TRT World Citizen​ and TRT World Research Centre​ in collaboration with the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), and UNHCR Turkey held a conference on “Higher Education for Students under International Protection” on 30th July 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. The conference focused on the ongoing practices of the stakeholders in the higher education sector and provided insights into the experiences of students under international protection in Turkey.

30 July 2019

Istanbul, Turkey

•Katharina Lumpp, UNHCR Representative in Turkey
• Serdar Karagöz, Chief Editor, TRT World•Shoshana Fine, Visiting Fellow of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and Research Associate for International Studies and Research (CERI)
•Abdullah Eren, YTB President
•Foni Joyce, Co-Chair of UNHCR’s Global Youth Advisory Council • Serdar Karagöz, Chief Editor, TRT World•Prof. Dr. Zeliha Koçak Tufan, Member of the Executive Board of CoHE
• Dr. Kerem Kınık - Chairman, Turkish Red Crescent
•Prof. Dr. Murat Erdoğan, Director of Migration and Integration Research Center, Turkish – German Uni
• Assoc. Dr. Şener Aktürk, Senior Fellow, TRT World Research Centre•Dr. Zeynep Özde Ateşok, Department of Public Administration and Political Science, Istanbul Uni.
• Assoc. Dr. Ulaş Sunata, Center of Migration and Urban Studies, Bahçeşehir University
•Hüseyin Yusuf, Student under International Protection
• Abdullah Sukkar, Student under International Protection
•Ahed Mahmoud Alkhatib, Student under International Protection
•Vidat Bakır, Student under International Protection
•Prof. Dr. Ahmet İçduygu, Director of the Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoc)
•Prof. Dr. Ahmet İçduygu, Director of the Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoc)
•Ahed Mahmoud Alkhatib, Student under International Protection
•Jennifer Roberts, UNHCR Senior Education Officer
•Prof. Talip Küçükcan, Senior Fellow, TRT World Research Centre


According to the recent figures, Turkey currently hosts about 4 million foreign nationals, and majority of whom with around 3.6 million individuals are registered Syrians under temporary protection. Hidden behind these figures, there are individuals with immediate needs including accession to higher education.

Ensuring uninterrupted learning process for the students under international protection in Turkey will prevent the possibility of lost generations and contribute to the social integration. Inclusion of Syrian students in our higher education system and the provision of advanced level Turkish language courses are important parts of the integration process.

In this conference, actors from the public institutions, non-governmental and international organizations, academicians and students from different backgrounds came together and shared their views on higher education. The conference served for creating and enhancing collaboration among the stakeholders. In this way, new approaches and partnerships could be formulated and solutions could be developed to address the challenges facing students under international protection in Turkey with regards to higher education.