Visits to Various Institutions in Istanbul and Rome

Seismic risk, danger of flooding, and the exceptional circumstances of the refugee crisis are just some of the challenges facing Istanbul. The crisis management of such a megacity is an impressive work of collaboration of different institutions. As such, our Master in Mediterranean Studies group visited two major institutional actors in the field: AKOM, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's Disaster Coordination Centre, and the Turkish Red Crescent's Provincial Centre Türk Kızılay.

AKOM is a municipal operational body that manages the city's daily risks, ranging from traffic problems (congestion, accidents) to power outages and weather-related risks. The organisation coordinates municipal services for all users, including city animals. The students learnt about risk exposure and the municipality's services to ensure the city's proper functioning through the risk monitoring system, digital alert applications to inform city residents, and early warning system for seismic risks related to city infrastructure such as the natural gas distribution network or the metro.

The visit to Kızılay provided a better understanding of this longstanding actor in Turkish civil society, which fulfills its responsibilities towards the most vulnerable, as well as certain specific features of the Turkish Red Crescent as the sole entity responsible for blood donations management in the country. The exchanges during these visits also covered the work carried out by these two organisations in the region affected by the earthquake on 6 February 2023. Both organisations were mobilised immediately after the earthquake to provide assistance to the region. Kızılay continues its interventions to provide food for the affected people (2 million meals, 3 times a day). AKOM is also present on-site with municipal services to assist in the recovery of infrastructure in the affected municipalities.

The Mediterranean students also visited the Turkish NGO ASAM (Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants) along with the Master in European Integration and Global Studies group in Istanbul, where they discovered more about the refugee projects being carried out in Turkey.

Meanwhile, the Global Studies group based in Rome received a briefing at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Italy's priorities in terms of economic and foreign policy, and also learnt about responses to crises at the special Crisis Unit.

Earlier in the term, they also had the opportunity to visit and learn more about the UN agency FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) based in Rome.

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