THE STORY OF INTERNATIONAL WORLD LANGUAGES UNIVERSITY
THE BIRTH OF A UNIVERSITY PROJECT
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOURNALSIT AYDIN ELMACI
A. Mr. Elmacı, could you introduce yourself to us?
B. I was born in Ünye in 1966. I have been a journalist for about 30 years, 14 year of which was in İstanbul in different newspapers and journals as correspondent and author. I worked in the office of press counsellor department of Ünye municipality for a long time.
A. The number of foundation universities in Turkey has increased greatly. The topic of special field university (Technology University, University of Medical Sciences, etc.) is always brought forward and it is an ongoing process. At this rate, it is obvious that the number of private foundation university will increase day by day. In this context, why International World Languages University?
B. First and foremost, it is necessary to state that according to the investigations and scientific research, 6 billion dollars is spent on language learning in Turkey including middle education, high schools, private language courses and those going abroad specifically to learn language. The expenditures at higher education level are not included to this amount. According to foreign language learning indices, Turkey’s rank, although high level of the above amount, is 44 in 45-46 countries in English learning. Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden Denmark, and etc.) are on top of success rate. ÖSYM ( Student Selection and Placement Center) often announces statistical data with reference to tests of Turkish. When it comes to university entrance exams, it is not wrong to say that mother tongue teaching is heartbreaking. I am not saying this. The results of scientific research says so.
Consequently, such a university is a need, it is a reality coming from Turkey’s conditions.
As for internationalism, such a university can be established under the sponsorship of YÖK ( The Council of Higher Education) as a state university. However, it is necessary that such a university should be established as a foundation university since there should be international investors and partners, instructors from other countries should be hired to teach every language on semester base or for long run and their wage policy should be arranged officially.
A. well Mr. Aydın, did the name of this university emerge immediately or did it become clear according the common decisions taken by business world and academic circles?
B. The name of the university and its birth appeared in Sinop at International Black Sea Congress (2012) organized by KATÜDER. At this congress, participators from nearly 19 countries presented papers. During the congress, our distinguished academic friends made valuable contributions to the process. After the congress I went back to Ünye. I worked on Ünye 2023 project. Meanwhile having talks with Ordu Univesity, other universities in the region and governors, I prepared projects on the development and culture of the Black Sea region. Among these projects was the Ünye 2023 project. With reference to Ünye 2023 vision, we carried out field research on food, culture, agriculture, tourism and education. We continued our talks with Asst. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Güngör about the projects. While we were insistently concentrating on what could be done in Ünye concerning education, the establishment of a Turcology Institution (Establishing a Turcology Institution here and giving service to foreign students) was decided.
However we understood that this would seem narrow-scoped in Ünye-2023 vision. Mr. Güngör stated that he had worked in Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages in Almaty in 1993 and International World Languages University can be founded in Ünye. At first, I didn’t think that this university could be founded in Ünye or in Turkey. However after doing some research about it, we found out that there was no reason to prevent this. Moreover, we knew that Mr. Tayyip Erdoğan who was the prime minister at that time, supported DOKAP, which was founded to foster educational and cultural development of the region, and also encouraged the local businessmen about preparing some plans and projects for the development of this region. We never thought that the state institutions would take a dim view of such kind of projects.
Meanwhile Mr. Güngör started working in Giresun University. And we started discussing this issue more often. Then we included this university project in the election program of Ahmet Çamyar who was the mayoral candidate for 2013 local elections.
A. What are the latest news about this university project?
B. Before giving the latest news, I’d like to talk about the steps we have taken in this process. Immediately after the election, we started the work for founding the International Cultural Valley Foundation because such a university could only be established under the roof of a foundation. Then we wrote the regulations of the foundation. I want to emphasize that the members of the foundations were above our expectations. The board members included lots of experts such as an experienced bureaucrat who had worked in various positions such as TOMER secretary in Anatolia University, institute secretary, faculty and university secretary for 35 years; managers and teachers who were experts in infant school and secondary education areas; academicians who established and worked in offices in Turkey and in some foreign countries about foreign language teaching; businessmen from İstanbul and from different regions of Turkey; government officers; and even some people from constabulary. The lists of the Board of Directors, Supervisory Board and the Board of Trustees were prepared and after notarization sent to General Directorate for Foundations. The founder members were carefully selected so that there was no one that our state and government wouldn’t approve. Our team has an amateur spirit as well as consisting of professional members. We visited the General Directorate for Foundations, and had a meeting with the authorities there. Bünyamin Kaya, Assist.Prof. Dr Ahmet Güngör, Asisst. Prof. Dr Fikret Uslucan, Kamuran Yılmaz- kindergarten manager, İsmail Irmacık-Secondary Education Expert- participated in this meeting as the managers of the foundation to be established. During the meetings some ideas about establishing the university in İstanbul, Ankara or Antalya emerged. However we emphasized the necessity of founding this university in the arms of mother nature like “Platon Schools” in Blacksea Region(in Ünye) which is a perfect part of the country having an easy access by air, sea and land transportation rather than founding it in the city centers that already having lots of universities, even more than needed.
A. As we know, the financial and political connections play an important role about the university. Have you made progress about these?
B. The most important issues are these indeed. Right after the notarization of the regulations of the foundation, Mr. Bünyamin stated that we shouldn’t rely only on political connections and he suggested that small- medium businesses that would work in the areas such as education and tourism should immediately be opened under the roof of this foundation. By this means, an office would be opened and the meeting and stationary expenses of the foundation would be defrayed. Unfortunately, the foundation process was delayed because of the broken promises of the politicians and businessmen. Nevertheless we didn’t stop our efforts. Putting all aside, we had meetings with the manager of the World Union of Ahıska Turks twice in Sinop and five or six times in Ünye. We stated the reasons why Ahıska Turks Union should establish this university in Turkey. The Manager invited us to Almaty and İstanbul to discuss this issue further. However we didn’t hear from him later.
A. Do you think the process of the foundation of this university has come to the end?