Since migration is my field of interest, I seized the opportunity to learn more about the topic in question and from 10th to 13th of May 2012 I attended European Weekend School 2012. It is an international certificate program organized annually by the Center for European Studies Forum at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. This is a unique chance for university students from Turkey and Europe to meet each other as well as politicians, bureaucrats, academics, NGO representatives and leading journalists. This year, the topic of the tenth EWS was “EU’s Chronic Dilemma: Migration”. Young people from Italy, the UK, Ukraine, Germany, the Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Kosovo, the USA, Canada and Poland attended it.
Three days of EWS were filled with interesting workshops, presentations and discussions. During the first day we debated the issue of “The Impact of Rising Conservatism on Migration and Immigrants”. Moreover, I had a chance to listen to speeches on “Tales of Immigration Cities” by Joost Lagendijk, a former Green Left Member of the European Parliament and Tansel Kaya, Member of Parliament of Metropolitan City Istanbul. Then, I attended workshops and listened to other significant guests’ presentation. In the end of the day, we all were invited to Cocktail Prolongé which was part of social activities prepared for participants. The next day we continued with the workshops. Another panel sessions on “Expectations and Experiences of New Member and Future Member States on Migration Issues” and “Migration Policy of the EU in the Light of Arab Spring” were presented and then discussed by participants. Interestingly, we were given a chance to attend Ferry Party on the Bosphorus. It was an amazing experience to admire the beauty of Istanbul from the ferry. During the last day, I listened to the presentation of students from Boğaziçi University concerning politics of Turkey, its relations with EU and Turkey’s Migration Policy. This topics led to a truly lively debate. We all were extremely curious about the possibility of Turkey’s accession. Next, chosen participants of our group presented summaries of EWS.
Taking part in EWS was valuable experience. I am pleasantly surprised by the way it was organized. During EWS we had the time for study and for leisure. Because of such a wide range of views were expressed, I have a broader idea on how to address the question of migration. I was given the opportunity to listen to and discuss extremely interesting presentations prepared by professionals in the migration field. Everybody had a chance to voice its opinion and pose questions to experts. I have exchanged views with students from so many different countries and therefore I can look at the migration issue from different perspectives. We unanimously agreed that migration is a significant matter. As Hakan Yılmaz, director of Boğaziçi University Center for European Studies said, migration is so important as it produces knowledge, perceptions and opinions.
Moreover, due to social events organized by EWS I have became acquainted with other cultures and enjoyed the unique atmosphere of Istanbul. I have spent more than a week in this amazing city and I am besotted with it. This city is a clash of civilizations and this makes it even more interesting. By any measure, staying in Istanbul in terms of intellectual, social and cultural events was an unforgettable experience. I am looking forward to going there again. I will do it with the view to not only attending EWS but also to looking at Bosphorus at night…