Grundtvig Preparatory visit to Tur Abdin

18-23 March 2010

By Febroniya Atto

From 18-23 March 2010 the Inanna Foundation made a Grundtvig preparatory visit to Tur Abdin. The Grundtvig programme is part of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. Grundtvig aims to provide adults with more ways to improve their knowledge and skills, facilitate their personal development and boost their employment prospects.

Preparatory visits provide an opportunity for education and training institutions to cooperate with their European counterparts in view of submitting future applications under the Grundtvig sectoral programme: Grundtvig Learning Partnerships and Grundtvig Senior Volunteering Projects.

Beside Inanna Foundation (in the person of Febroniya Atto and Jan van Ginkel) five other organisations were represented at the visit: the Syriac-orthodox monastery Mor Efrem in the Netherlands, the Mor Gabriel Monastery in Tur ‘Abdin, Institut de Belgique Syriaque, Assyrians without Borders and the Finland-Assyria Association. The Mor Gabriel monastery functioned at the same time as host of this international group.

Various visits were organised to culturally important sites, which continue to play an important role in the identity of the Assyrians/Syriacs. Furthermore, during these trips various educational centres were visited and local problems and solutions were discussed with the people in several villages. There were meetings with various representatives of the Assyrian/Syriac community in Turkey. The group also met with representatives of the Artuklu University at Mardin, where - for the first time in Turkey - there will be an opportunity to study the Syriac language at MA level.

It is clear that this preparatory visit had resulted in a new network of Assyrian/Syriac organisations and contacts. The network has functioned so far as a new basis fur future cooperation between the various members.