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Festive closing of the project '50 years in Belgium' in the MAS

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08-01-2015 - Yesterday, in the Antwerpian Museum MAS the closing reception of the project '50 years in Belgium ' took place. At the closing celebration - organized by the Federation of Active Associations (Fedactio) – there were approximately 300 attendees. 'This is an important milestone towards a shared future', said the President of Fedactio, Musa Soydemir, to the attendees. Among those present were also prominent personalities, such as the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken, Governor Cathy Berx, Governor Jan Briers, and Antwerpian Alderman of Culture Philip Heylen.

The ambitious project  “50 years in Belgium” started in 2012, with the aim of commemorating the 50th anniversary of Turkish migration to Belgium. Over the past three years, dozens of activities across the country were organized, such as talent shows, cultural festivals, drawing contests, concerts, panels, short story contests, city trips, and cartoon competitions. President of Fedactio Musa Soydemir emphasized in his opening speech the importance of the triangle relationship government - civil society - citizen, and he stated that the importance of civil society cannot be underestimated for our Belgian society. "Building bridges is our priority. Fedactio contributes mainly to the connection between people. And proves again and again that diversity is, not a burden but a source of inspiration, culture and a backbone ", said Soydemir.
The Secretary-General of Fedactio, Özkan Yilmaz responded to the regrettable incident in France. "In Fedactio, we have one dream for the new year and that is that we do not resign ourselves to the increasing misunderstanding and negativity which dominates our society today", said Yilmaz.
Cathy Berx: Antwerp has many bridges between people, just like Fedactio
The program was marked by the speech of the governor of Antwerp Cathy Berx. “Regardless of the religion and race of people, Fedactio endeavors to build bridges and invest time in people. Thank you very much, Fedactio. You have an irreplaceable place in our society”, said Cathy Berx.
Philip Heylen: Without the commitment of Fedactio the exhibition 'Sacred Places, Sacred Books' would not be not possible
The Antwerpian alderman Philip Heylen stressed that without the commitment of Fedactio, the keys of the Kaaba could not be brought to Antwerp from the Topkapi museum in Istanbul. And the exhibition "Sacred Places, Sacred Books" would not be so successful. At the end of the reception, for those present there was an opportunity to take a tour of the exhibition "Sacred Places, Sacred Books" with a guide.
Theo Francken: I want to turn migration into a positive story
The Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, stated in his speech that he wants to make a positive story of migration and stressed the economic importance of the Turkish labor after the signing of the bilateral agreement in 1964. Before Francken began his speech, he asked the attendees to take a minute of silence for the victims in France.
Music album "50 Years Hand in Hand"
At the end of the evening, the music album "50 Years Hand in Hand" was promoted, which is a production of Beltud dedicated to the Belgian-Turkish friendship.  Popular artists such as Wouter Vandenabeele, Yücel Arzen, Emre and Lütfü Gültekin, Elly Aerden, Ludo Vandeau, Delphine Garden, Xavier Bernier and R.Kan Albay, joined forces and wrote songs about friendship, migration, coming home, homesickness and love.
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