Iftar Dinner with International Students at CoHE
May 28, 2019 / Ankara
CoHE President Prof. M. A. Yekta Saraç met with international students, who
are far away from their families and are studying at Turkish universities,
at iftar dinner.
In addition to President Saraç, Executive Board Members of CoHE,
ambassadors and education attachés of the countries of the students
attending the event and international students from 135 countries, who are
studying for bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the universities of Ankara,
attended the fourth iftar dinner organized by CoHE.
CoHE President Saraç delivered an opening speech at the event. He said that
international students from 135 countries in six continents of which 49 are
from Africa, 38 from Asia, 32 from Europe, 12 from South America, 3 from
North America and 1 from Australia had joined the iftar dinner representing
their home countries.
“It is extremely significant in academic, social and cultural aspects that
you have chosen Turkey for your studies. We consider your intellectual
knowledge, the dynamics of your home countries as important and precious
richness," Yekta Saraç said.
He noted that countries open the gates of their universities to the
international arena and said, “Exchange of knowledge, social sharing,
digital facilities, increased interest for higher education throughout the
world, access to higher education from all segments of society have
escalated international student exchange in the 21st century.”
He shared some information on international student mobility. He stated
that the number of students studying abroad, which was nearly 800,000 in
the 1970s, had risen to 4,500,000 in 2012 and that they expected this
figure to reach 8,000,000 by 2022.
Saraç said the following regarding Turkey’s internationalization strategy
in higher education:
“Turkey continues to sustain its current relations to reach its target for
higher education strategies in internationalization. We build new
partnerships. As we develop education policies for graduate and
undergraduate international students, we not only adopt humanitarian
policies but also economic ones. The number of international students,
which was around 40,000 four years ago, has reached 150,000 today. There
are students from 182 countries in Turkey. This is the success of
internationalization policy followed by the New CoHE.”
“You will reflect our country’s higher education to the world in the
Saraç reiterated that they took a board decision to abolish the limitation
of international student quota for both public and foundation universities
this year and added, “With this decision, we anticipate better outcomes
without making any concessions on quality.”
“We acknowledge that you are a reference for Turkish universities to become
an international center of attraction. You will reflect our country’s
higher education to the world in the best manner. You will contribute to
the development of both your country and Turkey and the co-existence of
different cultures in harmony and peace.
Besides scholarships offered by the Turkish government, we have created a
new CoHE Scholarship Project for higher education which will be implemented
for the first time in Turkey. In this Project, the first targeted countries
were Pakistan, Kosovo, Albania, Bangladesh, Macedonia, Rwanda, Uganda,
Ethiopia, and Sudan.
We provide education to the students of these countries in the required
fields in coordination with the corresponding ministries. After returning
to their countries, these students will serve in public institutions for
twice the period of their studies in Turkey.”
Saraç said that the CoHE-Turcology scholarships had been granted in
countries such as Sudan and Macedonia and that they would extend the
program this year.
He pointed out that they would play the greatest role in
development-oriented cooperation, solidarity and amicable relations between
the home countries of students and Turkey.
“We hope that the world that will be reshaped in your hands will be
encircled by peace and love. We will support you sincerely in this journey.
I hope you will have fruitful years at your universities. When you return
to your countries, I hope you will imagine what you could do better for
your country, work toward your dreams and never forget the cherished
memories in your other home country, Turkey.”
International students shared their thoughts on Turkish higher
Turkmenistani Didar Badyyev, one of the students in the Department of
Economics at Hacettepe University, said that she had always wanted to come
to Turkey since childhood and that she had been receiving education in
Turkey for four years.
Badyyev emphasized that she had chosen Turkey for her studies because of
the quality of universities in Turkey and said, “The education I received
in Turkey has fulfilled all my expectations. All of our teaching staff at
the university helped me greatly in making me advance in my field of
Libyan Zainab Alabedi, a student in the Department of Interior Architecture
at Atılım University, said that she was glad to be in Turkey and added,
“Turkish people are so tolerant and understanding. This makes us so happy.”
She stated that she came to Turkey because she wanted to learn more about
the Turkish culture which she adores. “There are similarities between my
culture and Turkish culture. That is why I did not have a hard time trying
to adapt to Turkey. I am not feeling like a stranger when I live here,” she
After the meal, Kazakh students sang traditional songs including “Dombra”.
Prof. Halis Aygün, President of OSYM, Prof. Muzaffer Elmas, President of
the Higher Education Quality Council of Turkey (YOKAK), Prof. Mehmet Barca,
Rector of Social Sciences University of Ankara, Prof. İbrahim Aydınlı,
Rector of Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University, Prof. Mustafa Verşan Kök,
Rector of METU, Prof. Haluk Özen, Rector of Hacettepe University, Prof.
Yıldırım Üçtuğ, Rector of Atılım University, Prof. Ali Haberal, Rector of
Başkent University, Prof. Erol Parlak, Rector of Ankara Music and Fine Arts
University, the ambassadors and education attaches of the countries of
international students attended the event.
Students from Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Germany, the USA, Albania,
Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium,
Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria,
Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African
Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, the Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic,
Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea,
Finland, France, Gabon, the Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, the Great Britain,
Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau,Haiti, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran,
Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania,
Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malawi, the
Maldives, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Moldova,
Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, the Netherlands,
Niger, Nigeria, Macedonia, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, the Philippines,
Poland, Portugal, the Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia,
Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden,
Sudan, Syria, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia,
Turkmenistan, Qatar Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan,
Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe gathered at the iftar
After the meal, CoHE President Saraç talked with ambassadors, students, and
Nearly 150 thousand international undergraduate and graduate students from
182 countries are studying at Turkish higher education institutions.