On the 6th of May, European Neighbourhood Council (ENC) and Public Policy and Democracy Studies (PODEM) presented their new project on EU-Turkey student mobility and values in a preliminary meeting to a closed group of experts. The on-going project, entitled Understanding Future Values: Youth and Interaction across the EU and Turkey, helps gather and analyse relevant research and data on youth perceptions and socio-political values, including its significance on EU-Turkey relations today. The fourteen-month long project assists in the creation of dialogue platforms among civil society groups, while better understanding how student exchange programs like Erasmus+ impact Turkish and EU students’ social beliefs, value-sets and youth priorities. Measured through interviews and questionnaires, the study examines cross-comparative data from multiple EU countries and Turkey concerning cultural beliefs, prejudice, youth employment aspirations, as well as concepts like democracy.
During the preparatory meeting in Brussels, PODEM and ENC invited ENC Academic Council Members, National Erasmus+ Offices, EU officials and several relevant universities from Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. Samuel Doveri Vesterbye, ENC Managing Director, and Aybars Gorgulu, PODEM Executive Director, presented the research project, while discussing methodological frameworks and questionnaire options with invited academics and experts. Andreas Marazis, ENC Project Manager and Senior Researcher, led the discussion regarding practical surveying and interview implementation and privacy. ENC Academic Council Members Dr. Dimitris Bouris, Dr. Branislav Radeljic and Dr. Panagiota Manoli contributed with detailed feedback about the project’s research design and methodology.
Several studies that link youth perception with student mobility demonstrate the beneficial effects of cultural exchange and cross-country exposure, both inside and outside of the EU. Due to the limited amount of detailed and recent studies on how the European youths perceive Turkey and vice versa, this project aims to complement larger studies by focusing on specific components of values and youth priorities.