MUNTurkey.com: Hello Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU, we have met you first time on Instagram with a great MUN team and we loved your vivid lifestyle. Could you please tell us more about yourself? Especially we would like to hear more about your skiing career?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: First of all, it is a great honour to hear such praising words about myself and my MUn team as well. I would like to thank you for all your appreciation. I am Özlem Erkiletlioğlu, a proud graduate of TED Kayseri College, after studying 2 years of Landscape Architecture and Design at Bilkent University, I left that school and gladly studied English Language and Literature at Erciyes University. I have been teaching English for nearly 20 years at State Schools in Kayseri and my job is one of the biggest passions in my life, besides my kids; an 18-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl. I am a photography enthusiast and a member of a local photography club called UFAD in Kayseri. I am conducting the MUN Club, also leading the photography Club at school. Skiing is another leisure activity for me in winters. I started skiing when I was at high school but it became a priority when my son started skiing at the age of 6 and then my daughter loved skiing and even has had many local and national medals. I love travelling and exploring new cultures. I believe that self-development and learning have no end so I am trying to do my best to experience different aspects of life and transfer it to my students and kids as I think that what teachers and parents should do first is to be good role models.
MUNTurkey.com: We are guessing that you are from Kayseri. What are the things that you like about Kayseri? What does Kayseri mean to you?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: Yes, I am from Kayseri, it is my hometown, so it means my childhood, my youth, my family and friends. The things which I like most about Kayseri is it’s close family knits, intelligent people, Mount Erciyes, being a university city with 3 universities, being close to Cappadocia and of course it’s cuisine with a great variety of food like Sucuk, Pastırma, Mantı, Yağlama, and…etc.
MUNTurkey.com: Education is a key factor in our lives. Especially today, education holds great importance in individuals’ life. Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU, what can you tell us about Kayseri Social Science Anatolian High School?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: Kayseri Kilim social Sciences High School is a State Boarding High School which was founded in 2007 where students have 5 years of education with it’s English and French preparatory year, aims to educate and train qualified members who are willing to work at social areas like law, politics or any other social studies. Besides many national awards and successes, it is the first and the only school in Kayseri awarded with the European Language Label with the project named “Learning English via leading Historical Figures”. We have been attending MUN conferences around the country and had many Best Delegate and Outstanding Awards.
MUNTurkey.com: Here it comes the most important part! We are all excited to learn about your MUN career. Is there someone special who guided you into the MUN world? How did your career start?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: From the very beginning of my teaching career I havent only aimed to teach English but also aimed to help creating the leaders of our future society who are self confident, able to think analyticaly, aware of world’s social and political issues, and capable of finding solutions and good at expressing them in English so when I first heard about MUN conferences, I felt that it was a must for us as a Social Sciences High School to attend such conferences but those times nobody was aware of those MUN activities so I was not able to get the schools permission to take my students to Istanbul. I had to take my students to Istanbul without any official permission with the motto ” No pain no gain! Never Give up!”.
- By the way, My MUN career started in 2012 when we first attended KABATAŞMUN in İstanbul. I heard it from one of my precious students; Esra Sultan Yıldırım, who is now a senior student at Marmara University. It was a surprise for the attendants who were mostly from İstanbul, İzmir and abroad to see an Anatolian State High School there for the very first time. It was a great experience not only for my students but also for me too. I still remember one of the delegates, just after the first session, came to me and said that ” Madam, you don’t teach us English. I couldn’t understand most of the speeches!” and my laughing at her and replying her as ” Yes, a teacher can’t teach you anything if you don’t require it and desire to learn it. From now on I can teach and you will learn better”. After then it was my great satisfaction to see their motivation to improve their English and learn more about the world issues. Later on, we attended many other MUN conferences such as TEDMUN, SOBİLMUN or KFLMUN and proudly won many awards.
MUNTurkey.com: As an English Language Teacher and MUN Advisor, what are the achievements of students from MUN conferences? How can you define Model United Nations? If a student doesn’t attend a MUN conference in his or her education life, what would he or she miss?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: We had a many Best, Outstanding and Honorable Mention awards but to be honest the most precious one for me was the award that one of my special students, Ayça YANAR, who is now studying at Galatasaray University, won at TEDMUN’16 in Ankara. There were mostly TED schools’ students around Turkey and as a TED graduate I felt so proud to see my students could do as good as or better than TED students. Model United Nations is the best platform for the young people to Express and defend their opinions freely where they can improve their competence of public speaking and modern discussion, improve their self-confidence, cooperate with their peers from different cultures, learn to respect their ideas, learn about international politics and become aware of the social and political World issues and offer solutions about them. It doesn’t only provide them with a chance to improve their language skills and attributes to develop self-confidence, it also supports them to develop their leadership skills by incorporating them into the voting and resolution processes. In addition to these, the students who organize MUN conference can develop their organization and group working skills as well as their competence of responsibility.
MUNTurkey.com: You have just organized one of the most successful MUN conferences in the region. How did you come up with the idea to organize an MUN?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: It is my great honour and pleasure to hear such praises; thank you so much. Actually, it was our biggest dream to organize an MUN conference in Kayseri in an international platform but because of some bureaucratic obstacles, we couldn’t have achieved it until this year. We have believed the great impact of MUN on students personal, social and linguistic development so it turned into a passion to organize one and make others be aware and know about them, so we tried and worked hard to make a flawless MUN conference. We are also so proud that it was the first National MUN conference held in Anatolia with more than 200 participants from over eleven different cities.
MUNTurkey.com: How did you decide on committees and agenda? What is your favourite committee?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: First, we had a long-term internet search about the latest news and issues around the World. Then e had a brainstorm with my MUN team, discussed on the suggestions and then decided on them as; SOCHUM, DISEC, ECOSOC; UNESCO and UNHCR.
MUNTurkey.com: What were the unforgettable things in KSBLMUN that you will always remember as unique and beautiful memories?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: In fact, the whole was unforgettable at all with many precious attendants from Istanbul, Denizli, Ordu, Ankara, Gaziantep and Kayseri but I guess the first day was some more extraordinary for me, the opening cocktail and the ceremony. I didn’t announce it there but, had just come back from another conference from the UK a night before and spent the whole night at AGÜ campus to finish the last preparations, so I was kind of sleepless and deadly tired so I am still not sure what I told during my speech, or if I could. Another one was again the first day when all the delegates and advisors went to Mount Erciyes and had a chance to get to know each other better and had a great fun together.
MUNTurkey.com: Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU, what is your future plans regarding MUN Conferences? Are there any MUN conferences you are going to attend soon? How do you usually choose the MUN conferences that you attend?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: We are going to attend SANMUN in Gaziantep on between 11-14 May with one delegation. Honestly, as we don’t have any support we choose them according to the fees and the accommodation facilities.
MUNTurkey.com: Except MUN, members of MUNTurkey.com would like to know you more. Could you please mention your favourite Movies, Tv Series, Bands and Foods?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: Of course. Well..my favourite movies are “Dead Poets’ Society”, “The life of Pi”, The Butterfly Effect” and the books are “Nutuk”, “Mesnevi”, “The Improbable”, “Inferno” and “Aeden”. I like listening to Rock music and Jazz. I like many but I guess I love Pink Martini, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles and Pink Floyd most. I am in love with Mediterranean cuisine; I like eating any kind of seafood, vegetables and salads.
MUNTurkey.com: Thank you very much for this great interview. We are sure you would like to add more about yourself or MUN world. And, last but not least, what can you tell us about MUNTurkey.com? Do you think MUNTurkey.com contributes to the development of MUN conferences and students’ self-improvement?
- Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU: Thank you very much. It was my pleasure. I think MUNTurkey.com is the best address to learn and update about the latest news about the MUN facilities around Turkey and supports and motivates MUNNERS to attend and organize more MUNs. I feel I have to pay my debt to you for all your support to publicize our KSBLMUN’18. We are really very grateful for your support and motivation.
We thank Ms Özlem ERKİLETLİOĞLU very much for giving us this great chance to have an interview!
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MUNTurkey.com PR Team