then comes the intervention for people who are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and then, after revisiting these places, the cycle continues with efforts to revitalize life there.”

Çam highlighted that TİKA and Turkey are working on and helping with the clean-up of Tal Afar at the moment and in a world that is burned down, demolished and repaired only to be burned down, demolished and repaired again, Turkey is there to break this cycle. Thus, as a youth movement of Turkey, which says “World is bigger than 5,” the students will make a contribution with different experiences.

Çam offered advice to the students and closed his remarks by saying:

“I hope that you’ll spend every moment there productively like in prayer and send messages to people there, and you read between the lines and bring the message back to us and start a whole new chapter of your life.  Therefore, I believe that upon your return from this visit, in this new process, each of you will be a potential member of TİKA. Because TİKA is actually a part of, an essence of Turkey. At the core of what we are trying to do, there is an alignment of objectives with civil society organizations. It is to earn God’s good grace and somehow provide for the needs of people in need. If God permits, you will also accomplish this and come back. For their contributions to this project, I would like to thank Anadolu Agency (AA) Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Manager Şenol Kazancı, TRT General Manager İbrahim Eren, TÜGVA General Chairman İsmail Emanet and for meeting the transportation needs of all these efforts, Turkish Airlines (THY) Board and Executive Committee Chairman İlker Avcı and express my sincere gratitude to all our friends.