On September 7th 2022, UNYT Balkan Research Center organized the International Symposium on “Turkish Teaching in the Balkans and Turcology”, in cooperation with several universities and other national and international academic institutions.
The purpose of the symposium was to identify the main current problems in the field of teaching the Turkish language and studies of Turcology in the Balkan, to offer solutions to these problems, to evaluate scientific research about teaching in Turkish language and studies in the field of Turkology and the translation of Turkish literature in the Balkans. The symposium brings to the center of attention the works and publications of the most vocal researchers in these fields, to reveal previously unstudied issues and themes as well as shed light on future studies. Representatives of Turkish and local institutions and organizations in Albania, Turcologists, academics, students, and other guests attended the program.
Present was the Ambassador of Türkiye in Albania H.E. Tayyar Kağan Atay, who stated in his opening speech that there is a deep-rooted historical partnership between the two countries and emphasized that “We have a common historical background, a common understanding of history. In the formation of these common values, this common unity, our language has been a great cultural carrier for centuries, not only in Albania but also in the whole Balkans.” Ambassador Atay reminded us that in 2023, the 100th anniversary of both the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye and the start of diplomatic relations between Türkiye and Albania will be celebrated. Reminding that Albanian is taught in Türkiye and Turkish as an optional language in schools in Albania, Ambassador Atay emphasized that according to the surveys, there is a great interest in Turkish in Albania.
Albanian Deputy Minister of Education and Sports Dr. Albana Tole thanked the Turkish Maarif Foundation on behalf of Albanian Minister of Education and Sports Prof Dr. Evis Kushi for its contribution to the development of youth in Albania. Dr. Tole emphasized that “The Turkish Maarif Foundation conducts scientific research on educational methods and curriculum and supports research.”
Deputy Chairman of the Turkish Maarif Foundation Prof. Ahmet Emre Bilgili stated that the Foundation currently operates in 67 countries on 6 continents and that they provide education to approximately 50 thousand students in this context. Stating that the Turkish Maarif Foundation and University of New York Tirana attach great importance to Turkish and Turcology, Bilgili said, “The Turkish Maarif Foundation, which is Türkiye’s gateway to the world in international education, has studied the international education system very well since its establishment and has adopted the International Maarif Program as a unique model”.
UNYT Rector Prof. Dr. Erkan Erdemir stated that the Foundation has a university and K12-level schools in Albania. Pointing out that UNYT offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral education, Erdemir said, “There are 670 students from 17 different countries in our university. For now, we have a small boutique university. Of course, we aim to grow in a very short time. We have international agreements with 37 universities from 17 different countries.” he said.
UNYT Balkan Research Institute Director Assoc. Dr. Lindita Xhanari Latifi stated that “The historical, linguistic, literary, cultural, ethnographic and religious relations between the Balkan countries and Turkey, which have existed and continue to exist for centuries, are now an undeniable reality
Symposium Organizing Committee Chairman Prof. Dr. İbrahim Gültekin, on the other hand, emphasized that the relations of the Turks with the Balkan geography continued firmly, gaining depth in fields such as language, belief, culture, folklore, and literature thanks to the political unity of nearly 500 years during the Ottoman Empire period.
The symposium is planned to be held thematically in the upcoming years.