Syrian Refugee Children Course

Published Date: 
19 November 2014

Celebrating the end of Syrian Refugee Children Course on Science from Muslim Civilisation
Organised by iGETEV Istanbul and FSTC (UK)
Sunday 16th November 2014 – Tuesday 18th November 2014
11.00 am onwards GMT+2
Report by Sairah Yassir-Deane (FSTC).

The course

As part of a Pilot scheme, FSTC (UK) and iGETEV (Istanbul) launched a course for teachers of Syrian Refugee Schools in Istanbul. The course aimed at bringing awareness to children of scientific contributions made by male and female scholars from Muslim civilisation. The content of the curse was based on the 1001inventions book and the 1001inventions educational resources. The course organiser was Mr Abdul Rahman Al-Nahar, a lawyer and writer of science who originates from Syria. All together six schools subscribed to this program. A celebration event was organised nearing the end of the program by setting up an exhibition completely made by the pupils under supervision of their teachers and Abdul Rahman Al-Nahar. 

The event was a resounding success attended by dignitaries such as the Mayor of Fatih, District of Istanbul, the two daughters of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, families of the students as well as Turkish families who supported the project. For photographs of the event click here. Students giving hope to young Syrian refugees Müslüman Medeniyetin Altın Çağı’ sergisi açıldı

Slide Show:


1.      Welcome

On both Sunday 16th and Tuesday 18th, Abdelrahman Al-Nahar, course organiser, formally welcomed all and gave thanks to the attendees. On Monday 17th however, a Fatih Belidiye (municipality) representative, welcomed and thanked all. Speeches that followed were delivered by Professor Rafet, Esra Albayrek and Mustafa Demir. The speeches delivered dealt with the importance of relaying all civilisations history and how this will create a more unified Middle East and world.

2.      Exhibition

“The Golden Age of Muslim Civilization” exhibition

Judging that the exhibition was constructed on a modest budget with limited sources and staff, it seemed highly professional in both layout (posters, props, video) conduct of iGETEV and Syrian school volunteers. The exhibition appeared easy to follow; the posters were designed from afresh and appeared to be high quality in terms of presentation and content. The students were split into pairs of 2-3, of which one would offer general knowledge/interpretation for visitors whilst the other (of whom on occasion spoke Turkish/English) was assigned a personality/invention from Muslim Civilisation and explained it in greater detail. There were also games available, Arabic coffee to drink, and an impressive recreation of the Elephant Clock amongst many other things for visitors to gain a more “hands on” alongside memorable experience.

3.      Re-enactment of “1001 Inventions and The Library of Secrets” and other role play

The first role play students undertook was the re-enactment of the “1001 Inventions and The Library of Secrets” sketch. Although it was delivered in Arabic, there were Turkish captions that followed. The students’ costumes were generously donated by the Moroccan Embassies wife and their lines were rehearsed very well - not one of them missed a cue and seemed very confident when presenting to the public.

Other role play included another short sketch in which two students discovered other scientists/inventors from Muslim heritage such as Khalid, the man who is said to have stumbled upon coffee seeds in Abyssinia and Fatima al-Fehri who is believed to be amongst one of the first women and people to found a mosque-university complex. The final sketch resembled a talk show style where one student acted as a presenter and the other two acted as guests.

Overall, the students demonstrated a notable ability to not only learn but share their knowledge on scientists from Muslim Civilisation.

4.      Official launch and gift ceremony

On the Sunday, gifts were presented to the students in recognition of their efforts whilst flowers were presented to dignitaries on the Monday by students. School coordinators/representatives shared brief thanks and words concerning the exhibition, gave thanks to all those involved and attended on the Sunday whereas iGETEV members attended on the Monday. The dignitaries cut the ribbon and officially launched the exhibition on the Monday.

5.      Comments from Zeynep Kandur, Senior at iGETEV, and Abdelrahman concerning the exhibition and future projects

Mrs Zeynep Kandur seemed very happy with how the project was progressing and stated that locals had received the project well. She mentioned that it helped people from the Middle East and Muslim majority cultures take good examples to fortify themselves, their locality and country they reside in.

It was evident that a lot of hard work and effort had gone into the exhibition and Audience members appeared to be very impressed with how the event was executed, giving particular praise of Abdulrehman’s efforts. Whilst conversing with the children, they mentioned how much they enjoyed the course and learning about different scientists from Muslim Civilisation. Abdelrahman mentioned how children that he could not recognise in the street would shout Muslim scientist names out to him in excitement. He further continued to commend the efforts of the students with a special mention of one girl named Ferdows, of whom after observing the “Elephant Clock”, designed her own.

Abdulrahman presenting gifts to the students

Instructor Abdulrahman Al-Nahar with Syrian refugee children at a science awareness course in Istanbul 

The artist behind the Women of Science panels, Sümmeye Erdoğan, Esra Albayrek, Özlem Zengin, Nilüfer Demir, Mustafa Demir, Prof. Dr. Rafet Bozdoğan, Abdalrahman Alnahar, Zeynep Jane Kandur, Dr. Hamza Kandur