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HomeNewsDal Votes 2015, Candidate Profile: Ahmet Emre Harsa

Dal Votes 2015, Candidate Profile: Ahmet Emre Harsa

Name: Ahmet Emre Harsa
Age: 19
Hometown: İzmir, Turkey
Program: Computer Science
Relevant experience: Member of the International Turkish Geography Olympiad team, founder of the International Turkish Linguistics Olympiad, team member of the first International Geography Olympiad

Dalhousie Gazette: Why are you running for a Senate seat?
Ahmet Emre Harsa: Actually, my first plan was to apply for Vice President (Academic and External), but after talking with some people that are in these great positions right now, they said, “Well, a lot of people first get nominated for two years for Board of Governors and Senate Representative.” And I thought I may need some experience, in spite of the fact that I may have a Model UN background.

So, why? Because it is not just generally about Dalhousie, but I do not like the way the world is going right now for a whole amount of years. I guess I have some justified beliefs about it, that I can defend in some ways. To change the world, you need to start with something local. And the fact that like, last year’s DSU elections results, only 10.8 per cent – really a minor percentage of the whole student body just voted for these elections, and then I questioned the validity of the elections. Not the validity of the DSU itself, a lot of people may get sad or angry about me saying this, but if this is democracy, in my opinion, that should be a greater percentage to statistically present the student body in a holistic way.

The one actual reason besides this is the fact that I want to make some changes in Dalhousie. And I want to continue being an active member of a society that’s working for something, aiming for something better.

DG: What role do you see Senate having in the upcoming year?
AEH: That’s a tricky question, because, I have no initial experience with the senate. So because I have no observations, I’m not sure if it’s right for me to make a comment about it. Because I really don’t know. But still, I’ve been to some Dalhousie Student Union voting procedures and discussions.

DG: What experience do you have with policy?

AEH: I have a lot of experience because of Model United Nations. Because MUN is literally the simulation of United Nations, the only difference would be is it’s just a simulation and you’re not really implementing what you write. But actually you’re thinking about it, and when you go to a conference, or even discussing in our high school MUN club for instance, I was a delegate myself.

So I know a lot about codes of conduct, how to get dressed for a formal meeting, what you should do in such serious formal circumstances, and what you may want to do but codes of conduct may not allow you to do, but instead you may modify your behaviours and the policy of the country you’re representing in a more diplomatic way. Which means it’s more implicit rather than explicit.

DG: If you were on senate this year, what’s the biggest issue you would want to bring to the table?

AEH: Wider publicity. Probably, this would be one of the major issues I could bring to the table: let’s bring some of the Dalhousie Student Union meetings to more public spaces, rather than the Student Union Building. It could be the Killam Library, a lot of students study there. Not the Killam Library Atrium, but for example, the auditorium there. Or in another building. Advertising them through the DSU utilities and through the DSU informing people.

It can be that some students might think – I’m being hopeful about this, I don’t want to be pessimistic – although, I may consider myself a pessimistic person in the regard that I try to be realistic. Still, that may create an opportunity for people to think – “Oh, the DSU is doing something different. Maybe they are changing their policy, and maybe they are trying to allow more people that are holding unorthodox views, that we can more democratically discuss some things around their policies.”

It doesn’t mean that the DSU should change their policies, but it should mean they learn from people who hold more unorthodox views, as I would consider a lot of people like that as people that have this artistic spirit. That if you look to the artists, philosophers – an artist, an intellectual, should actually be a person. Of course, it would be a person that would have some unorthodox views about life, about a lot of things. But that would maintain what the Dalhousie Student Union would eventually want to aim for, because I regard Canada as one of the most democratic countries in the world, especially when I compare it with my country. Right now, there, there are a lot of things going on.

But still, in our country, we have this evolution of the democratic process, and Dalhousie, if you want to be more democratic – if you want to support more people’s rights – justice, injustice, what should be done in specific events going on – you should have some wider publicity and wider borders, not really borders, but you may understand, I mean, a wider kind of society that can reach directly those who can influence the DSU, and how they can enact the changes that could increase the quality and dynamics of the DSU.

DG: What senate committees would you like to sit on, and why?

AEH: I don’t know, but this shouldn’t mean I’m that ignorant about senate. This doesn’t mean that as a freshman, I’m inexperienced. I guess there could be some different committees about student life, maybe external policies of the DSU. These are just guesses upon the fact that there are Vice Presidents for these positions. That would be really logical. It’s kind of hard to limit myself to a committee, but I could choose committees that I could give amounts of importance and personal significance.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Jesse Ward
Jesse Ward
Jesse, editor-in-chief of the Gazette, is a fifth-year student of journalism at Dalhousie and the University of King’s College. He started university with three years of experience writing for Teens Now Talk magazine, where he is now copy editor. Before writing a story Jesse likes to think about how his metal detector could finally be useful in researching this one, but there is never a way it could be. Jesse has produced writing and interactive features for Globalnews.ca and The Chronicle Herald. He may be followed on Twitter, @RealJesseWard, or from the Gazette office on Mondays around 8 p.m. to his home in West End Halifax. Email Jesse at editor@dalgazette.com.
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