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Ozer Sahoglu (Cypriot Turkish: Özer Şahoğlu) is a Cypriot activist who is the first underage and the youngest European Union funded Cypriot citizen. He stood against the injustice of gender inequality in the schools of the north part of Cyprus and advocated right to access to human rights education in schools. As a result of his activist work, he is nominated for Young European of the Year award given by the Scwarzkopf Foundation and also became one of the candidates for the European Charlemagne Youth Prize issued by the European Parliament. His work and nomination took place on a local newspaper as well as on notable newspapers at national level such as Cyprus Mail and some other nespapers from other European countries. Ozer Sahoglu was also a candidate for the 2020 Governing Body elections of the European Youth Parliament.
Personal Life and Career
Ozer Sahoglu was born in 2003 in Koskluciftlik area of the last divided capital of the world, Nicosia. He started to participate in the civil society for the first time at the age of thirteen with the aim to contribute to resolution of the Cyprus Dispute. In the following years he had been working with many organizations and had a chance to visit the European Parliament as a part of Euroscola program. He also went to the United States as a part of a bi-communal organization which he participated at the age of thirteen for the first time. In 2019, as a part of this organization he travelled to the United States and stayed in Hawaii for a month. Like the all other groups participated in the organization, he also advocated peace and participated in peace-building activities to from friendships for peace and reunification of Cyprus. At the age of sixteen, he applied to a European Union funded project for a civil society work and became the first underage and the youngest European Union funded Cypriot activist with his civil society work called Cypriot Youth Comes Front In The Society. His work started with research on human rights education and youth participation to the civil society. With the data he collected from the participants, he advocated right to access to human rights education in schools. He explained that he believes everyone should be aware and well-educated about their rights. He also aimed for them to gain necessary skills to defend themselves in case of any injustice they might face during their lifetimes. At the same time, in his project, he aimed to introduce a new perspective for education by informing the younger generation of their rights and teaching them to respect universal human rights and freedom. Through his investigation, he also found out that many young people were uncomfortable with the sexist rules in schools that Ozer was also a victim of. He suffered a lot as a result of gender based discrimination in schools of the north part of Cyprus so he also applied and reported to the authorities to remove the sexist results from the schools and reported that those rules are a form of child abuse which discriminate children against their gender and also make them suffer from psychological problems as well as a violence towards human rights. He told that despite of the Turkish Cypriot law which prevents gender based discrimination, those things are continue to be applied in schools which is really horrible. An organization formed after his civil society work under same name with the aim to create an opportunity for young people to take action for human rights and the ongoing issues in the community. As an organization, he also led an opportunity to start a protest against the authorities who did not respond to application of young people for months. At the same year he did those things (2020) Ozer also published story of his grandmother on local media who became separated with her best friend during war and reunited with her best Greek Cypriot friend after 59 years. He studied non-degree entrepreneurship and leadership taught by The George Washington University as a part of a chosen participants under Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute of the American Embassy in Cyprus.
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