First Kur­dish Univer­sity Opens in Di­yarbakir

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

The Me­sopotamia foun­da­tion has al­ready be­gun prepa­ra­tions for the open­ing of a univer­sity that will of­fer cour­ses pri­mar­ily in Kur­dish. The univer­sity is named Amed Univer­sity, us­ing the Kur­dish name for Di­yarbakır. The univer­sity also of­fers cour­ses in Turk­ish, English, Ar­me­nian and Syr­iac.

Se­lim Ölçer, the head of the board of trustees of the foun­da­tion, said ef­forts to es­tab­lish the Me­sopotamia Foun­da­tion were launched by a group of 15 peo­ple about one year ago. “Cur­rently we have over 200 found­ing mem­bers. And the foun­da­tion has of­fi­cially been es­tab­lished,” he stated.

Ac­cord­ing to Ölçer, the main ob­jec­tive of the foun­da­tion was to open a univer­sity and other in­sti­tu­tions of ed­u­ca­tion in Tur­key's South­east that can of­fer a mul­ti­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion in mul­ti­ple lan­guages. Ac­cord­ing to Ölçer, the univer­sity will con­trib­ute to the preser­va­tion of the Kur­dish lan­guage.

“We will hold a congress for the Me­sopotamia Foun­da­tion on June 23. We will ask con­trib­u­tors to do­nate to the foun­da­tion. When the work is com­plete, we will ap­ply to the Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Board [YÖK] to ap­prove the open­ing of our univer­sity,” he added.

The idea to open a Kur­dish univer­sity was first brought up in Oc­to­ber 2011, and the foun­da­tion -- though not of­fi­cially es­tab­lished then -- be­gan hold­ing meet­ings with busi­ness­men, academics and rights ad­vo­cates to be­gin prepa­ra­tions for the cre­ation of the univer­sity. Sources say the univer­sity is ex­pected to be opened by 2016.

The Me­sopotamia Foun­da­tion's sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Ra­mazan Tunç, said the univer­sity will of­fer prep classes for stu­dents who do not know ei­ther Kur­dish or English. It is not yet clear what other aca­demic de­part­ments the univer­sity will have. “There is a huge need in Tur­key for a univer­sity that teaches in Kur­dish,” he said, adding that such a univer­sity has not been opened so far due to a ban on ed­u­ca­tion in the Kur­dish lan­guage. The univer­sity, if es­tab­lished, will be a pri­vate one, not state-run. “The univer­sity will have in­ter­na­tional ac­cred­i­ta­tion. It will not work on a lo­cal ba­sis. It will have joint projects and pro­grams with uni­ver­si­ties in the UK, Nor­way and Swe­den,” Tunç noted.

Ac­cord­ing to Tunç, the foun­da­tion ex­pects the univer­sity to draw stu­dents from Syria, Iraq and Iran as well as Tur­key. “We have great am­bi­tion to turn Di­yarbakır into a center of ed­u­ca­tion and cul­ture,” he stated.

Cur­rently, there is one univer­sity, Di­cle Univer­sity, in Di­yarbakır. Ef­forts are on­go­ing to open a sec­ond one, Se­la­haddin Eyyubi Univer­sity; Amed Univer­sity will be the third in the prov­ince.

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