Erkan Ulu Schools' Young Philosopher Awards 2024 Competition Results Announced Here Are The Winners!

Erkan Ulu Schools’ Young Philosopher Awards 2024 Competition Results Announced: Here are the Winners!

“The ‘Young Philosopher Awards 2024’ competition, organized by Erkan Ulu Schools for middle school students, has concluded. The First Prize was awarded to the young philosophers, İlber Ediz Türkyılmaz and Zeki Mehmet Naamani, 8th grade students at ENKA Schools. The successful youngsters, who participated in the competition and contributed to the discussion on the concept of ‘Happiness,’ received their awards during the prize ceremony held on Friday, May 31, 2024.

Erkan Ulu Schools’ goal of “inquiry-based learning” has transformed into an “award” for young people who love to think and create. Erkan Ulu Schools, which includes ‘Philosophy for Children’ classes in its curriculum from kindergarten and primary school levels onwards, organized the “Young Philosopher Awards,” which is a first in Turkey. In its inaugural year, the competition, which was only open to middle school students in Istanbul, garnered significant interest. An award ceremony was held on Friday, May 31, 2024, at the Beşiktaş Ortaköy campus of Erkan Ulu Schools, honoring the successful young philosophers who contributed to the discussion on the concept of ‘Happiness’.”

Erkan Ulu Okulları’nın Genç Felsefeci Ödülleri 2024 Yarışması Sonuçlandı İşte Kazananlar! (2)

“The first prize was awarded to a piece titled ‘The Impact of Geography on Happiness.’

Despite being organized for the first time in Turkey, the Young Philosopher Awards garnered significant interest from middle school students attending both private and public schools. Among the young philosophers discussing the concept of ‘Happiness,’ the First Prize was awarded to 8th grade students from ENKA Schools, İlber Ediz Türkyılmaz and Zeki Mehmet Naamani, who participated in the competition with a podcast named ‘Sa(a)det Radyo.’ In their works, the young philosophers discussed the question: ‘What is the impact of the geographical location, economic conditions, and lifestyle of the place where one lives on happiness?’

The Second Prize in the competition was awarded to Mehmet Tabağ, a 5th grade student from HİSAR Schools, for his blog post titled ‘Would You Be Happy When Asked If You Are Happy?’ In his blog post, Tabağ attempted to answer whether happiness can be attained through the happiness of others.”

Erkan Ulu Okulları’nın Genç Felsefeci Ödülleri 2024 Yarışması Sonuçlandı İşte Kazananlar! (3)

“Meanwhile, Derin Özdemir, a 7th grade student from IRMAK Schools, became the recipient of the Third Prize with his story titled ‘Thoughts and People.’

To ensure fairness in evaluation, the jury for the competition, which was closed to Erkan Ulu Schools students, was comprised of Prof. Dr. Ayşe Bilge SELÇUK from MEF University, Dr. Ömer AYGÜN from Galatasaray University, Philosophy Educator Dr. Özge ÖZDEMİR, along with Zeynep BANAZ, the General Coordinator of Special Erkan Ulu Schools, and middle school students Lal B. and Batuhan C.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Sedat IŞIK, the District Director of National Education in Beşiktaş, Istanbul, said, ‘The first of everything holds great significance; first and foremost, I congratulate the entire team involved in making this first happen. In such initiatives, the process extends from the competition’s poster reaching a school to teachers sharing it with their students in classrooms, and students participating in such competitions with courage and effort. Today, here in a beautiful spot in Istanbul, right under the Bosphorus, in this meaningful atmosphere that suits philosophy so well, we present the rewards of these efforts.’

‘As you know, everything revolves around thinking, producing, and serving humanity by contemplating deeply. Therefore, we must initiate philosophy education starting from kindergarten. In the field of children’s philosophy…’

Erkan Ulu Okulları’nın Genç Felsefeci Ödülleri 2024 Yarışması Sonuçlandı İşte Kazananlar! (4)

“As a result of the efforts carried out by the Beşiktaş District Directorate, perspectives on reading and evaluation are changing. Continuing in this manner, we will encounter a youth that thinks, produces, and accurately reflects what it produces. On this occasion, I also congratulate the theme of the competition, which was determined as ‘happiness.’ Such initiatives begin with someone taking ownership, and I hope to see its continuation with the same interest in the coming years.”

“Our goal is to enhance critical thinking and judgment skills.”

Special Erkan Ulu Schools, by incorporating the theme of human flourishing and wellbeing into the school culture through the inquiry-based learning method, aim for the Young Philosopher Awards competition to strengthen its efforts in this field and create awareness in the education world.

Zeynep BANAZ, the General Coordinator of Erkan Ulu Schools, stated that one of the goals of the competition is to contribute to the recognition of the ‘Philosophy for Children and Communities (P4C)’ method, which supports the early development of qualified thinking and judgment skills in children, in Turkey.”

Erkan Ulu Okulları’nın Genç Felsefeci Ödülleri 2024 Yarışması Sonuçlandı İşte Kazananlar! (5)

Zeynep BANAZ, explaining that the idea for the competition emerged after Erkan Ulu Schools students participated in the “Irish Young Philosopher Awards (IYPA)” in 2021 and won the first prize, stated, “Under the leadership of Dr. Özge Özdemir, our students who prepared for the competition in Ireland during a period that included the pandemic engaged in discussions on the concept of ‘Solidarity’ and prepared a Zoom theater, which led them to victory. With the pride of winning first place in an international competition, we believed that the event should also be held in Turkey. Today, we are very happy to have our graduate students who won that competition among us.”


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