A New Project “United Nations Of Maltepe: Cultural Integration of the 22 Nations in Maltepe through Music, Dance, Literature and Gastronomy Oriented Activities” Launched

This project was developed and coordinated by Dr. Köksal Banoğlu on behalf of Maltepe District Governorship, supported by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in the partnership of Maltepe University, Yeditepe University, Maltepe District Directorate of National Education and Artists and Art Lovers Foundation. Based on its multinational characteristic and main activity fields, the project was entitled as “United Nations Of Maltepe: Cultural Integration of the 22 Nations in Maltepe through Music, Dance, Literature and Gastronomy Oriented Activities”. The launched project aims to strengthen intercultural communication among 345 foreign children whose ages are ranged from 8-17 years old children from 22 different nations through music, dance, literature and gastronomy oriented activities  The project was launched on April 1, 2019. By means of this project, Maltepe District Governorate intends to promote a widespread awareness of migration, immigration and cultural integration and to strengthen communication between Turkish and refugee/migrant families settled in Maltepe.

The project activities will tap into four different fields: music, dance, literature and gastronomy. In the field of music, we have already established Choir and international Children Choir with 100 Syrian refugee/migrant children and 100 Turkish children in October,  2018. The choir give voice to children’s songs in 5 different languages. In following days, we shall develop a new repertoire, whose content is composed of childhood songs, lullabies and oral play rituals to be collected from elderly refugees and migrants by oral history studies. The data collected will be translated into 5 languages and it will be added to the repertoire of the International Children’s Choir. After editing video recordings, a documentary film will have been produced with the name of “Children’s Songs and Lullabies of 22 Nations in Maltepe”. Composites of choir works and documentary shootings will be done with the support of Maltepe University Conservatory and Maltepe University Fine Arts Faculty.

As for dancing activities, we establish International Folk Dance Group of Maltepe District Governorship, including 50 Syrian Refugee migrant and 50 Turkish children from 10  secondary schools. As far as we are concerned, the first “Multi-national Student Folk Dance Group” will have been established in Istanbul by this project. The performed choreography will involve 22 nations’ folk dances figures. This folk dance group will be trained by the project partner Artists and Art Lovers Association (SASAV).

For literature activities, Multinational Literature Days will be organized for 20 Syrian refugee/migrant families and their children in 5 primary schools in Maltepe. In this event, foreign parents will read stories, fairy tales and story books in their mother tongue and in Turkish language during 40 minutes after school time. The aim of the event is to reveal the common human values in different folk cultures through literature, and to raise awareness of their native and Turkish languages.

By the studies conducted in the field of gastronomy, 40 people from 22 different nationalities living in Maltepe will be familiar with each other’s food cultures. For this purpose, 28 ”Multinational Culinary Workshops“ will be done during next 28 weeks. The first 10-week of workshop activities was planned to introduce Turkish Cuisine with the support of Yeditepe University Faculty of Fine Arts Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Department.

Finally, “Multinational Children’s Choir” and “Multinational Folk Dance Ensemble” will take a stage together in a final show scheduled in 2019, December. The international delicacies resulting from executed culinary workshops will be also exhibited at the fairgrounds of Maltepe Square.

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