International Conference of Good Practices on Refugee Protection

24-26 September 2019

Ankara, Turkey

It’s been a pleasure to meet, share and inspire. We are grateful for all speakers and speakers who enriched the conference with their valuable contributions. A comprehensive conference report will be published within the next months. You may follow up with the updates via this website.

The conference report is published

Declaration of Outcome is Now Published

The declaration of outcome identifying thematic recommendations and strategic priorities put forth during the conference of 24-26 September is now published. Please click to read it.



Meet, Share, Inspire

You are cordially invited to ‘Meet, Share, Inspire: International Conference of Good Practices on Refugee Protection,’ co-organized by Support to Life (STL), Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) and Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH), with support of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. The organizers aim to facilitate knowledge-exchange and experience sharing between organizations working in different geographies, addressing the needs of most disadvantaged persons and groups affected by forced displacement. The 3-day conference will bring together different stakeholders from Turkey and around the world to share their good practices that can be adopted within various contexts including Turkey.


The organizers are interested in hosting a wide variety of practices ranging across the spectrum from macro level policy to field-level practice. The main categories of themes are the following:

  1. Access to rights and services
  2. Child protection
  3. Sexual and Gender-based Violence


Day 1 – 24 September 2019

08:30 – 09:30


09:30 – 11:00

Welcoming Speeches

Sema Genel Karaosmanoğlu – Support to Life Director

Michael Hansmann – Representative to the EU, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe

Claudia Amaral – Head of Turkey Office, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)

Dr. Manuel Paulus – Development Councellor, Embassy of Germany

Mehmet Sinan Yıldız – Deputy Director, Directorate General of Migration Management

11:00 – 12:00

Reception – Digital Exhibition Launch

12:00 – 13:00

Lunch | HiltonSA Hotel – Greenhouse Restaurant

13:00 – 13:30

Child Protection – Keynote Speeches

Emre Üçkardeşler – Chief of Social Policy Section, UNICEF Turkey

Bayram İnce – Director of Child Protection Department, Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services

13:30 – 15:00


Prof. Dr. Pinar Uyan Semerci, Istanbul Bilgi Üniversity


Dilek Kuş, Support to Life

Berivan Çite, Support to Life

Child Protection – Panel 1:

This panel will focus on mental health and psychosocial support activities aiming to improve the wellbeing of children affected by war, conflict or forced displacement. In this panel, 3 good practices from Turkey and one from Lebanon will be presented. Implemented by civil society organizations and public actors, discussion of these projects will also focus social cohesion and case management components.


Pınar Şimşek – General Coordinator- Bir İZ Association

Raed Ataya – Program Coordinator – Development Action Without Borders (as member of Family for Every Child Working Group)

Köksal Banoğlu – General Coordinator – Maltepe District Governorship Foreign Affairs and European Union Projects Office

Zeynep Yanık Can – Clinical Psychologist – Maya Vakfı

15:00 – 15:30

Coffee Break

15:30 – 16:00

Guest Speaker : Cem Demirayak – Child Safeguarding Expert

16:00 – 17:30


Eda Çok Öztürk

Child Protection Program Manager, Turkish Red Crescent


Özlem Çolak, Support to Life

Semih Öztürk, Support to Life

Child Protection – Panel 2:

This panel will focus on advocacy on gender equality and children’s rights under the framework of child protection. 2 good practices from Turkey, one from Thailand, and one from Egypt will be presented. Projects were implemented by civil society organizations and public actors.


David Keegan – CEO – Host International

Christopher Eades – Executive Director – St Andrew’s Refugee Services

Umut Dilara Baycılı – Program Manager – Mavi Kalem Association

Şenay Yılmaz – Chief at Women’s Counselling Centres and Women’s Shelters – Ankara Metropolitan Municipality

Day 2 – 25 September

08:30 – 09:00


09:00 – 09:30

Recap of Day 1 and Introduction to Day 2

Caroline Hüglin, Advisor Conflict & Displacement, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe

09:30 – 10:00

Access to Rights and Services – Keynote Speeches

Neşe Kılıçoğlu – Senior Protection Officer, UNHCR Turkey

Dr. Aydın Keskin Kadıoğlu – Directorate General of Migration Management, Head of Cohesion & Communication Department

10:00 – 10:30

Coffee Break

10:30 – 12:00


Burak Yasar

Migration Expert, Directorate General of Migration Management


Rohat Bingöl, Support to Life

Mahmut Can İsal, Support to Life

Access to Rights and Services – Panel 1:

Good practices from Germany, Canada, the Netherlands and Turkey will be presented. The panel will focus on building stronger relations between refugees and host communities, social cohesion and community-based programming.


Anna Hill – Together Project Co-director – Tides Canada –

Esther Bernsen – Head of Project Management – Ueber den Tellerrand –

Fares Al Qadi – Project Manager – Refugee Company

Ahmet Batat – Deputy Director General – IDEMA

12:00 – 13:00

Lunch | HiltonSA Hotel – Greenhouse Restaurant

13:00 – 13:30

Guest Speaker : Suat Seyitoğlu – District Governor of Yenişehir, Bursa

13:30 – 15:00


Assoc. Prof. Sibel Safi

Dokuz Eylül University, Faculty of Law


Dilek Kuş, Support to Life

Berivan Çite, Support to Life

Access to Rights and Services – Panel 2:

One from the Netherlands, and 3 from Turkey, these 4 projects will reflect on livelihood programming that seeks to create durable solutions, and also projects that focus on access to information. These examples, all focused on increasing refugees’ resilience, are especially for refugee/host-population led mechanisms that reinforce project ownership.



Umut Ali Dede – Chairman/Founder – Okmeydanı Social Assistance and Solidarity Association

Rahaf Saad – Operations Manager of the Women Social Enterprise – Small Projects Istanbul

Pınar Okur – Senior Humanitarian and Development Advisor – Upinion

Erkan Can Çakıroğlu – Program Officer – MUDEM Refugee Support Center

15:00 – 15:30

Coffee Break

15:30 – 17:00


Dr. Özlem Yazlık Alcott

Support to Life Quality Consultant


Özlem Çolak, Support to Life

Semih Öztürk, Support to Life

Access to Rights and Services – Panel 3:

This panel features projects from Hong Kong, Spain and Turkey. The discussions will focus on rights-based and community based protection and livelihood activities. Operations of community centers that provide safe-spaces for refugee and host communities to come in contact, refugee committee mobilizing communities, a sustainability-oriented agricultural training, and a legal support program facilitating refugee’s access to the legal system will be discussed.


Buthaina Rahal – Founder – Syrian Womens’ Committee

Nur Elçik – Community Center Manager – YUVA

Marguerite Kahrl – Co-founder – Permaculture for Refugees

Lynette Nam – Legal Officer – Justice Center Hong Kong

Day 3 – 26 September

08:30 – 09:00


09:00 – 09:30

Recap of Day 2 and Introduction to Day 3

Caroline Hüglin, Advisor Conflict & Displacement, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe

09:30 – 10:00

Sexual and Gender Based Violence – Keynote speeches

Özgül Kaptan – Director – Women’s Solidarity Association (KADAV)

İbrahim Toros – Director of Psychosocial Support for Migration, Disaster and Emergency Situations Department, Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services

10:00 – 10:30

Coffee Break

10:30 – 12:00


Dr. Yasemin Kalaylıoğlu

Researcher & Gender Expert


Dilek Kuş, Support to Life

Rohat Bingöl, Support to Life

Sexual and Gender-based Violence Panel: Good practices from Lebanon, Jordan, India and Turkish will be presented. The panel will focus on humanitarian work facilitating access to rights, specialized services and community-based protection with the principal objective of preventing sexual and gender based violence.


Fatma Hacıoğlu Sarıdağ – Regional Humanitarian Program Manager – UNFPA Turkey

Ghifar Anani – Protection Manager – Basmeh and Zeitooneh

Ala Arafat – Protection Advisor – ActionAid Arab Region

Deeksha Gujral – Legal Consultant – Migration & Asylum Project

12:00 – 13:00

Lunch | HiltonSA Hotel – Greenhouse Restaurant

13:00 – 13:30

Guest Speaker: Anila Noor – New Women Connectors

13:30 – 15:00

Roundtable Discussions [CLOSED TO SPECTATORS]

The 3 roundtable discussions will be organized based on the 3 main themes of the conference and for each of these themes the following topics will be discussed; (1) the added value of localized response, (2) the significance of forming public – civil society – private sector partnerships in humanitarian response and (3) mainstreaming social cohesion activities in all three sectors.

Roundtable 1: Child Protection

Moderator: Eda Çok Öztürk, Child Protection Programme Coordinator, Turkish Red Crescent

Rapporteur: Dilek Kuş, Protection Project Manager, Support to Life


Roundtable 2: Access to Rights and Services

Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Sibel Safi, Dokuz Eylül University, Faculty of Law

Rapporteur: Semih Öztürk, Social Services Expert, Support to Life


Roundtable 3: Sexual and Gender Based Violence

Moderator: Dr. Yasemin Kalaylıoğlu, Researcher & Gender Expert

Rapporteur: Özlem Çolak, MHPSS Sector Manager, Support to Life

15:00 – 15:30

Closure of the Conference

Summaries of Roundtable Discussions

Closing Remarks – Sema Genel Karaosmanoğlu, Director of Support to Life

Regional Overview

200 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance today, an unsustainable increase from 28 million in 2008.[1] An unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from home.  Among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.[2]

In an atmosphere of widespread conflict and crises, protection strategies are also becoming ever more diverse and it is more important than ever to bring together the plethora of actors from different geographies, facing different challenges, to share their experiences of responding to the needs of displaced people and communities.  

Turkey is home to the largest refugee population in the world.  According to official figures as of November 2018, the number of registered refugees in Turkey is almost 4 million, with 3.6 million coming from Syria.  Only around 7% of Syrian refugees live in the refugee camps along the Syrian border, while the remaining 93% reside among the host population in urban, peri-urban and rural areas.  

With the support of the European Union and other donors, Turkey and its people have provided humanitarian aid and protection to the millions of refugees.  Many registered refugees have access to public services, including education and healthcare, as well as the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) benefitting almost 1.2 million refugees in the country as of February 2018.  Despite great efforts, a large proportion of refugees are confronted with the challenge of meeting basic needs, accessing health and education services, and finding decent work. This is caused by obstacles to registration with the local authorities, language barriers, overcrowded facilities, hostilities with the local population, and lack of jobs.

In September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, reaffirming the importance of the international refugee regime and containing a wide range of commitments to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move.  The Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Plan of Action was followed by the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) in December 2018.

The Conference aims to collect a variety of experiences resulting from the CRRF as well as other practices of refugee protection around the world.  It will provide the space for a diverse profile of participants to share and exchange good practices and lessons learnt in the field of refugee protection.  We hope that the Conference will inspire all those that work to improve the lives of refugees and displaced in Turkey, the region and beyond.


[2] Based on UNHCR data (



Eda Çok Öztürk

Eda Çok Öztürk is a graduate of Social Service department of Hacettepe University. Following graduation, she worked in a variety of Special Education And Rehabilitation Centers, as well as International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) as a Social Service Expert and as manager. Between 2005-2007, he worked at Human Resource Development Foundation’s Fener & Balat Rehabilitation program as a coordinator. Between 2007-2014, she worked for The Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV) as a Volunteer Coordination Director. Since 2014, she is working for the Turkish Red Crescent as the coordinator of Child Program, coordinating child protection and psychosocial support activities focusing on children and youth.


Dr. Özlem Yazlık Alcott

Quality Consultant

Özlem has held a range of operational and management roles with Hayata Destek since 2005 in Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. Özlem’s operational experience involves disaster rehabilitation and protection programmes in Iran and Pakistan between 2005 and 2008. Özlem also worked as an enterprise and integration mentor with immigrant women in England. Since 2015, Özlem has been supporting the quality and accountability of Hayata Destek’s programmes in Turkey which focus on refugee support, child protection, emergency response, and capacity building in civil society.

Özlem received her MPhil in Politics, Democracy and Education from the University of Cambridge, UK, MA in Adult Education from Boğaziçi University, Turkey, and PhD in Education from the University of Edinburgh, UK, focusing on community-led and state-provided education activities for women in Turkey.

Özlem has also supervised Masters students at the University of Edinburgh and taught Community Involvement, Introduction to Education, and Programme Development and Evaluation courses at Boğaziçi University.


Prof. Pınar Uyan Semerci

Istanbul Bilgi University

Pinar Uyan Semerci is the director of the Centre for Migration Research and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at Istanbul Bilgi University. Her research interests lie at the crossroads between political philosophy, social policy and methodology in which she focuses on topics relating to universalism, justice, rights, human development, capability approach, participation, citizenship, poverty, migration; collective identity formation (gender, religion and nationalism), othering, populism, and well-being of children. She has coordinated numerous research projects and published on capabilities, migration, othering, populism and child well-being.

Doç.Dr.Sibel Safi

Dokuz Eylül University
Faculty of Law

Safi is an Associate Professor at the area of International Public Law and Refugee Law. She has LLB degree at University of Ankara Law School, MA degree in EU Law, LLM degree in refugee law at East London University and Ph.D in International Law. She is an associate member at the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London. She is the author of ‘Evaluation of Human Rights: Turkey case’2010 and ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression in International Law: country cases’2013 and ‘Death by Culture; Accountability in International Law’ 2013.

Her recent research is about the potential honour killing victims’ asylum applications which she aims to reveal the lack of uniformity in asylum policies referring to particular social group criteria set up by the Geneva Convention-1951 that negatively affects the adjudication of honour killing asylum claims, resulting in inconsistent judgments and unjust disparities. She is working on the theory of political opinion, stating that ‘if a woman resists gendered oppression, her resistance is political.’’

In connection with her researches she has coordinated several international conferences on ‘Gender and Migration’ and ‘Gender and the Law’. She is the author of ‘Refugee Law’ book in Turkey and is a Refugee Law lecturer at the Law Faculty of Dokuz Eylül University.


Dr. Yasemin Kalaylıoğlu

Researcher and Expert on the fields of International Migration & Gender

After studying Sociology at Ege University, Kalaylıoğlu completed her Master’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies Department at Middle East Technical University and received her PhD from the Department of Sociology at the same university. She focused on International Migration and Gender Equality in her PhD thesis and during her studies, she was accepted as a visiting scholar at the Universities of Stockholm, Oxford and California, Berkeley to conduct her researches on migrants. Kalaylıoğlu continues to work as a researcher and expert in various projects in the fields of gender equality, international migration and refugee response.    

Burak Yaşar

Director General of Migration Management
Migration Expert

Burak Yasar is a graduate of Ankara Univesity, Department of Political Science and Public Management. He started working for DGMM on 2015 and held posts in a variety of departments. Currently, he is working as a Migration Expert for of DGMM’s Harmonization and Communication Department.t



Pınar Şimşek

General Coordinator
Bir İZ Association

Pınar has been working with Bir IZ Association since 2017. She coordinated the project “Psychosocial Support for Syrian Children.” She is presently coordinating the EU-funded project titled “Stogner When Together.” With the project, co-implemented with HRDF and funded by T.R. Central Finance and Contracts Unit, Civil Society Support Program, the aim is to improve human resource capacities of NGOs working with Syrian refugees and strengthen their Communication and advocacy skills. Pınar Şimşek is the author of the book “Global Warming for Children” and designed a board game in the same theme.

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Fotoğraf (Köksal Banoğlu)

Köksal Banoğlu

General Coordinator
Maltepe District Governorship

Köksal earned his undergraduate degree in Computer and Instructional Technologies Education from Yıldız Technical University in 2005; and then, obtained his graduate degree in Educational Administration, Planning, Economy and Supervision (EAPES) from the same university in 2009. Started his ongoing double Phd degree on EAPES in Marmara University/Turkey in 2012, and then on Educational Sciences in Ghent University/Belgium, thanks to BOF scholarship granted by Ghent University in 2014. The panelist has 15 scholarly publications, of which 6 manuscripts came out in various SSCI-index journals. As a part-time instructor, he was frequently invited to give lectures in some well-known universities on educational philosophy, leadership theories, and organizational behaviors. Apart from his academic career, the panelist was awarded with various awards for his distinguished performance in the development & leadership of a number of international and national state projects.

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David Keegan

David Keegan

Host International

Previously David managed a large community based settlement service for refugees and asylum seekers in Sydney with responsibility for settling nearly 10,000 individuals. After moving with his family to Nauru in 2016 to run settlement services, he started HOST International to create better lives for people affected by forced displacement around the world with a special focus on supporting displaced communities in developing countries. Since late 2016, David has expanded HOST’s services to include activities in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and has pioneered partnership models that focus on localisation and assisting Governments to implement community based protection strategies.

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Christopher Eades

Executive Director
St. Andrews Refugee Services

Chris Eades is the Executive Director of St Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS) and has held the position since 2014. Chris began his career in 1997 as a British barrister and US attorney representing people on death row and imprisoned children in the southern USA.  In 2004 he returned to the UK and after a short period began working for refugees.  Since then he has worked for refugees in the UK (specializing in representing unaccompanied refugee children) and with refugee organizations in Egypt (as the Director of Legal Programming of Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance), and Thailand (as the Director of Legal Services for the Jesuit Refugee Service), and has provided training and operational support to refugee NGOs working in Morocco, Libya, Cambodia and Indonesia. StARS is an organization of more than 350 staff, 85 percent of whom are refugees.

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Şenay Yılmaz

Chief at Women’s Counselling Centres and Women’s Shelters
Ankara Metropolitan Municipality

Şenay Yılmaz holds a bachelor degree in sociology and a master’s degree in Women Studies, obtained from Ankara University. Her thesis, “Gate of Obligation” was published as an academic journal article with the same name. Her articles were also published in a book of collected works and in international journals.

Yılmaz is working with women in Ankara Metropolitan Municipality since 2008. She is in charge of Women Shelters and Women Solidarity Centers and is the coordinator of the Local Equality Action Plan. Since 2008, she held duties related to migration and refugees, and coordinated the project “Refugee Women and Children” between 2017-2019.

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Anna Hill

Together Project Co-director
Tides Canada

Anna Hill is Co-Director and Co-Founder of Together Project where she works to connect refugee newcomers and Canadians to build stronger, more integrated communities. Anna manages Together Project’s community programs. Prior to her work promoting civil society engagement in refugee settlement and integration, Anna worked as an architect in Los Angeles.

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Esther Bernsen

Head of Project Management
Ueber den Tellerrand

Esther Bernsen is psychologist, social entrepreneur and head of Über den Tellerrand.
Esther studied psychology in Würzburg, Germany and Budapest, Hungary. In her studies Esther focused on clinical psychology and organizational psychology and researched the effects of traumatization after war.

Since 2009 Esther has been working with refugees: at the treatment center for victims of torture in Berlin (Zentrum Überleben) and as social worker for unaccompanied children.
For more that two years Esther has been working as project manager and executive at the non-profit organisation Über den Tellerrand.

Über den Tellerrand believes that dialogue and getting to know eachother ist he key to an open and multicultural society. The organization is known for using food as a catalyst for long-lasting refugee integration in Europe using activities like refugee-led cooking classes to promote cultural exchange. By now, Über den Tellerrand has offices in Berlin and Frankfurt as well as an international network with more than 30 groups, based on the core concept of the project. 

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Umut Ali Dede

Okmeydanı Social Assistance and Solidarity Association

Umut Ali Dede is the founding member of OKDER, which was founded in 2014. OKDER is a neighborhood association and works to address problems faced on the local level. The organization was originally founded to respond to the problems that arise from urban transformation processes. During this period, OKDER adopted a participatory method in all its activities and included the local population in all processes. As of 2015, the local community had newly arrived, refugee neighbors, and the organization began working to strengthen spaces of ‘mutual living.’ As a result, a solidarity kitchen, ‘Women to Women Refugee Kitchen’ was founded. It functions as a solidarity network and played an important role in facilitating social cohesion and overcoming negative perceptions.

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Rahaf photo

Rahaf Saad

Operations Manager of the women Social Enterprise
Small Projects Istanbul

Rahaf Saad is the Operations Manager of Zeytin Agaci Dernegi’s Women’s Social Enterprise. The S.E is working with displaced women in the Fatih neighborhood, providing professional and social skills training and income generation opportunities, in order to support the beneficiaries in rebuilding their lives in Istanbul. Her professional background in banking and finance, with experience for seven years in The Real Estate Bank of Syria, where she is originally from. Rahaf believes in the necessity of effective training programs, grounded in best practice approach, in order to achieve women’s empowerment for a stronger, healthier society. Through her work with the S.E, she is committed to contributing her expertise and energy for supporting the Syrian and other displaced communities overcome the obstacles they face in Turkey.

Pinar Okur

Pınar Okur

Senior Humanitarian and Development Advisor

Pinar Okur is the Senior Humanitarian and Development Advisor at Upinion. Pinar, a psychologist and criminologist from Utrecht University continued her career as a researcher a Tilburg University. She obtained her PhD in 2015 on child sexual abuse among ethnic minorities in the Netherlands; Her main field of interest are vulnerable groups, sexual violence, sexual and reproductive health and youth. Previously she has worked as the international program lead and researcher for the ‘Forced Migration & Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)’ program at Rutgers, which she has set up with colleagues. The aim of this program was to mainstream SRHR in humanitarian services.

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Buthaina Rahal

Syrian Womens’ Committee

Buthaina Rahal describes herself as ‘an ordinary Syrian Refugee woman with five children and a dream of freedom and liberty for all Syrian people. She fled the war in Syria with her family in search for peace and safety. With her friends in Turkey, she founded Syrian Women’s Committee and with this, aimed to empower women and educate them through awareness raising sessions and trainings. SWC assists many women, ranging from 14 to 100 years old.

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Nur Elçik fotoğraf

Nur Elçik

Community Center Manager

Nur Elçik worked in various CSOs focusing on women, refugees, children’s rights and has maintained her activist essence throughout. She conducted her studies in Istanbul University’s Political Science Department, focusing on the interpretation of refugee experience, refugee experience for women and solidarity practices in daily life. She’s been working with YUVA for 3.5 years and is working to be in solidarity with refugees.

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Marguerite Kahrl

Permaculture for Refugees

An artist, Permaculture designer and educator, Marguerite is cofounder of the Association Con MOI, an informal group of Italian and migrant citizens who strengthen social and human bonds through sharing food, skills, time and mutual attention. One of Con MOI’s first actions was to stimulate reciprocity and reduce waste in an urban community with the recovery and redistribution of surplus food that could no longer be sold, without any exchange of money. In her work Marguerite creates models and prototypes to stimulate cultural change.

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Justice Centre Portrait Lynette

Lynette Nam

Legal Officer
Justice Center Hong Kong

Lynette is the Legal Officer at Justice Centre, where she provides support to refugees, torture survivors, victims of human trafficking and other marginalized groups (including SGBV survivors) seeking protection in Hong Kong. She trains lawyers and law graduates on international human rights law, and supervises legal teams in appeals and high court matters. She also engages in research and advocacy to promote the rights of forced migrants in Hong Kong. Lynette is an Australian qualified lawyer and holds a dual degree in Bachelor of Arts/Laws (Hon) from the University of Queensland. Before joining Justice Centre, Lynette worked at Fragomen Worldwide, an international immigration law firm, in Australia and Hong Kong. Previous to this, Lynette was a human rights trainer on the Thai-Burma border.

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Fatma Hacıoğlu Sarıdağ

Humanitarian Program Manager
UNFPA Turkey

Fatma Hacioglu Saridag (1984) holds a bachelor degree on Science Education from Hacettepe University and masters on Women and Gender Studies in Middle East Technical University, Turkey. She is currently working as Regional Programme Manager in UNFPA Turkey Humanitarian Programme. She has been with UNFPA since 2007 and has experience working on sexual and reproductive health of young people and key populations, youth participation and humanitarian response. She is an alumni of Y-PEER, Youth Peer Education Network and YouAct, European Youth Network on Sexual & Reproductive Rights.

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Ghifar Anani

Protection Manager
Basmeh & Zeitooneh

Ghifar starting working in the humanitarian field six years ago and participated in implementing several projects in different sectors (protection, wash & shelter, relief, livelihood). During the last three years, her main focus has been in the Protection Sector (CP, GBV, Legal), where she was managing projects in several areas in Lebanon, acting as protection advisor and providing support in proposal writing and strategic planning for protection projects. 

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Ala Arafat

Protection Advisor
ActionAid Arab Region

Ala Arafat is a protection specialist who has worked for several INGO’s in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria with Syrian refugees and host communities both in urban and in camp settings. She has worked in child protection, case management and community based protection. Her experience includes leading multicultural teams, working with unaccompanied minors, projects handover, setting up women safe spaces and protection committees and cross border work with strength in staff capacity building and conflict resolution.

Deeksha Gujral photo

Deeksha Gujral

Legal Consultant
Migration & Asylum Project

Deeksha Gujral works at Migration & Asylum Project (M.A.P.), India’s first and only refugee law centre. M.A.P.’s mission is to use innovative methods to strengthen the protection landscape and fuel systemic change for forced migrants and refugees. At M.A.P., Deeksha works on a project which aims to make the Indian justice system more responsive for survivors and those at-risk of sexual and gender based violence within the refugee community, through awareness drives, stakeholder training and expanding the support network available to refugees. She also provides legal representation to refugees during the asylum process. She studied Law at the University of Cambridge.

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Fares Al Qadi

Poject Manager
Refugee Company

Fares works as a Poject Manager at Refugee Company, where he develops integration programs that move beyond the task of connecting newcomers to the Dutch labour market but also take bigger questions of care, sustainable network development and personal development into account. Fares holds a bachelor degree from the University of Aleppo in Telecommunication engineering. In Syria, He has worked over various NGOs for 7 years.

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Erkan Can Çakıroğlu

Program Officer
Refugee Support Center

Erkan Can Çakıroğlu graduated from Istanbul University, Economics Department in 2009. He lived in Germany for linguistic training and for his master’s degree. During this period, he took part in local initiatives for refugee integration as a volunteer. Since 2017, he’s been working in projects related to problems faced by refugees and asylum seekers. He took part in various projects of local NGOs in Macedonia and Serbia as a volunteer. In 2018, He began working as a Project Officer for MUDEM’s Worker Support Center.

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Ahmet Batat

Deputy Director General

Ahmet Batat is a development specialist with more than 10 years of experience designing and implementing programs that focused on livelihood, regional development, private sector competitiveness, entrepreneurship and governance. Previously he served as project & program manager and development specialist various initiatives including Habitat, Local Agenda 21 Programme and Çukurova Development Agency. He has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and MPA from Dokuz Eylül University. Currently Batat serves as the Assistant General Manager in IDEMA, a special entrepreneurship initiative that implementing socio-economic development projects as well as realizing innovative development solutions across Turkey and the world. He also serves as the General Coordinator in Needs Map/İhtiyaç Haritası and as Consultant in the 2nd term of EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRIT) programme.

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Raed Ataya

Program Coordinator
Development Action Without Borders

Raed Ataya specializes in International Humanitarian Law and is a graduated of the Lebanese University in Beirut. Raed joined Developmental Action Without Borders (NABAA) in 2005 as an advocacy officer, to and by 2010 was reassigned as a program coordinator. Due to his strong belief in human and refugee rights, he has participated in numerous local and international conferences and contributed to a special report submitted to the International Committee on the Rights of the Child. Raed has been nominated by NABAA to play a role as a Coordinator of the Arab Network for the Rights of the Child “Manara.” Raed has trained over than 5000 activists in the domains of refugee, women and child rights; advocacy, child-led data collection, training of trainer and strategic planning.


Umut Dilara Baycılı

Program Manager
Mavi Kalem Association

Dilara has been working with Mavi Kalem for two and half years as coordinator and program director. She is responsible for all protection projects implemented by Mavi Kalem. Previously, Dilara volunteered for Mavi Kalem since 2008, and also coordinated a project called Psychological Counselling for Women in Balat right after her graduation from collage. She is a graduate of Psychology and specializes in child psychology.

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Zeynep Yanık Can

Clinical Psychologist 
Maya Vakfı 

Zeynep is a graduate of Istanbul Sehir University, department of psychology and has a minor in sociology. Following her undergraduate degree, she participated in Art Psychotheraphy Foundation’s (SPD) trainings “Art Therapy Interventions Applicable to Traumas and Field Operations” and “Introduction to Art Psychotheraphy.” She received her M.Sc. in clinical psychology. She started as a volunteer intern at Maya, and is currently working as a Clinical Psychologist – running individual therapies for children, group sessions and family trainings.

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Anila Noor

New Women Connectors

As a former fellow of Open City Fellowship Netherlands, former member of European Migrant Advisory Board, EMABan initiative of the Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees the Urban Agenda for the EU. Anila Noor also initiated  New Women Connectors, a movement striving for mainstreaming the unheard voices of migrant and refugee women living across Europe. The movement also helps newcomer refugee women to lift their spirits and make something of it. She found herself involved in the subjects of forced migration and identity crisis when she had to go through the same experience. Since, she has been working as a refugee social entrepreneur focusing on forced Migration, Asylum, Refugee Policies and Advocacy for the Rights of Migrants.


Suat Seyitoğlu

District Governor of Yenişehir

Suat Seyitoğlu is a graduate of Ankara Gazi University, Public Administration. He successfully passed District Governorship Exam in 2000. He completed the National Security Academy in 2001. In 2002, he finished his master’s degree on Public Administration and Political Science. Between 2001-2002 he completed a postgraduate program on “Advancing International Governance.” In 2011, he received a training from Harvard University Kennedy School, titled “Public Leaders in Southeast Europe.” As of 2013, he is continuing his doctoral studies in Hacettepe University, Faculty of Sociology, focusing on “Social Cohesion and Naturalization of Refugees and Asylum-Seekers in Turkey.”

Cem Demirayak

Child Safeguarding Expert

Cem Demirayak obtained his bachelor’s degree from Bilgi University, Faculty of Law. Throughout his studies, he volunteered for Bilgi University’s Child Studies Unit and currently hosts a post as a project manager. Cem is currently working to promote children’s rights in every walk of life.


Support to Life is a humanitarian aid organization founded with the principle aim of working with disaster-affected individuals and communities to meet their basic needs and rights. Support to Life works to reduce risks and responds to disasters by building the capacities and increasing the resilience of the most vulnerable communities. Adopting the humanitarian principles, Support to Life works with a commitment to humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence and accountability in Turkey and the surrounding region. STL currently conducts its activities under the framework of four main programs: Emergency Response, Refugee Protection, Child Protection in Seasonal Agriculture and Capacity Building & Coordination.

Directorate General of Migration Management carries on its activities with the aim of practicing policies and strategies regarding the migration area, facilitating the coordination between the agencies and institutes on these issues, carrying out the operations and processes regarding foreigners’ entry into and stay in Turkey, their exit and being deported from Turkey, international protection, temporary protection and the protection of the victims of human trafficking.

The purpose of the establishment of the Directorate General is to ensure that the studies in this field is managed by the mechanisms open to innovation and international cooperation; having expertise, following up-to-date information and developments closely; in brief, the mechanisms which can keep up with the dynamic pattern of the processes.

“We secure survival, we build futures, we prevent suffering.”

For more than 60 years, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe has been providing help worldwide, wherever the need is greatest. Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe supports people who have become victims of natural disasters, war or displacement and who are unable to overcome the hardship on their own. Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe provides help regardless of religion, skin colour and nationality – quickly, reliably and effectively, with minimal red tape.

Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe is part of the Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V., the Social Service Agency of the German Protestant Church – one of the biggest welfare institutions in Germany – with its headquarter in Berlin. For an effective performance Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe closely cooperates with local partners. It is also a member of ACT (Action by Churches Together), the global alliance of churches and aid agencies in the area of humanitarian aid.


The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.

Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO), the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.



Registrations (for spectators) are not open yet. Registration to the conference will be open once the final list of speakers is announced.  Final list of speakers will be announced on 31.07.2019 at the latest. Please note that the organizers can host a limited number of spectators. However, for those who are unable to attend, the panels will be streamed live on Support to Life’s social media accounts. 

Travel and Accomodation

‘Meet, share, Inspire’ will take place at the conference room …. of Hilton Hotel Kavaklıdere in Ankara.

National and international speakers that are travelling from outside Ankara will be accomodated at Hilton, unless they wish to arrange their accomodation themselves.  The flights of panelists arriving from outside Ankara will also be covered by the organizers. Speakers will begin arriving at conference facilities the afternoon and evening before the conference day. The organizers will liaise with panelists accordingly so that plane tickets can be booked to everyone’s convenience. The transfers from and to Esenboga Airport will also be arranged by the organizers.

The organizers are unfortunately unable to offer travel and accommodation for members of the audience. 


Located in the city center district Kavaklidere, the Hilton Ankara hotel is near to popular entertainment and shopping spots such as Kızılay Square, and 40-minute drive from Ankara Esenboga Airport.


24-26 September 2019, Ankara HiltonSA Hotel, Turkey

No. Neither speakers nor the members of the audience are required to pay a participation fee. While accomodation and travel costs of the speakers will be covered by the conference, we unfortunately are unable to cover the costs of other participants. 

The organization will book the accomodation of the speakers. The members of the audience are required to arrange their accomodation themselves.

The speakers will have their flights and their airport transfers arranged by the organization.

Members of the audience will be able to register once the list of speakers is announced (early July). We kindly ask that all those who wish to join register using the registration form.

The call for submissions are closed as of 21.06.2019

While we are unable to offer ‘full-scale’ stands at the conference space, desks will be provided where participating organizations can share their visibility materials such as information leaflets, activity reports, etc. 

To make modifications to your application, please write to us at [email protected]

The final list of panelists will be annouced on 31 July at the latest. 

Yes, panelists will be provided with a thanking certificate for their contribution. 


To find out more about the organizers

Support to Life:

Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe:

Republic of Turkey Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management :

Questions and Queries

Support to Life

Adress: Cenap Şahabettin Sokak No. 42 Koşuyolu Mahallesi 34718 Kadıköy İstanbul

Tel: +90 216 336 2262
Fax: +90 216 336 2925
[email protected]