In a closed door meeting with the vice chancellor and senior staff of the university, Ambassador Soner said that his country’s priority areas is not only limited to economic cooperation but the need to establish strong partnership in other areas such as culture, education, science and technology.
He also said that his visit was symbolic and very important for both countries and emphasised the importance the President of the Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr Alhagie Yahya AJJ Jammeh who also doubles as the chancellor of the University of The Gambia attaches to higher education in The Gambia. Vice Chancellor Kah on his part welcomed Ambassador Soner to UTG and said the university was honoured to receive him which attached great value on the growing relationship between the governments of The Gambia and Turkey which is manifested by the increasing number of UTG staff and graduates being accepted in top Turkish universities.
According to the vice chancellor, the Chancellor Jammeh was impressed with the outstanding performance of Gambian students in Turkish universities and encouraged the UTG to expand its partnership with universities in Turkey.
During his discussion with the vice chancellor, Ambassador Soner highlighted plans to double the number of Turkish scholarships from 18 to 36 and might want UTG to do preliminary selection of Turkish scholarship applications in The Gambia based on academic merits.
Ambassador Soner also said that a delegation from Turkey will visit The Gambia this month in connection with the Turkish scholarships and further discussions will be held on the scholarship scheme. The ambassador stressed that the Turkish scholarships are not limited to only one discipline but it provide quotas from all disciplines and that they plan to increase Turkish-Gambia cultural ties through the UTG.
The vice chancellor welcomed the move and highlighted the numerous language programmes UTG runs at the moment such as Spanish language, French and other languages. The vice chancellor spoke of plans to replicate that with Turkey and said it could be done by establishing a Turkish cultural centre in order to teach Turkish language and culture. He spoke of the need to promote cultural exchanges for both students and faculty members from the UTG and Turkish students come to UTG for a semester or two as well as invite the Turkish cultural troops to be hosted by UTG as is being done with Venezuelan cultural troops.
Vice Chancellor Kah in his closing remarks, thanked Ambassador Soner for his visit to UTG and assured him of UTG’s readiness to collaborate with Turkish universities and also thanked the Turkish government for their unflinching support to the government of The Gambia, particularly in the areas of higher education, research, science and technology.