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II Partners Meeting (Iskenderun, Turkey)






Merhaba, Iskenderun*

The second project meeting took place in the beautiful city of Iskenderun and was hosted by Turkish partner ISKENDERUN GAZI ILKOGRETIM OKULU.  The Polish group consisted of 6 people, representatives of various social and professional backgrounds – journalists, III sector workers, local authorities etc. Everyone anticipated the journey to be a tremendous experience and we have to say that every day in Turkey was a unique blend of exotic culture and traditions with a modern state of 21st century.

* merhaba (tr.) – From Ottoman Turkish مرحبا (merhaba) – hello, welcome, to make welcome, to receive graciously

A few words about Iskenderun:

İskenderun preserves the name, but probably not the exact site, of Alexandria ad Issus (İskender being the Arabic rendering of Alexander). The settlement was founded by Alexander the Great in 333 BC to supersede Myriandrus as the key to the Syrian Gates, about 23 miles south of the scene of his victory at the Battle of Issus. The importance of the place ever since has derived from its relation to this pass, the easiest approach to the open ground of Hatay Province and of Northern Syria, and the Romans continued to fight with Persia for control of this area during their era of dominance.

Alexander camped at the high-lands of İskenderun, around Esentepe, and then ordered the city to be established and named “Alexandria”. İskenderun is one of many cities founded by Alexander’s orders, including Alexandria.

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War most of Hatay including İskenderun was occupied by French troops and in 1921 was established as the autonomous Sanjak of Alexandretta within French-controlled Syria. This led to the foundation of the Republic of Hatay. In 1939, the Republic of Hatay joined with the Republic of Turkey, after a referendum.

Iskenderun is located on the eastern Mediterranean coast on the Gulf of İskenderun, at the foot of the Nur Mountains (Amanos Mountains).

İskenderun is a busy commercial centre and is one of the largest cities in Hatay Province, similar in size to the provincial seat of Antakya. The city is one of Turkey’s largest ports on the Mediterranean and an important industrial centre home to the İsdemir steelworks, one of Turkey’s largest. İskenderun has an active, modern life with good hotels, restaurants and cafes along the palm-lined sea front, and there is a variety of accommodation for visitors. İskenderun is also an important naval training base.

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After almost a week of hard work and intense discussions partners agreed on the following aspects of the project implementation. These aspects will be carried out during the next phases of our common initative at every partner organization.


The following books have been selected according to the partner’s votes:

  1. The Little Prince (French: ”Le Petit Prince”) by Antoine de Saint Exupéry – 9 votes
  2. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift – 7 votes
  3. The Alchemist (Portuguese: “O Alquimista”) by Paulo Coelho – 6 votes

Tasks of every partner:

  • Read and discuss The Little Prince for the next partner meeting in Lithuania as part of the local Reader’s Club;
  • Selection of a minimum 3 participants to make comments about the common book in-between the meetings;
  • Participants can make comments in the language they prefer;
  • Partners have to prepare an abstract (translate comments) in English for the upcoming international meeting;
  • Comments of participants should be between from half to 3 pages in length (A4, Times New Roman);
  • Data of participants on the form – minimum Name and Country of origin.

Questions to be asked by partners during project about the book shall include:

  • Did you like the book? (Yes/NO and Why)
  • Did you find the book easy to read – were there any new and complicated words/phrases?
  • Where did you get the book?
  • What do you think was the main idea of the book?
  • What is your favorite character in the book and why?
  • Did this book make you think about your own experience/feelings/emotions – did you find any message?
  • Would you suggest this book to your friends (why)?
  • Did this book or the discussion about the book change any stereotypes you had?
  • Will you read more about the author of the book?
  • Will you read more books of the same author?

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Three logos were proposed by partner organizations from UK, Turkey and Poland. The results of the voting and the chosen logo are:

  • 3 votes for Turkish logo (the official project logo)
  • 2 votes for Polish logo
  • 1 vote for UK logo

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Project materials introduced at the Iskenderun meeting included:

  1. Cultural Questionnaire – partners are responsible to test the cultural knowledge of Reader’s Club participants. Cultural Questionnaire can be amended by a partner but must include questionnaires about all the partner countries.
  2. ICT Questionnaire – partners are responsible to test the ICT knowledge of Reader’s Club participants. The partners should use the proposed ICT questionnaire.
  3. Migration stories – partner are responsible to gather the partner stories of project participants. All partners agreed on using template based on a sample proposed by Italian partner (Association Pronexus). Migration stories will be gathered throughout the project implementation.
  4. CV samples – partners will introduce examples of CV written by project participants at the next meeting in Lithuania. Coordinator will prepare an independent biography for a female and male and participants will have to prepare their CV’s. At 3rd international meeting some CVs will be compared and analyzed.
  5. Video interviews/Movie – based on the 2nd international meeting a short movie will be prepared describing the project and its main goals.
  6. Website – partners decided to proposed new domain for the project www.readerclubs.org – the website will be maintained by Turkish, Polish and UK partners. Project materials and partners’ information will be uploaded on the website as soon as possible.
  7. Social media – coordinator will create project’s fanpage on Facebook and a Youtube channel after the short movie will be prepared.
  8. CV and skills trainings – for the next 6 months partners will work on CV writing and presentation skills of participants

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3rd Partner Meeting in Lithuania

Next meeting will be held in Rokiskis (Lithuania). The partners decided to meet between 4th and 8th of June 2012. Partners will stay in the town of Rokiskis. The closest and most convenient airports/transit points are Vilnius, Kaunas and Riga.


  1. Officially start the meetings of European Reader’s Club – preferably from 5th of March.
  2. Read and discuss minimum The Little Prince (partners can also discuss Gulliver’s Travels and Alchemist if they will manage) for the next partner meeting – deadline is 4th June 2012.
  3. Gather participants’ comments about the book and translate them if necessary – deadline is 4th June 2012.
  4. Gather CV samples from project participants – deadline is 4th June 2012.
  5. Work on CV writing and presentation skills of participants.
  6. Partners may gather migration stories if possible.
  7. Send Lithuanian partner information about the number of participants coming to the next meeting – deadline is 16th March 2012.

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The cultural programme proposed by the host organization was very interesting, vivid and intense.  For those who came to Turkey for the first time it was an opportunity to get to know better the unique culture and traditions of this amazing country – beginning from cuisine and ending with learning a few of important Turkish words. The partners were able to get to know better the educational system of Turkey by visiting various schools and educational facilities. Among others we also visited mayor Yusuf Civelek to talk about international cooperation in case of city council of Iskenderun. During the last days of our visit a sightseeing trip to Antakya had been conducted. Overall every single participant was overwhelmed by the huge amount of positive emotions he’ had received. Everyone declared a strong desire to return to Turkey as soon as possible – as you simple can’t get enough of this beautiful country.