Our University Carries its Technical Knowledge to Djibouti
Apr 27, 2017

Our university, which has more than two hundred years of accumulation in technical education, is carrying it to different corners of the world. The "Bilateral Business Alliance in Education" signed between our university and the University and Djibouti, which recently attracted the attention of foreign investments both due to infrastructural deficiencies and population saw a group of our faculty members from different departments visiting the country to lay the groundwork for a first stage education program and to teach classes in the African country of Djibouti. Within the scope of the agreement, the 1st cycle of undergraduate programs in Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering that we carried out in the country has also successfully ended. In addition, our faculty members who went to Djibouti 3 times during October-December 2016, implemented a lesson schedule that was condensed into one week sessions. The last program on Dec. 25-30, 2016 was given by of School of Foreign Languages Director Prof. Dr. Burçkin Dal and Civil Engineering Department Head Prof. Dr. Kadir Güler also attended. On these visits, Prof. Dr. Burçkin Dal's initiatives were successful and it was agreed that, with the support of our university, Turkish education alongside English will ve provided at Djibouti University in the next semester. At the end of the courses given by Department of Electrical Engineering Prof.Dr. Şahin Serhat Şeker, Advisor to the Rector and Geological Engineering Department faculty Asst. Prof. Dr. Gülşen Uçarkuş, and Assistant Professor of Geomatics Engineering Asst. Prof. Dr. Serdar Bilgi and Assist. Prof. Dr. Barış Erkuş between October 30 and November 4, 2016, our university completed its first semester of education in Djibouti with the administering of final exams. Along with this last visit, new curricula for the second semester were also created and presented to the Rector of Djibouti University. Professor of Geology Engineering Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gürsel Sunal transferred knowledge in this field to Djibouti university students I with her "Geology for Engineers" course, which she gave between November 21-25, 2016.

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As part of the first stage of the agreement, Prof. Dr. Serhat Şeker, Asst. Prof. Dr. Barış Erkuş, Asst. Prof. Dr. Serdar Bilgi and Asst. Prof Dr. Gülsen Uçarkuş started with an intensive curriculum in the Faculty of Engineering at Djibouti University and began transferring their knowledge to the students. Birol Çetinkaya, a lecturer at our School of Foreign Languages taught English to both language teachers and first-year students. After meeting the academic staff working at the university, our faculty members went on to explore the laboratories. We also donated a large number of electronic publications to Djibouti University, contributing to the University's research infrastructure.

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After visiting the university, our academics were guests of Djibouti Minister of Science and Higher Education Dr. Nabil Mohamed Ahmed in a meeting held at the Ministry where they informed the authorities about the training program they prepared for Djibouti University. Minister Ahmed who expressed his views on the interview, stated the cooperation with our university was extremely important emphasizing that it was exciting for them to have Djibouti engineers being trained by an experienced university that has trained countless engineers who have built Turkey infrastructure. The meeting was also attended by Rector of Djibouti University, Dr. Djama Mohamed Hassan and the Dean of the Engineering Faculty, Abdoulkader Ibrahim Idriss. Sadi Altınok, Turkey's Ambassador to Djibouti, welcomed our delegation and accompanied our academics throughout the trip. The recordings of interviews with the Djibouti authorities were carried out under the coordination of Altan Bal from our Visual Communication and Design Office.

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Dr. Nabil Mohamed Ahmed: “We are happy with the support provided by ITU.”

This agreement, which is one of the most comprehensive training programs our university has undertaken abroad, is closely monitored by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Djibouti. In an interview with Minister of Science and Higher Education Nabil Mohamed Ahmed, he said that Djibouti should make the most progress in the field of engineering, further adding that a dynamic country like Turkey is a role model for them and sated that he was happy to have the support of an educational institution such as ITU, who has trained many highly qualified engineers for Turkey's major projects. Djibouti students, who said that it is a very important for them to experience different communication and education styles, agreed that our academics who encouraged the participation of students in their courses has led them to strengthen their technical knowledge through application studies. Our academics, who emphasized that Djibouti students have an infinite desire to learn and that their effort this direction will be effective in the development of their country, stated that they were very pleased with the attention they received from the students.

Within the scope of the visit, with our Department of Geological Engineering faculty member Assist. Prof. Dr. Gülşen Uçarkuş’s initiative, the Rectorate of Djibouti University organized a field trip to Assal Lake. Considered one of the most important structures in terms of earth sciences, the lake, which is 156 meters below sea level, is also the lowest point in Africa. Assal Lake, the second most salty lake in the world with a 35% salt content, also plays an important role as the tectonic opening to East Africa.

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About Djibouti

Two thirds of the population in Djibouti, East Africa's smallest country, live in the namesake capital Djibouti. Infrastructure deficiencies in Djibouti have increased the need for foreign investment. Since 1977, the country has been ruled as an independent republic, and is inhabited by Muslim Somalis and Afar peoples, who migrated from the Arabian Peninsula about 1,000 years ago. Only 1% of the land is arable, 10% is for grazing, while the rest of Djibouti consists of deserts and rocks.

Despite the Turkish population being very small, a 94% Muslim population is very sympathetic to Turkey. Transportation from Turkey to the country is provided by Turkish Airlines' direct flights seven days a week. In this regard, political, economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Djibouti get stronger every day. Due to the country's goal of becoming a free trade zone in East Africa owing to a geographical position that favors this, the decision to establish a Private Turkish Economic Zone in Djibouti was made thanks to the memorandum of understanding signed in 2014. With the establishment of the special economic zone in question, our business people are expected to reach the East African market from Djibouti.

Despite its small size, due to its critical geostrategic location, economic relations with Djibouti have accelerated since 2012, and thanks to the scholarships offered by our country to Djibouti, we will also be laying the groundwork for cooperation in education. Our university was the first Turkish university to provide training in the country that primarily needs qualified work force in the fields of mechanics, electronics, and civil engineering.