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The First Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in African Studies

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Meliha Nihan Çakır

Hello! This is Nihan from Istanbul, Türkiye. I spent my entire childhood in different towns in my country, from the border with Iran to the Mediterranean coast. These early and direct experiences in highly diverse social settings gave me my first insight into the diversity and coexistence of different social practices. As an undergraduate student, between 2013 and 2019, my local interests gained a global dimension as I studied International Relations at Galatasaray University.  Due to my growing interest in Africa during my bachelor’s studies, I first took the elective African Studies course. The reading and discussions in that course later inspired me to write my bachelor’s thesis titled “From Pastoral Nomadism to the Mobility of Ishumars: Transformation of Tuareg Territoriality.”

In September 2015, I completed an internship at a local NGO in Bamako, Mali. During this internship, I had the chance to visit households and establish direct contact with local people. In 2018, my internship at the Senegal Embassy in Ankara introduced me to “teranga” the Senegalese extreme hospitality. This close and sincere exchanges with Malian and Senegalese people fueled my already existing interest in the diversity of African societies and cultures. 

During my studies and after graduation from university, I have been in close contact with civil society through volunteering and internships, and I wanted to transfer these experiences into my professional career development.  I have been working as the communications and community engagement lead at Embark Project, a unique initiative founded in Türkiye that brings newcomer youth and high-level business leaders to create meaningful connections and challenge the existing narratives.

My primary research interests are sustainable development, mobility, migration and social cohesion, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). I am so happy to be part of EIMAS and looking forward to this learning, unlearning, and relearning journey with fellow EIMASters.



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