“Migration, Culture and Gastronomy Summit”, organized within the framework of 5th Congress of United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia (UCLG-MEWA) gathered the representatives of central and local governments along with a great number of non-governmental organizations.
“Migration, Culture and Gastronomy Summit” was held on 20th of April 2016 in Gaziantep, Turkey with the cooperation of UCLG-MEWA, World Academy for Local Government and Democracy (WALD) and Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality. Moreover, the opening ceremony of “The Resettlement of Refugees Project” which is carried out by WALD, was organized during the summit.
Fatma Şahin, UCLG-MEWA President, and Mayor of Gaziantep who gave a speech at the opening of the summit, stated “It is impossible to bear with the dram, the civil war, tears of children in their eyes, mothers losing their children, children left behind without their parents that our neighbors and we have been experiencing for the last 5 years. We have never looked at the events as in a calculative way. We always looked at the events voluntarily and humanely and with the inspiration we took from the history, we executed the message that our belief and civilization gave us. With the understanding of ”the giving hand is better than the one that takes, and the ones who sleep on a full stomach while their neighbor goes hungry are not one of us”, we opened our door, diner table and our heart to our neighbors, to the ones in need, to orphans, and elders”.
“International Society should follow a more inclusive strategy”
Mehmet Duman, Secretary General of UCLG-MEWA and WALD Chairman of the Board, highlighting that migration whose history is as old as the history of humanity, is in a close and intense interaction with political, social, economic and cultural developments, and in that sense civilizations are shaped by migration, also stated that “Migration should be prevented from getting out of control and we should ensure people to live in welfare and stability in their own country. Everyone who bounds countries by migrating between these countries and who strengthens fellowships and friendships actually contributes to the mutual culture of humanity.”
Mr. Duman also stated that the international society should implement a more inclusive strategy which is beyond financial support for Syrian and other refugees.
Touching upon the importance of the dialogue between non-governmental organizations about migration and refugees, Ege Erkoçak, Head of Political Affairs in EU Ministry of Turkey highlighted that “Resettlement of Refugees Project” is very important in this sense.
“Finance and Cooperation with Multi-Actor for Municipalities Facing Syrian Migrant Flux”
After the opening speeches, programs that have been developed for municipalities accepting a great number of Syrian refugees, and works for financing these municipalities were discussed, during the first panel of “Finance and Cooperation with Multi-Actor For Municipalities Facing Syrian Migrant Flux” moderated by Ege Erkoçak, Head of Political Affairs in EU Ministry of Turkey. During the panel, Virve Vimpari, Deputy Head of Economic and Social Development Section of the Delegation of European Union to Turkey, Lady Habchy, UN-Habitat Lebanon Project Support Officer, Gönül Demirel, Deputy Mayor of Zeytinburnu, Gülfem Kıraç Keleç, Director of International Relation Department, Union of Municipalities of Turkey, Simone Giovetti, Project Officer for Middle East at Cités Unies France, and Abdullah Aksoy, Head of Social Affairs Department of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality shared their works about this area along with their experiences.
“The Syrian Migratory Crisis: an Opportunity to Develop Understanding of Urban Migration in the MEWA Region? ”
The second session of the summit “The Syrian Migratory Crisis: an Opportunity to Develop Understanding of Urban Migration in the MEWA Region?” moderated by Adrien Licha, UCLG-MEWA Projects Coordinator, took place with the participation of Kenan Gültürk, Deputy Mayor of Bağcılar, Janette Uhlmann, Janette Uhlmann, Senior Operation Manager at Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), Mohamed Saadieh, President of the Union of Dannieh Municipalities, Meral Açıkgöz, Senior Project Assistant at International Organization for Migration Turkey (IOM), and Murat Akbaş, Field Officer on Mitigating the impact of Syrian crisis on host communicities at UNDP. During the session, migration management in cities in the line of Syrian Migrants was discussed.
“Sustainable Urbanism in the scope of Culture and Gastronomy”
“Sustainable urbanism in the scope of Culture and Gastronomy” was discussed during the last session of the summit moderated by İsmail Reha Arar, Director General of Merit Hotels Group.
During the session, Tülin Ersöz, Head of Istanbul Tourism Workshop in Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Muzaffer Tunçağ, Member of Municipal Council in Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Young Hoon Kwaak, President of World Citizens Organization, Sevda Erdoğmuş, Environment Protection & Control Manager in Alanya Municipality, Anissa Helou, Author, Aylin Oney Tan, Author, and Dr. Mehmet Ragıp Güzelbey, Advisor contributed to the idea of establishing Sustainable Cities within the scope of Culture and Gastronomy with their presentations.