Fellow Since 2006
This profile was prepared when Murat Vural was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
By forming teams that act as bridges between schools and students and parents, immigrant children become empowered to develop the tools they need to succeed in school and life and then train younger students to become tutors and role models for others. Murat is combating prejudice, underperformance in school and social alienation between immigrant children and teachers, immigrant parents and the school, and immigrant and German children.Realizing that there is little communication between schools and their children, and perceptive to the internalized prejudices of many immigrant children, Murat built the Intercultural Association for Education and Student Support (IBFS) to help children seize opportunities for successful careers. The bridge works through two components: first, IBFS teams connect the immigrant community (children and parents) and the German school to enable new patterns of communication and collaboration. Second, older successful immigrants introduce immigrant children to a culture of achievement; showing them how to succeed with the right support. This approach affirms children by providing what they need: recognition, appreciation, and opportunities to prove themselves—making it less likely they will participate in violent acts or fall prey to extremist groups. Murat is building multinational networks of immigrants and Germans to support and encourage children to earn advanced education degrees and to use the tools they need to be successful in mainstream society. Murat believes this will lead to a change in the societal perception of migrants as dependent—to engaged and productive members of society.