MiReKoc Wednesday Seminar Series by Maissam Nimer 'Language instruction for Syrian adults in Turkey: Analyzing the relation between state institutions and civil society'

Author: Migration Research Center at Koc University (MiReKoc)
Time: 12:00
Location: SOS143

MiReKoc Seminar Series of Spring 2019 continues with Maissam Nimer's presentation on 'Language instruction for Syrian adults in Turkey: Analyzing the relation between state institutions and civil society'. The presentation and discussion will take place on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019, at 12:00, in SOS143. Registration is required for participants not affiliated with Koç University.


'Language instruction for Syrian adults in Turkey: Analyzing the relation between state institutions and civil society'


The massive influx of the Syrian population inside Turkey has amplified the need for greater Turkish language education. However, due to the perceived temporariness of Syrians’ situation, policy related to language education for Syrians has yet to be developed, and language education for this population continues to be on an ad-hoc, on-demand basis with limited capacity. Unlike other fields in which there is already a strong system in place such as health and social assistance, the need to provide Turkish language education to a large number of individuals has only newly emerged. The responsibility for building such a program was thus placed under the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities and the Turkish Ministry of Education’s lifelong learning umbrella. Both are receiving humanitarian assistance through civil society. The aim of the paper is to contribute to the long-standing debate about the role of civil society in terms of public policy. In accordance with the findings from interviews with stakeholders in the field as well as interviews with Syrians who have accessed language training, this paper presents a relational map of language education programs and institutions. Although the map demonstrates that humanitarian assistance for adult language education has been subjected to increased control and centralization, this has not led to the implementation of a long-term, sustainable social policy program. Rather, these efforts continue to be project-based and time- and resource-bound. This paper proposes rethinking the relation between humanitarian assistance and social policies in the light of increased control and centralization over language instruction. This is joint work with Tuygun Oruc.


Maissam Nimer obtained a PhD in sociology at Paris Saclay University in July 2016. In her thesis, she looked at the mechanisms of social and cultural selection that explain the inequality of access to higher education in Lebanon. Nimer’s current work at Koç University deals with the integration of Syrian refugee youth in Turkey. She is the recipient of a one-year Koç University Seed Grant and a Mercator IPC fellow at Sabanci University exploring the role of language instruction in integration of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Nimer teaches courses on the sociology of education at Galatasaray University in Turkey. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and BS from the American University of Beirut.