SUNDAY, MAY 23, 2021
12:00pm- 2:00pm EDT
9:00am-11:00am PDT, 19:00-21:00 TR

The webinar will take place online via zoom application. Please register through the link below:

#CulturalDiversity #InterculturalDialogue #SourceOfResillience #TurkishCulture #TurkicCulture #ZülfüLivaneli #A_T_A_A #UNWihCivilSociety

Language: English

Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) and North American Turkish organizations invite you to the virtual showcase, “Cultural Diversity: A Source of Resilience in the Turkish Communities and Beyond”, which aims to contribute toward “World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (May 21).”

Renowned Turkish composer, author and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador (1996-2016) Mr. Ömer Zülfü Livaneli, who has been a role model promoting cultural diversity for decades, will deliver a keynote speech at the Cultural Diversity virtual event.

Mr. Livaneli is known for his novels that interweave diverse social and historical backgrounds, figures, and incidents, such as ‘Bliss’ which won the Barnes & Noble’s ‘Discovery of Great New Writers Award’ in 2006, and his critically acclaimed “Serenade for Nadia”, ‘Leyla’s House’, and ‘My Brother’s Story’, which were all translated into 37 languages and won numerous Turkish and International literary awards, and were highly praised by prominent literary critics around the world. His novels have been turned into theatrical movies, stage plays, and operas.

The Cultural Diversity showcase will emphasize culture as a way of “Resilience in the Turkish Communities and Beyond”. In this context, it will present a spectrum of cultural richness of Azerbaijan, Colombia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Portugal, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the U.S. Native Americans, Uzbekistan with the help of Turkish American and Canadian Organizations’ cultural programs.

2021 Theme – Culture: A Source of Resilience

During this time of mass confinement, billions of people are turning to culture as a source of comfort, well-being and connection. There has been a surge in the creation of, and access to, cultural content online – from virtual visits to museums and galleries, streaming of films and even community choirs via social media – showing its fundamental role as a source of resilience for communities. Major crises throughout history have often given rise to a renaissance of culture and an explosion of new forms of creativity, so vital for human progress. Source:

Background – Intercultural Dialogue

Equitable exchange and dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based on mutual understanding and respect and the equal dignity of all cultures is the essential prerequisite for constructing social cohesion, reconciliation among peoples and peace among nations.(1)

In 2001, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and in December 2002, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 57/249, declared 21 May to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

The day provides an opportunity to deepen understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to advance the four goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted on 20 October 2005. These include:

  1. Support sustainable systems of governance for culture;
  2. Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase mobility of artists and cultural professionals;
  3. Integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks; and
  4. Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms

Keynote Speaker Ömer Zülfü Livaneli

Ömer Zülfü Livaneli, born in 1946, is a best- selling Turkish author and poet who is considered one of the most significant and influential authors and intellectuals of his time. His books have won numerous literary awards, both in his home country and abroad. Although his books are viewed as highly literary, Livaneli is considered the most selling contemporary author of Turkey today.

Livaneli was imprisoned several times during the coup of 1971 because of his political views and had to leave Turkey in 1972 and went on exile. He lived in Stockholm, Paris, Athens, and New York where he met and collaborated with artists and intellectuals such as Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, James Baldwin, and Peter Ustinov among others. Livaneli returned to Turkey in 1984.

Livaneli’s works and cultural and political activities and contributions to world peace were recognized by UNESCO in 1995. From In 1996 to 2016, Livaneli served as the Goodwill Ambassador to UNESCO, and resigned from this position in 2016. Further, he served a term in the Turkish Parliament as well as in the Council of Europe.

Livaneli is well-accomplished as a writer as he is as a poet and a songwriter, cultural and political activist. Although he first became known for his contemporary music, Livaneli turned his focus to writing, in the last decades, when he realized that literature was closer to his heart. His first collection of short stories, ‘A Child in Purgatory’, published in 1978 was turned into a movie by Swedish and German TV.

The virtual event has been organized in correlation with ATAA Committee on UN Relations and ATAA Cultural Diversity Committee, which has brought in 11 Turkish and Canadian non-governmental and civil society organizations together for this very purpose. The Cultural Diversity Committee has been formed, particularly, for this virtual event.

Below is the list of the participating organizations along with
a brief description of the content of the programs:

Azerbaijan Society of America – Presenting Emil and Leyla Afrasiyab, major artist amongst the new generation of Azerbaijani jazz performers. He specializes in the synthesis of jazz with Azerbaijani mugham, both of which feature a high degree of improvisation and provide great scope for personal expression.

  • Emil and Leyla Afrasiyab Performance “Sari Gelin” – Performed in Azerbaijan language.

Turkish-Canadian Society (TCS), Vancouver, BC
– Embracing and fostering cultural mosaic in British Colombia, Canada, since 1963.

  • Opening Gala-Vancouver Turkish Film Festival (VTFF) 2019 and intro video-online VTFF 2020 – History and place of VTFF in weaving BC’s multicultural fabric; with guest speaker notes and film posters, including the ones from VTFF 2020.
  • TCS Choir Musicians – A group of musicians from the Turkish Choir Ensemble Vancouver performing Uzun Ince bir Yoldayım, from Asik Veysel.

Turkish Society of Canada (TSC)
– Organization prepared “Rug weaving workshops” at the Toronto Library branches as part of “Culture Days” and “Asian Heritage Programs.” At the workshop, participants had hands-on experience learning how to weave simplified patters with fingers on a miniature loom by using wool or fabric strips in various colors.

  • Turkish Rug (Kilim) Weaving – “Kilim weaving,” a traditional type of folk art in Turkey, with techniques that have been passed on for generations. With their vivid colors and intricate designs, Turkish Kilims, or tapestries, are fascinating to study and also a lovely addition to our homes.

ETAC – Empowering The Turkish American Community USA

* Let’s Celebrate The Turkic American Heritage *
The Turkic nations are a diverse group of people representing a variety of backgrounds & experiences unified to promote cultural awareness, diversity and inclusion. ETAC will briefly showcase the rich history, culture and accomplishments of Turkic Communities.

Florida Turkish American Association (FTAA)
– FTAA has created a solid foundation with a variety of activities for all segments of the community. It is now the bedrock of the Turkish American community and values in Florida.

  • Kanun Music Performance by Can Yildirim.
  • FTAA Folk Dance Group -Yarim Hava Çalsana Folk Dance – Lead by Asli Yeniyol, Teacher.

The Light Millennium, Charitable Global Human Advancement Org. (LM) New York, NY

  • A tour of New York Through Miniature Eyes Presentation by Julia Mardin, Changing Circumstances – A PowerPoint presentation of the photomontages of souvenir dolls in out of the way locations of the big city explores ideas of cultural interchange, resilience, migration, celebration as well as some cautionary notes on what it is we consider progress. Imagery from the artist’s Changing Circumstances: Souvenir Dolls, NY series, along with commentary related to the time of lockdown, the birth of cities, and her home town of New York.
  • Istanbul Poetry by Demet Demirkaya – During the time of mass confinement and social distancing with limited social interactions poet took a mostly a spiritual trip to who she was during this pandemic. At first without getting out of her confined living; literature became her way of communicating and sharing hope and some positive thoughts with the people around her through humorous writings. Poet wanted to emphasize to keep oneself busy, occupied and productive is one of the core defenses in keeping sanity, stability and the positive mood as much as one can be. Hoping to give hope…

Turkish American Association of Alabama (TAAA)
– Presents Michael Roberts a member of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations of Oklahoma. He travels extensively during the summer months to pow-wows throughout the United States and Canada. Michael is a multi-time World Champion Dancer in the Men’s Southern Fancy Category and World Champion Singer with Drum Groups such as High Noon, Haystack, and Battle River. Michael introducing history, culture, music and dances of Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations of Oklahoma globally, promotes Tourism for the states of Oklahoma and Kansas; traveled extensively to Doha, Qatar, Korea, Bosnia, Germany, Iceland, and Portugal just to name a few. In the fall, he will travel to Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Michael’s parents were very involved in Native American cultural dances they also traveled extensively including to Turkey.

Turkish American Association of Minnesota (TAAM)
– Two different recorded musical performances performed by professional musicians living in Minnesota, also members of Turkish American Associations of Minnesota.

  • Music Performance by Duo Harmonia Piano Duo, Pinar Basgoze and Susana Pinto; “Hey Onbesli- Anatolian Portuguese Suite”, composed by New Zealander Canadian composer Christopher Norton.
  • Music Performance by Sprig of That; “Adalet” (Justice), lyrics and music by Yigitcan Eryaman, Guitarist, singer, song writer; Krissy Bergmark on Tabla; Isabel Dammann on Violin; Ilan Blanck on Guitar; sang in Turkish by the violinist Isabel Dammann.

Turkish Women’s League of America (TWLA), New York, NY
– Turkish Women’s League of America is supporting a social responsibility project; supports young girls in all aspects of life; growing up, education and financial support. TWLA sells Puduhepa and Sisters dolls and books in their website. Profits go to Toçev (NGO) to help educate girls in Turkey.

  • Introducing the Pudehepa Book to their friends – American Children – (Hitite Queen Pudehepa who signed the first peace treaty in history, the Treaty of Kades).

Turkish Women’s Initiative (TWI)
– TWI believes that every woman has a story and every woman’s story matters. The Stories of Courage program provides an opportunity for professional immigrant women to write, express, present and share personal stories. They portray the true, real-life accounts of women who have overcome cultural challenges in pursuit of dreams for their lives and careers.

  • Belgin Lore, a participant and mentor in the Stories of Courage program, will read her story.

Turkish American Association of North Texas (TURANT)
Brave Combo
Since 1979 the Denton, Texas-based quintet has perfected a world music mix that includes salsa, meringue, rock, cumbia, conjunto, polka, zydeco, classical, cha cha, the blues and more. They are America’s Premier Dance band and a rollicking, rocking, rhythmic global journey — offering what one critic recently wrote, “Even if you come for the party, you’ll leave with something of a musical education.”

Brave Combo’s vivid music can be heard in the films David Byrne’s True Stories, Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions, Late Bloomers, Fools Rush In, Envy, The Academy award-winning The Personals. They appeared at Oktoberfest in the beloved American burg of Springfield on an episode of “The Simpsons” and in 2008 Brave Combo provided the musical score for PBS’s first-ever animated series, “As the Wrench Turns” which resulted in an “Annie” nomination from the International Animated Film Society. Their music has also been featured on ABC’s hit series “Ugly Betty”, and Fox Television’s “Bakersfield P.D.” They have also contributed original music for ESPN and The Big Ten network.

For all inquiries, please email to: (Bircan Ünver),

Website: |


ATAA Becomes Associate Member of the UNDGC

#CulturalDiversity #InterculturalDialogue #SourceOfResillience #TurkishCulture #TurkicCulture #ZülfüLivaneli #A_T_A_A #UNWihCivilSociety

Books by Zülfü Livaneli (available in English translation)
Serenade for Nadia | Disquiet | Bliss