Prof. Dr. Michael Winkler (Head of the Academic Advisory Board)
Zeynel Korkmaz (Head of the coordination)
Prof. Dr. Vernor Muñoz Villalobos (former UN Special Rapporteur
on the Right to Education – Academic Advisory Board Member)
Prof. Dr. Heinz Sünker (Academic Advisory Board Member)
Rama Kant Rai (Academic Advisory Board Member – National Coalition for Education – India)
Prof. Dr. Alexandre Magno Tavares da Silva (Representant of the Brasilian partner)
Begoña López Cuesta (Representant of the Spanish partner)
Dr. Benjamin Bunk (Academic Advisory Board Member)
Kumar Ratan (PoliTeknik Correspondent in India and South Asia Pacific Region)
Dear Board Members,
Dear Project Partners and
Thank you so much for your time and attention. Since my English skills are limited, first I prepared my speech in Turkish and then one of my friends helped me to translate into English.
In this conversation, I would like to speak with you frankly, thanks to our intimate relationship improved in time. Therefore, I will take up your time a little bit.
In a long-term and assertive engagement, we are traveling together.
Up to now, various organizations and scholars from 9 countries have participated to this project.
I will briefly summarize recent developments regarding the project, and then depict the current stage and our duties accordingly.
In the first few weeks of New Year, Teachers Union in Turkey, Egitim-Sen and Mr. Vernor Munoz participated to our project, and we all saw how this latest news made a positive contribution. We are planning to organize a symposium in October, so we will arrange a hall in the Cologne College, Germany. Yesterday, I sent the draft program of the symposium to all of you.
Two days ago, our colleague Mr. da Silva met with the president of the Federation of Teachers Unions Heleno Araujo personally in the Capital. Mr. Araujo was informed about our project long time ago. You know, the president accepted our invitation, it was a great news.
We also stay in touch closely with our colleague Maria Antonieta Lascuarin from the Mexican Teachers Union. Also, it has been a while since we sent our official invitation. However, we know that colleagues from Mexico highly open up to our project. Since nowadays they are about to elect their board members, they did not have chance to reply yet. After my message on wednesday including the information about the developments in Brasil, Mrs. Lascuarin wrote to me an answer and said “Great news. We are about to join you soon.”
Of course, we have managed to establish various ongoing connections on different levels with teachers unions and universities from many countries. For example Portugal, Ireland, Great Britain, etc.
Now, I will discuss our current phase and awaiting duties.
In general terms, our project is in a turning point of ground breaking works. These ground breaking works will be considered as completed according to the project participation of a specific number of countries, or regions in which significant amount of world population reside. In other words, when the participants of the project will have a common view regarding sufficient legitimacy of the upcoming declaration, the ground breaking works will be regarded as completed.
At the moment, 7 countries from 4 continents are represented in the project officially: India, Brazil, Germany, Turkey, Ghana, Spain and Italy; one fifth of the world population live in these countries. As you know, preliminaries to UN-Sustainable Development Goals took three years; we started our project in January 2017 formally. Therefore, I see that we achieved to get a long way in just one year.
In order to swiftly establish our legitimacy through participations, it’s very important that, you as our partners encourage friendly unions, universities in solidarity, civil society organizations, etc. to be partners with us for carrying our project “Extension of the Human Right to Education – 2018” in their countries.
For this reason, I kindly asked our colleagues Mrs. Lopez in Spain, Mr. Musah in Ghana and Mr. Ratan in India for inviting teachers unions from Latin America, Africa and South Asia Pacific Region respectively by informing them about the project in a detailed manner. Naturally, I would like to ask you for discussing new methods which may come into mind in here; UN, UNESCO, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights are of course important addresses; how do the States and international institutions consider this project concept? Gathering diverse opinions would be useful.
The voluntarily organized project and the efforts of the volunteers supported by their own financial and immaterial possibilities bring a high prestige to our engagement. Obviously, a great surplus has been created thanks to this endeavor. Along with the increasing participants and volunteers, extraordinary opportunities would emerge.
In our current phase, after establishing legitimacy and building coordination units, it can be started to constitute academic advisory boards. As you know, the academic advisory boards will prepare proposal catalogues for the formulation of joint declaration. Of course, now all of our members can decide themselves. If conditions of their countries and their resources are sufficient, they can begin to establish academic advisory boards, moreover this step can serve as a model. This decision is up to you.
There are two important issues we frequently encounter in this project. One is UN-Sustainable Development Goals, and the other is privatization. We are indoctrinated to make declarations on both of them. […] I think it would be better to prepare an international online survey that will reveal the essence of both SDG and privatization, and unearth the opinions of people; of course, the most important aspect is to collect data for our project’s goal.
Such a survey should be conducted primarily among educators and university students since they directly affect from this fact, involve discussions on education, and it’s more easy to reach them. Then, it should be repeated by including broader segments. For this study, among our inner/social circle, we have to find and connect with volunteer professionals that may carry out empirical research and evaluate its results.
In addition, this survey can set a precedent for an international collaboration, and perfection of coordination/cooperation by defining positives and negatives, before the declaration which is aimed as a product of a joint work.
When our current phase is finalized by performing the assigned duties, we can now launch a long-term international campaign.
Humankind should be aware of what is polled before having a vote, in fact they should involve in person to prepare the program that will be voted, only then they would vote in a conscious manner. The most criticized thing in parliamentary democracy is that the voters are not conscious of voting for their own sake.
Launching such a campaign and creating its infrastructure would mean realizing the dream of many humanists.
This campaign will reflect the soul of our project, and extensiveness of informing/enlightening activities will constitute its backbone.
Lastly, I want to share a memory with you. When we came up with an idea for changing the Article 26 of UN Declaration of Human Rights, we shared it with our close circle; and one of our friends said that; “Yes, this Article can be amended, but only after a great battle!”
Anything can come to an end anytime, and everyone or everything may have to start and set out it again from our current point. Humanity, in any case, will live and learn whether it adopt human rights permanently, after or before a big disaster, through a conscious activity based on its free will.
In this determinist time-course, we prefer to leave audience grandstand; and this move indicates a tremendously dynamic situation: I have no doubt that in this project, there is a quality of life which emerges thanks to an engagement occurred in an optimist manner and in harmony with social nature of human. Therefore, cooperating with you in this project is a great pleasure for me.