Macedonian President Meets Turkish Rectors at CoHE

February 21, 2018 / CoHE-Ankara


Macedonian President Dr. Gjorge Ivanov has been holding official talks during his visit to Turkey, which was realized at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He paid an official visit to CoHE at the invitation of CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç.


CoHE President Saraç invited Macedonian President Dr. Gjorge Ivanov to the Council of Higher Education during his visit to Macedonia that took place on October 20, 2015 and President Ivanov answered in the affirmative.


In this context, President Ivanov of Macedonia met with the rectors of Turkish universities at the conference entitled "Challenges and Opportunities in Higher Education in Third Millennium" that took place at CoHE.


He was welcomed with the dance performance of the Seymen dance group of the Ankara Club Association at the protocol entrance of CoHE. Then he signed the Book of Honor of CoHE, which was placed at the entrance of the office of CoHE President.


Following the signing of the Book of Honor, CoHE President Saraç and Macedonian President Ivanov held a meeting to discuss the relations between the two countries in the field of higher education.


Before the conference, CoHE President Saraç gave a dinner in honor of the Macedonian President.


In addition to CoHE President, Ankara Governor Ercan Topaca, the Macedonian delegation including the Ambassador of Macedonia to Ankara, Ambassador of Turkey to Skopje, CoHE members, rectors of Turkish universities and the related academics participated in the event. Pianist Prof. Dr. Yeşim Alkaya Yener, violinist Prof. Dr. Ebru Karaağaç and baritone Prof. Dr. Hasan Yener had a musical performance at the opening of the conference.


CoHE President Saraç and Macedonian President Ivanov delivered a speech after the performance.


CoHE President Saraç began his speech by stating that he was honored to receive President Ivanov of Macedonia in Turkey and at the Council of Higher Education.


He stated that he wanted to make a brief introduction about the academic background of President Ivanov which is the foundation of his successful political career and said, "Dr. Ivanov earned a Master's degree for his studies on civil society in political science and earned a Ph.D. degree for his studies on building democracy, which is particularly focused on the Republic of Macedonia. Dr. Ivanov, who teaches political theory and political philosophy, had a role of introducing new discussions and methods to the Macedonian academia during the restructuring of Macedonian universities."


CoHE President emphasized that they, as the new CoHE, changed the image of the Council of Higher Education, which used to be a central institution that only established rules and facilitated the coordination of the system, adding that the opinions of the Macedonian President would provide Turkish academics, especially those working as administrators, with seminal ideas as the President is closely interested in the philosophy and method of higher education and the building of the future of higher education.


He noted that they reconstructed the Council of Higher Education as an institution that shares its duties, closely follows all the academic developments in the world, and tries to make the academia a system that constantly renews itself for the future of Turkey and said, "We made changes that have been expected in the Turkish higher education system for decades. These changes will lead Turkish universities to a more competitive environment at all levels, place quality in the center of growth in higher education, ensure that CoHE will take decisions in a more open and sharing manner after transferring some of its authority, promote the process of producing knowledge and training researchers and develop the relations between Turkish universities and the business world."


Macedonian Language and Literature Program to be Offered as Undergraduate Course in Turkey


CoHE President stated that the academia of both countries are structures that are open to innovation, catch up with the changes happening in the world and strive to ensure that the changes are favorable and respectful to the common values of humanity and said:


"Therefore, the cooperation between Turkish and Macedonian universities is very valuable and meaningful for us, the members of both academia who look at the same region from different perspectives, struggle with similar problems and hope for the best for their countries.


Today, I urge our esteemed rectors and academics to promote our relations with the friendly country of Macedonia in higher education.


Mr. President, I would like to take this opportunity to announce a decision of the Council of Higher Education that will contribute to the friendship between the two countries in your presence.


The decision-making process for the Macedonian Language and Literature program that will be offered at undergraduate level at Ankara University, one of the oldest and powerful universities in Turkey, was completed this week."


Click here to read the full transcript of the speech made by CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç. (In Turkish)


The President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov started his speech by saying that it was indeed a great honor to be with the most important academics of Turkey as a university professor other than being the President of the Republic of Macedonia.


He stated that young people were more interested in new online courses and distance learning rather than traditionally-taught courses and that they mostly acquired their knowledge and skills through the internet, which is a global and digital library, instead of university libraries. He added that they spend less time reading the classics and focus on short and popular content that explains complicated theoretical and scientific concepts, underlining that education, higher education in particular, is a milestone in such situations.


President Ivanov said that education, which used to be one-sided, had become two-sided and that people gradually leaned towards the main purpose of higher education, which is not the direct transfer of information but rather the way information is acquired and implemented.


Macedonian President noted that the Humboldt model did not serve the purpose of educating the new generations in the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Turkey and said:


"The digital transformation of universities has set the conditions for personalized work programs that are carried out through technology parks in order to help raise competent individuals for the fourth industrial revolution. The fourth industrial revolution is a possibility for generations to come together to shape the new world. We need to transform universities into multiversities, instead of increasing the number of universities.


The Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Turkey do not merely need university buildings and campuses. Instead, they need to establish real universities that will help young people to achieve success with all their potentials in the 21st and 22nd century. Universities should build new, sustainable, digitized, energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly Europe 2.0."


Following the speeches, CoHE President Saraç presented President Ivanov with Mehmet Tahir's three-volume book, a book series that Saraç edited himself, entitled "Ottoman Authors" which introduces the Ottoman scholars that produced works on disciplines such as history, literature, medicine, mathematics and geometry.


The conference entitled "Challenges and Opportunities in Higher Education in Third Millennium", which was organized by the Macedonian President, took place after the presentation of the gift.


President Ivanov, a professor of history and political sciences, and CoHE President Saraç shared their views on the steps to be taken regarding the recent developments in higher education in the changing world and answered the questions of the participants.


After the conference, they chatted with the Macedonian students that are receiving education in Turkey.