The American Turkish Society (ATS) in New York City actively supports Global Friendship Through Space Education (GFTSE) and 6-Day international summer programs at Space Camp Turkey, along with its many other cultural activities.
"We believe that SCT programs offer a unique opportunity for international cooperation and greater understanding among students and chaperones from different backgrounds" says Ms. Selen Ucak, Executive Director of the American Turkish Society. (Left to right teacher Tina Brunson, Selen Ucak, and intern Khadim Niang.
ATS, the oldest and most prestigious American Turkish organization in the U.S., usually sponsors an intern student to participate in E-Pal Week at Space Camp Turkey. Thanks to this sponsorship, American participants are able to take the opportunity to see the cultural beauties of Turkey and meet other people from around the globe.
Intern student Khadim Niang and teacher Tina Brunson from New York City were sponsored by the ATS to attend the 6-Day international camp, July 4-10. Ms. Selen Ucak, ATS Executive Director, toured the Space Camp facility and learned more about the camp from students and chaperones.
Ucak stated that ATS has been supporting the activities of the GFTSE foundation for the last five years and that they are happy to sponsor a teacher and a student to participate in a 6-Day international summer camp program. "As a part of their education programs aiming to facilitate cultural exchange between Turkey and the
U.S., ATS partners with GFTSE to support the participation of students and teachers from New York City. We hope that our contribution can grow in the future as we encourage more support from our members and friends in the program. In addition to the sponsorships, the society offers opportunities for Space Camp alumni to share their experiences in Turkey with others through meetings we hold in New York City," explained Ucak.
GFTSE has paired many schools from different countries through the Partner School Science Program (PSSP) which has been organized every year since 2003. The project involves development of common projects by participant students with NASA's digital educational documents. Partner schools from different countries share their work with each other and NASA experts through videoconferences. Students take part in a special 6-Day international summer camp program at Space Camp Turkey, also known as E-Pal Week.
GFTSE Programs Manager, Tolga Yildirim, who is directing the whole process from pairing the schools to arranging their participation, said, "we have worked with 42 schools from Bulgaria, China and Israel along with Turkish and American schools since the first day of PSSP in 2003. American Turkish Society's support to participants from the US and to Partner School Science Project is adding another dimension to our international program. Our goal is to offer 'global friendship' opportunities to more students and teachers from US at Space Camp Turkey with this support. This year 25 students and teachers from US participated in the E-Pal Week July 4-10, other than the participants with ATS sponsorship."
Space Camp Turkey, an international training center, develops cognitive and personal skills of students with hands-on training in space technologies, and promotes cultural awareness through special events. During this year's E-Pal Week, teacher Kristy Mall from Tennessee pointed out the importance of cultural events and global friendship through space education.
"I cannot tell you how impressed I am with this program. To see it in action is phenomenal. I have seen the children grow emotionally and socially in ways I never imagined. You are planting the seeds of knowledge, open-mindedness and worldwide acceptance. Congratulations for a wonderful accomplishment." she said.
Space Camp Turkey's two, five and six day programs are offered in English and Turkish and attract more attention every year from Turkey and other countries. Since June 2000, Space Camp Turkey has welcomed over 95 thousand students and adults from 45 different countries.