By Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
Ethiopian alumni from Turkish universities who are now working in their home country vowed on Saturday to bridge gaps between the two countries.
Ahmed Mohammed, one such alumni who attended a meeting organized by Turkish Prime Ministry's Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) in the capital Addis Ababa, said that he supports Turkish humanitarian organizations which help out communities in distress.
The meeting brought together dozens of alumni, Turkish ambassador to Ethiopia and permanent representative to the African Union, and representatives of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Turkish Airlines, Maarif Foundation and Anadolu Agency.
"The event gave us an opportunity to discuss with the Turkish officials ways to tackle the challenges we face," Mohammed said.
Fatih Ulusoy, Turkish ambassador to Ethiopia, and permanent representative to the African Union, asked the alumni to play an active role in bringing people of both countries closer to each other.
Ulusoy said: “It is very important that Turkish graduates make it to the top of their careers in their respective countries.”
Turkey has 150,000 foreign alumni across nearly 160 countries, said Ahmet Atabas, head of YTB's Corporate Relations and Communication Department.
“Turkey has become one of the largest scholarship-granting countries,” he said, adding that around 500 Ethiopians are currently pursuing higher education in Turkey.
Atabas further highlighted that the number of international students in Turkey has increased by 75 percent in the last decade.
Nusredin Khojele, president of the Turkish Graduates Foundation in Ethiopia, said his organization has been involved in humanitarian, development and educational activities.
“We are teaching our countrymen how to fish, we do not give them the fish,” he said.