Winter 2014 Newsletter

IPCE Welcomes Fellow from Turkey 

This fall IPCE had the privilege of welcoming a global perspective to its team. Elif Kalan from Istanbul, Turkey, traveled to the United States in October as part of the U.S. Department of State's Professional Fellows Program. Kalan is a consultant for both the Mobilizing Youth For Child Friendly Cities and the International Youth Leadership Academy projects run through UNICEF Turkey and the Habitat Center for Development and Governance.

Working with IPCE and the Great Cities Institute (GCI) at UIC, Kalan had the opportunity to learn more about each institutes' programming and research activities as they relate to her work back home in the public sector on youth issues and youth governance. In turn, IPCE gained unique insight into how the concept of civic engagement is framed in Turkey and the efforts being taken to more widely and authentically involve underrepresented voices—including those of youth, women, and the disabled—in decision-making processes.

"I participated in almost all the activities planned within IPCE and GCI," Kalan said, "which was very helpful for learning about local politics, approaches to citizenship, [and] the different types of local administration systems. Therefore, I had a chance to compare the limits and works of local authorities here in Turkey and in the US." Back home in Turkey, Kalan is currently at work on 'need mapping' at the district level, the development of which she says has been informed by her experience at UIC.

During her visit, Kalan gave a presentation for IPCE's Lunch Talk series, sharing aspects of her work on helping to establish a culture of youth participation within Turkey and internationally. Her presentation, "Youth Civil Participation Is Not a Request; It's a Must: Why Youth Matter in Local Governance," explored how it is essential that youth become civic actors in their communities; with people under the age of 25 now making up nearly half of the total global population, youth must be proactive in championing their causes and having their interests represented in government. Likewise, public officials should perceive youth as problem-solvers, not problems, and as equal partners in civic life.

Norma Ramos, Director of Marketing and Communications at IPCE, and Teresa Córdova, Director of GCI, will be traveling to Turkey in May for the second phase of the professional fellows program.

Copyright © 2014, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

University of Illinois at Chicago
Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement
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