Japan Turkey Central Asia Friendship Association: 2007 Scholars [2007/12/24]
Scholarship recipients and Ms. Vrboski, a JATCAFA representative (center)
The Japan Turkey Central Asia Friendship Association (JATCAFA, Headquarters: Istanbul) has selected 200 students from Central Asia to receive scholarships for fiscal 2007. The presentation ceremonies were held in Ankara and Istanbul on December 1 and 2. All recipients are from Central Asian countries and are currently studying in Turkey. They will each receive a monthly stipend of 80 Euro for a period of one year, beginning in October.
At the outset of this program, the Turkish government invited students from Central Asia to study on government-funded scholarships. Following that, however a combination of high inflation and the plummeting Turkish lira combined to drive scholars into poverty. Thus, since 2003 The Nippon Foundation provided financial backing for the Environment Foundation of Turkey (EFT), which until fiscal 2005 administered the program. In fiscal 2006, control of the program passed from EFT to JATCAFA. In addition to foundation support, scholarship students also receive a stipend of approximately 80 dollars from the Turkish government.
The 2007 group consists of 76 new students selected from some 500 applicants, and 124 additional students whose scholarships have been renewed this year. Of the 76 new recipients, 20 hail from Azerbaijan, 19 from Kirghiz, 17 from Turkmenistan, 10 from Kazakhstan, and 10 from Tajikistan. The scholars are studying at 14 different universities throughout Turkey. At the ceremony this year, Takeju Ogata, president of The Nippon Foundation, presented each student with a scholarship certificate.
In mid-October, before the selection of recipients, a delegation from The Nippon Foundation visited Turkey to meet the current scholarship students. “It's wonderful that Japan, a distant country, is involved with this program,” said one student. Said another: “Our country is poor. My goal is to eventually study abroad in Japan, a developed nation, to help build a future for our country.”
The overarching goal of the program is to build personnel networks between Central Asia and Japan. “We hope to strengthen courses on Japanese culture and economy and to help students achieve a deeper understanding of Japan,” said Ms. Kyoko Vrboski, a JATCAFA representative.