TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The recently completed Taiwan-Reyhanli Center for World Citizens on the Syria-Turkey border is aimed at connecting people in the war-torn region, the Taiwanese lead architect Chiu Chen-yu (裘振宇) said Sunday (Nov. 29).
The Taiwan-funded civic center was completed on Oct. 9 in the Turkish town of Reyhanli after one year of construction. Consisting of 52 multipurpose rooms, it was built for improving socio-cultural integration and interaction between Syrian refugees and Turkish locals.
During a TEDx conference in Taipei, Chiu shared his four-year effort to bring the project into existence. He said although the construction of the building only took a year, he and his colleagues had to spend three years building trust with local residents.
Chiu pointed out that there are approximately 120,000 registered Syrian refugees and only 100,000 Turks in Reyhanli. He said trust is uncommon in a town filled with suicide bombings and that the purpose of the project is to help Syrians and Turks better understand each other.
Chiu acknowledged that refugee problems in the region cannot simply be solved by the Taiwan-Reyhanli Center for World Citizens. However, the venue can offer a bonding space and serve as a bridge between Taiwan, Turkey, and Syria, he explained.
Chiu also highlighted potential job opportunities offered at the Taiwan-Reyhanli Center for World Citizens. He said a new program was launched recently to train Syrian women in creating traditional handicrafts and selling them for everyday expenses, reported CNA.
Aerial view of Taiwan-Reyhanli Center for World Citizens. (Chiu Chen-yu photo)
Children in Reyhanli thank Taiwan for donations of medical supplies. (Chiu Chen-yu photo)
Child wearing a scarf made by Syrian women as part of Taiwan-Reyhanli Center for World Citizens' new program. (Chiu Chen-yu photo)