Page 93 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
Edirne, 2009-2011, suggest that the majority of visiting groups come from southern and south-
eastern Bulgaria. The municipalities there, such as Yambol, Burgas, Elhovo, Haskovo, Plovdiv,
etc. where the majority of Thracian Bulgarians settled about a century ago, collaborate with the
municipality of Edirneonother projects too.Theprograms for student exchange andartists’mobility,
as well as the festivals in Edirne, are the active channel of transborder collaboration. In this sense,
the Thrace region is reconstructed in terms of urban space presence through the guest groups from
the Bulgarian part of the historical territory: Yambol, Sliven, Burgas, Aytos, Karnobat, etc.
The Bulgarian educational information centre and the school of “Native language and
culture abroad” affiliated to the Thracian Univercity, Edirne
The centre was opened for the Day of the Cyrillic alphabet, 24
th
May 2009, and it was
fashioned after the existing Goethe Institut at the same university, which has been collaborating
with universities from Bulgaria for many years. The objective was for the centre to provide
information, literature, Internet access and the possibility to watch Bulgarian television channels
for everyone interested in Bulgarian language and culture. The centre is actively involved in
teaching students on the BA programme in Turkish language and translation, or those, who want
to study Bulgarian; it takes part in the cultural events organised by the Bulgarian Embassy and
NGO’s in Edirne.
Within the framework of the project, in the context of our research on the educational
strategies of the second generation of migrants from Bulgaria as strategies to cross borders,
another ‘Bulgarian site’ came to the fore.
The Bulgarian educational information centre affiliated to the Thracian University, Edirne,
in collaboration with the Pedagogical Faculty of the Thracian University, came up with a project to
open a Bulgarian school in town. The project was approved and financed by the
Native language
and culture abroad
national programme
62
of the Ministry of education, science and youth and it
started in 2011; Petar Beron was chosen for the patron of the school.
Within the project, 139 students are taught at two levels of language acquisition, beginners
and advanced learners. Our team talked to the director of the centre, Nedialko Ruskov, who gave
us the chance to observe a lesson in Bulgarian. It turned out that the students were not limited to
the children of Bulgarian out-migrants, who were third-generation migrants; the children of local
middle-class people, who could afford the fees, had signed up too because it was prestigious to
learn Bulgarian. In other words, many families invest in this type of cultural capital for their children
because of their plans to build up relations, incl. business relations, with Bulgaria. In attracting
its students, the centre collaborates with the out-migrant organisations in town: the children of
current and former chairpersons of the association go to the school on Saturdays.
63
62 http://www.minedu.government.bg/opencms/expor t/sites/mon/left_menu/projects/national_
programs/2012-8-roden-ezik-kultura-zad-granitsa.pdf
63 It is possible for other similar projects to get developed, although Bulgarian as a native language is an
interesting way of putting it when it comes to Turks from Bulgaria. The Bulgarian nationals in Turkey would like to
have such a school in Çorlu too.