March 25th, 2014
On March 22, 2014, “Turgut Özal” Educational Institutions, with the special support of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, in collaboration with Epoka University, the University of Arts and Memorial International School of Tirana, organized the First International Youth Cultural Festival, an event which aimed to promote Albanian culture in the international arena and to bring to Tirana the attention of young people of our region. This international event included features of Albanian tradition and offered a wider range of other traditions, as an open window into the culture of our region. Different musical parts such as songs, dance and poetry accompanied the guests for about two hours.
In his welcoming speech, the Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, Mr. Erjon Veliaj, praised the invaluable contribution of Turkish Colleges in Albania over the past two decades, considering it as the most important investment in the future of our country.
Welcoming the participants from different Balkan countries in this Festival, Mr. Veliaj thanked the executives of these institutions who have dedicated their efforts and hard work in educating future generations. "You have not chosen to invest in roads, bridges or in the construction sector. You have chosen to invest in one of the most difficult sectors, which is also the most important, the education of generations. Turkish Colleges, besides quality and standards of teaching, give a special importance to the cultural education of the future generations. The best investment is the investment in human capital. I express my deepest gratitude for the education of over six thousand students, who currently are studying in the Turkish Colleges network and those who will be educated in the future", Mr. Veliaj said. During his speech, Mr. Veliaj also emphasized the importance of culture in bringing people together. "The festival was attended by students from Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and beyond. Albania, thanks to Turkish Colleges, even though for a single day, has become a center of culture in the Balkans. I wish you further success in organizing such activities in the future", Mr. Veliaj stated.
Meanwhile the Rector of Epoka University, Prof. Dr. Remzi Altin, during the press conference preceding the festival noted that "we feel proud that we support such an activity, which aims to promote cultural diversity and a better mutual understanding of our cultural identities and traditions. We believe that this is key to consolidating co-existence, mutual dialogue and welfare not only in our region but also beyond. University as a word derives from “universe” so our institutions as such have to act as the main proponents of multiculturalism and universal values. By acting as such, universities can also greatly contribute that our youth is equipped with the appropriate values and skills to meet the challenges of an ever globalizing world”, Prof. Altın noted.
During the festival, students from Balkan countries such as Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, etc. performed folk dances from various provinces of Albania and different continents like Asia, Africa and Europe. Turkish College students also performed popular songs in several languages, English, Italian, Greek and Macedonian. The students recited two poems dedicated to the mother as well.
The International Youth Cultural Festival continued with the sharing of awards for Turkish and Albanian songs, and was completed with "A New World" song performed by all student participants in this program.
The International Youth Cultural Festival comes as a continuity of international festivals of music, language and literature which is organized by the students who attend the schools of “Turgut Özal” Educational Institutions in 160 different countries. These festivals are the best opportunity to experience together different cultures, languages and different traditions, based on harmony, tolerance and understanding. Therefore, a new world will rise in the friendly relations between people, religions and cultures.
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