February 23, 2020 | The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) was proud to cosponsor and be a part of the International Mother Day Language Program, which celebrated at Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission in NYC on Wednesday, February 19, 2020.

Head UN Representative of the Light Millennium Organization and  ATAA New York Region Vice President, Bircan Ünver made the Welcoming Remarks and introduced briefly her organization, in particular, she informed about the recent legal changes in her organization.

Opening Remarks of the event delivered by the Deputy Consul General of New York Gizem Emel. Education Attaché of Republic of Turkey in New York Yurdagül Aydoğan accompanied to Ms. Emel.

ATAA’s “The Bright Future Project” (BFP) as a modern-language teaching online platform was introduced by former ATAA’s New York Region Vice President Sevgin Oktay for the first time in New York.

Along with the BFP, the program highlighted New York Atatürk School, which was presented by Necmiye Kacaroğlu, teacher at the NY Atatürk School for 29 years. NY Atatürk School has been serving to the Turkish-American community, teaching Turkish for 49 years in New York and around, which is run by Turkish Women League of America (TWLA). Ms. Kacaroğlu presented her speech in Turkish, which followed in English by Oğuzhan Ulutaş, alumnus of NY Atatürk School.

Further, Çağla Çetin (alumna) and Oğuzhan Ulutaş of NY Atatürk School, and İrem Ünal (alumna), American Turkish Association of  North Carolina (ATA-NC) Turkish School, each shared their experiences on learning their mother language –as if their second language– that how it has been impacted and enhanced their daily lives in the following years.

Hazar Tuna, resident actor at  Turkish American Repertory Theater & Entertainment (TARTE), presented “İstanbul’u Dinliyorum” by Orhan Veli, and Oğuzhan Ulutaş, also presented it in English, “Listening to İstanbul” translated by Talat Halman.

Following, a brief book presentation by Günay Menekşe, author of “Aşk Yolunda Masallar”, presented a chapter from her book, titled, “Whisper of Cappadocia” in Turkish. English summary of her story and photographs from Cappadocia accompanied as a slide-show at the background during her presentation.

Bircan Ünver, author of the “Işık Yollarında” poetry book (2017), presented her own two poems “Lütfen Uyan Artık / Please, Wake Up!” and “Işık Yollarında – The Ways of the Light” both in Turkish and English.

Current students and alumni of NY Atatürk School namely; Gözde Pınar, Efehan Berk Hüyük, Zümral Sare Hüyük and Eda Ekinciler as first introduced themselves in both Turkish and English languages and presented their selected Turkish proverbs for the closing section of the program.

The event was well received and delivered it in full as a bilingual event as it was initially announced.

During the closing group-photo session, the attendees expressed their thanks and appreciations on the core theme of the program, which was presented Turkish language within the context of the International Mother Language Day, and in bilingual as the first time.

The program designed based on the UNESCO’s below definition in commemoration of the International Mother Language Day 2020 #IMLD:

“International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

Languages are the most powerful ınstruments of preserving and developing our tangible and ıntangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.”

(Source: www.un.org/en/events/motherlanguageday)

Further, based on the 2020 #IMLD framework, “bringing in proverb” was initially encouraged. İn this line, the program was enhanced via selected Turkish proverbs, which were incorporated with the program both in Turkish and English.

The event received about 50-55 guests both from Turkish-American Community in NY and some representatives from UN-Civil Society community.

Turkish Women League of America (TWLA) provided a light lunch for the attendees of the event.

This was the very first kind event that Turkish Language presented in New York in connection with the International Mother Language Day through the Bright Future Project along with NY Atatürk School.

This summary is written for ATAA website by Bircan Ünver, ATAA New York Region V.P.

The event organized by The Light Millennium–A Charitable Global Human Advancement Organization | LM, Associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications | UN-DGC; and cosponsored by Assembly of Turkish American Associations  – ATAA, and the Turkish Women League of America – TWLA.