A team consisting of Princeton School of Public and International Affairs Department of Sociology Faculty Member Professor Filiz Garip and graduate students collaborated with ASAM with a view to contributing to migration and harmonization studies in Türkiye.
Within the scope of this collaboration, a number of institutions and organizations were visited, including in particular the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Interior Presidency of Migration Management, Istanbul and Eskişehir Provincial Directorates of Migration Management, Eskişehir Metropolitan Municipality, Esenyurt Municipality, Zeytinburnu Municipality Center for Family, Women and People with Disability, Refugee Support Association (MUDEM), and Joaan Technology Inc.
Actors from academia, local administrations, international organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector convened at ASAM Istanbul Dolapdere Representative Office to share their respective experiences regarding “Social Harmonization”.
At the forum entitled “Social Harmonization Through Language, Education and Employment” that was held at ASAM HQ after the meeting, the team from Princeton University was provided with detailed information about the programs implemented by ASAM in the field of social harmonization in Türkiye.
As a follow-up to the meetings, interviews and visits, with the support of ASAM Academy on Migration, ten graduate students from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, whose supervisor is Professor Filiz Garip, developed a guide entitled “Sharing the Future: Opportunities for Social Harmonization in Türkiye”.
The Guide Aims to Facilitate Social Harmonization in Türkiye
Serving as a roadmap prepared in detail based on experiences and interviews, this guide seeks to strengthen social harmonization between the community and individuals, to mitigate difficulties in accessing various services owing to the language barrier, to prevent disinformation disseminated through social media, and to provide recommendations for achieving a harmonization process in Türkiye by combining equal opportunities in education and employment with long-term legal protections.
In the preliminary research and presentation of the report, the issue of social harmonization was given top priority. The guide, which is the product of collective efforts, aims to provide recommendations with the mindset that any progress to be achieved through “social harmonization”, which is defined as progress towards equal participation of asylum seekers living in Türkiye in all areas of social life, requires a holistic approach in which achievements in one area will support achievements in other areas as well.
In the first section of the report, systemic challenges hindering social harmonization, such as funding mechanisms, legal status and misinformation, are addressed under the heading of ‘Structural Barriers’. ‘Opportunities for Action’ section focuses on the matters of strengthening the skills of migrants of all ages to engage with and contribute to their new communities, and examines in detail the factors that will strengthen harmonization in education, employment, language, and media. ‘Opportunities for Action’ section also highlights short- and medium-term recommendations that are believed to be achievable within the existing legal, political, and social context.
The Guide Attracted Great Interest during the Launch Event
The guide entitled ‘Sharing the Future: Opportunities for Social Harmonization in Türkiye’, which was developed in partnership between ASAM Academy on Migration and Princeton University, one of the world’s most reputable universities, and aims to provide guidance in the field of social harmonization in Türkiye, was introduced to national and international actors in the field of migration through an online meeting.
During the launch event, first-hand experiences gained during the fieldwork performed in Istanbul, Ankara and Eskişehir provinces under the project carried out with the supervision of Professor Filiz Garip from Princeton University and in the course of the preparation of the social harmonization guide were shared with the participants. The participants of the online event included officials from the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Interior Presidency of Migration Management, academics, researchers, and representatives of international humanitarian organizations.
ASAM Deputy General Coordinator Ayşegül Yalçın Eriş also attended the launch event, where the importance of social harmonization in Türkiye, the country hosting the largest number of refugees and asylum seekers in the world, was emphasized and the humanitarian aid and psychosocial support activities carried out in the region in the aftermath of the twin earthquakes centered in Kahramanmaraş in February were also addressed. Drawn up by a team of international graduate students with professional experience in the field of migration in many countries across the world, the guide entitled “Sharing the Future: Opportunities for Social Harmonization in Türkiye” outlines principles for the inclusion of various factors that contribute to social harmonization in social programs, and is available at this link.