On 5 January, during her Official Visit to Turkey, the UNESCO Director-General met with Minister of National Education, H. E. Nabi Avci, in Ankara.
The Minister thanked Irina Bokova for coming to Turkey and for the strong state of cooperation between UNESCO and Turkey, notably in education, Discussion followed on the work of the Government to introduce ICTs into education -- with the planned introduction of 10.6 million laptops to high schools over the next three years.
The Director-General presented UNESCO's work in this area, including in Open Educational Resources, and invited the Minister to share Turkey's experience at the forthcoming UNESCO Mobile Learning Week.
The Minister and Director-General explored the possibility of greater support to UNESCO from Turkey -- including on staff secondment and through the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency.
Discussion was pursued on the importance of teacher training, which the Minister said was a current priority of the Government. Irina Bokova noted UNESCO's wide experience in this field, and the Organisation's contribution to the post 2015 global development agenda.
The Director-General and Minister explored the issues facing Syrian refugees, especially in education -- 200,000 of whom are being schooled by Turkey, in existing and new schools. Irina Bokova presented UNESCO's work in this respect across the region and noted the Organisation was ready to cooperate ever more with Turkey.
In closing, the Director-General thanked the Minister for the support of Turkey and looked forward to ever stronger engagement this year, including to celebrate UNESCO's 70th anniversary.
On the same day, the Director-General met with the President of the Turkish National Commission, Professor Dr. Öcal Oğuz. This meeting provided an opportunity to review the state of cooperation between UNESCO and Turkey and also to look forward.
On 5 January, Irina Bokova also had the opportunity to visit the Headquarters of Turksoy, the International Organisation of Turkic Culture, where she was greeted by Secretary-General Duisen Kaseinov and met with a number of members of the Organisation. The meeting provided an opportunity to explore the need for ever deeper dialogue between and within all cultures today.