On October 18, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), in collaboration with Atatürk Society of America and The Light Millennium Organization, hosted a webinar titled “Let’s Join in the World’s Largest Conversation #UN75, and Celebrate Turkey’s 75th Anniversary at the United Nations (UN).”
The online webinar started off with a performance of Beethoven’s sonata #17 by young pianist Korkmaz Can Sağlam, Ahmet Ertegun Memorial Scholarship Recipient at the Juilliard School.
In his opening speech, ATAA President Gökhan Özalp thanked the young pianist Korkmaz Can Sağlam and welcomed Ambassador(ret.) Faruk Loğoğlu, Ms. Meral Güzel, Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Specialist of UN Women, Ms. Filiz Odabaş-Geldiay, Founding Board Member, Atatürk Society of America (ASA), Executive Director, International Association for Human Values, Dr. Sema Başol, Social Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Turkish Women’s Initiative – TWI along with 19 participating Turkish American organizations.
Mr. Özalp noted the importance of ATAA’s association with the United Nations Department of Global Communications and proposed that October 24 should be celebrated as Turkish Global Day.
Prior to moving into the first part of the webinar, a video message by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkır, the 75th Session President of the UN General Assembly was presented to the participants. In his message, Mr. Bozkır called for reinforcing the commitment to multilateralism, advancing the UN’s humanitarian agenda, accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women. “The source of my motivation for this challenging new role is my strong conviction in the effectiveness of multilateral diplomacy. I cannot think of a much better place than the United Nations to work for that,” he said.
In the first part of the webinar, Ambassador (ret.) Faruk Loğoğlu, Former Turkish Ambassador to the U.S., delivered a keynote message which focused on “Multilateralism and Turkey’s 75th Anniversary at the UN”.
Meral Güzel, Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Specialist of UN-Women, delivered a PowerPoint presentation which focused on the importance of the gender equality and women empowerment in connection with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5).
Filiz Odabaş-Geldiay, founding Board Member, Atatürk Society of America (ASA), Executive Director, International Association for Human Values, delivered a speech on “Atatürk and Multilateralism” which focused on Atatürk’s highest priorities on Turkish women rights as part of the national development program of the Republic of Turkey during the 1923-1938 era.
Dr. Sema Başol, President, Social Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Turkish Women’s Initiative (TWI), presented the TWI and its Sparks Program, an eight-month long leadership development program for university women who have the potential, during their lifetime, to touch the lives of thousands.
Bircan Ünver, Chair, ATAA Committee on UN Relations & New York Region V.P. & Head Representative of The Light Millennium to the United Nations Department of Global Communications, focused on the importance of celebrating the UN’s 75th Anniversary, and Turkey’s 75th Anniversary at the UN along with joining in the largest conversation of the world. Ms. Ünver presented the UN75 Online Survey, and strongly encouraged all participants to take and share the survey.
ATAA President Özalp thanked the speakers and introduced a video message on the first UN Day (April 24, 2019), which titled, “The International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace” by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Antonio Guterres. The message laid out the tone for the Part-II as the civil society organizations being an integral part of the multilateralism towards achieving peace and development.
The second part of the webinar was continued by brief presentations by Mehmet Akçay, President, Florida Turkish American Association; Engin Ateş, President, Turkish American Society of Northeastern Ohio; Fatma Aytaç, Chairwoman, Red Pepper Association, NGO Representative, UN-ECOSOC (New York); Aydın Durgunoğlu, President, Turkish American Association of Minnesota; Tufan Erdinç, President, Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington; Nilüfer Esen-Bilgin, Executive Board Member, Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan; Zinnur Fenmen, President, Turkish American Ladies League; Vildan Görener, President, Turkish American Cultural Alliance; Tuba Fırıncıoğlu-Apaydın, Past President, Turkish American Cultural Society of Colorado; Arzuhan Kavak, President, Turkish American Association of Arizona; Sıtkı Kazancı, President, American Turkish Association of Washington DC; Hülya Koç, Founder and President, Empowering The Turkish-American Community; Binnaz Leblebicioğlu, President, Turkish American Association of Central Ohio; Sevgin Oktay, Founder & Past President, Turkish Anti-Defamation Alliance; Levent Onat, Vice President, Turkish American Association of Alabama; Özgür Özkurt, President, American Turkish Association of North Carolina; Dr. Vega Sankur, President, AKM Los Angeles; Erdal Sipahi, President, Turkish American Association of Northern Texas, and Nilay Senel-Nylund, President, Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California.
In closing remarks, President-elect Mazlum Koşma highlighted the significance of celebrating the UN75 along with Turkey’s Anniversary at the UN and the UN75 online survey. Mr. Koşma indicated that he would be supporting similar programs in connection with the UN.
The online webinar ended with a performance of Schuman by pianist Korkmaz Can Sağlam.
The video recording of the webinar in Turkish can be viewed at the link below: