ATAA UN Related Announcement# 27

In Support of  “International Women’s Day (8 March)” and “World Water Day (A/RES/47/193)”

Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA)

Presents a Webinar on:

Describing Women in a Drop of Water
“Bir su Damlasında Kadını Anlatmak

Sunday, March 10, 2024
12:00pm EDT, 11:00am CDT, 9:00am PDT, 19:00 TR

Online Registration:

 After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Language: English


On March 10, 2024, The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC), will hold a virtual event titled “Describing Women in a Drop of Water (Bir su damlasında kadını anlatmak)” in support of (March 8) – International Women’s Day and (March 22) – World Water Day (A/RES/47/193).  If we want to create prosperous economies and a healthy planet, well balanced gender parity for women’s well-being in all aspects of life is more crucial than ever.

Program Introduction

International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8th.  Every year, we have opportunity to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements and raise awareness about women’s rights.  Women’s Day highlights the inequalities and injustices women have faced throughout history while encouraging active participation of women in every aspect of society.  After all, women is giving life to humanity!

Similarly, World Water Day, celebrated on March 22nd, aims to create global awareness about sustainable management of water resources and access to clean water. This day draws attention to issues such as water scarcity and pollution, promoting solution-oriented approaches in sustainable water management and fair water distribution.

The idea of bringing these two significant days together has crucial, economical, and life sustainable focal points:

  • Emphasizing women’s rights, equality and draw attention to the difficulties faced by women in the social, economic and political spheres and to encourage women’s empowerment.
  • Emphasizing the critical role women play in water and sustainability issues and supporting unity for social change.
  • Highlighting the critical role of women in areas such as access to clean water, sustainable management of water resources, and efficient use of water, fostering awareness.
  • Encouraging the effective involvement of women in sustainable management of water resources and access to clean water while uniting their strengths to build a shared future for societies in water and sustainability issues.
  • Women leading in water and sustainability issues help societies build a fairer, more balanced, and healthier future.
  • This unity contributes to the progress of societies towards a fairer, sustainable, and healthier future.



Opening Remarks and Introduction by

Dr. Nilüfer Esen-Bilgin, ATAA President


Dr. Levent Onat, ATAA UN Relations Committee Member and ATAA Southeast Region VP
ün Özsoy, Indiana American Turkish Association Past President

Keynote Speakers

Saime Atakan-Kasım
ATAA UN Youth Representative
Lesha Witmer
Strategic Advisory Committee World Water Quality Alliance Deputy Chair

Youth Program Leader

Prof. Dr. Emine Nas
Selçuk University, Türkiye

Youth Presentations by

Alin Gurdikyan
Selin Gu
Bengisu Kara
Sanem Kara
Yasemin Knott
Arden Van Winkle

Youth Dialog/ Q&A Session

Upcoming programs announcement by

Yücel Burdurlu, Co-Chair ATAA UN Committee Co-Chair & ATAA Midwest Region VP

Closing Remarks by

Alev Wieland, ATAA UN Committee Co-Chair & ATAA First VP & ATAA Southwest Region VP



Saime Atakan-Kasım  is an attorney licensed in California, New York, and Turkiye. She is the founder of GlobalB Law Firm, PC located in Beverly Hills, CA. She graduated from Ankara University and completed her master’s degree in University of Maryland. Saime studied women rights and gender equality during law school, and high-tech law during her master’s degree. She helped hundreds of young women achieving their American Dreams since the first day she started her own law firm.


Lesha Witmer is founding and Steering Committee member of Women for Water Partnership (WfWP), advocacy lead. She serves as steering committee member of the European Pact for Water, the Butterfly Effect NGO coalition, AGWA and #ClimateIsWater campaign. She is a (alternate) permanent representative to the UN (HLPF, UNESCO, UNEP/ UNEA, UNCTAD, UNECE, UN Water, etc.) on behalf of Business and Professional Women international and WfWP and also representative to the EU Parliament. She chairs the VAM foundation; is a former vice-chair of the Hydropower Sustainability Governance committee and the social chamber. She is a former chair of the sustainable development committee of the Netherlands women’s council, the standing committee of IFBPW on sustainable development and a former advisor of the Netherlands to the commission on sustainable development. She is a strategic group / member of the World Water Quality alliance (hosted by UNEP) and core member of the stakeholder Engagement Platform working group and a member of the UNESCO WWAP water and gender working group. Since 1991 she works as independent senior advisor and facilitator (interalia for WWF). Her expertise: empowerment, equity, equality and participation (strategies), human resources, project-and process management; Sustainable Development policies; vocational training and mentoring, water stewardship, water diplomacy, water governance and management, advocacy, and capacity development. She holds degrees in Human Resource and General Management (Sittard & Nijenrode), studied western sociology (Erasmus) and (international and labor) law (University of Amsterdam).


Prof. Dr. Emine Nas completed her undergraduate studies at Selçuk University, Faculty of Vocational Education, Department of Handicrafts Education, between 1992 and 1996. Between 1998 and 2005, she conducted significant research and documentation in Turkish handicrafts at the Department of Art History, Institute of Social Sciences, Selçuk University, earning her Ph.D. title. In 2009, she received ceramic training for one year at the Northern Clay Center in Minnesota, USA, and attended leather surface decoration courses at Tandy Leather. In 2013, she was appointed as an Associate Professor in Applied Arts. Since 1996, she has been working at Selçuk University. Her work focuses on handicrafts, product design, and cultural sustainability. She has personal, joint, and group exhibitions consisting of national and international scientific publications and artistic works related to these topics.


Dr. Levent Onat is from Izmir, Turkiye, and his childhood was marked by a unique experience of living in seven different cities across the country. Before venturing beyond Turkish borders, he explored every nook and cranny of his homeland. Armed with a strong academic foundation, he obtained both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Environmental Engineering. Embarking on a diverse career, Dr. Onat served as a researcher at the University of Stuttgart and contributed his expertise as an environmental engineer in Türkiye’ s private sector. Upon relocating to the United States, he pursued further education, earning an additional M.S. degree from Auburn University in environmental engineering and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in interdisciplinary engineering, specializing in health, safety, and environmental (HSE) engineering. With over two decades of experience as an HSE Professional, Dr. Onat boasts a versatile background spanning industries like chemicals, oil & gas, foundry, automotive, wood manufacturing, and academia. Recognized as an authorized outreach instructor/trainer for the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), he currently holds the position of Program Manager, Occupational Health and Safety, overseeing operations in the United States and Canada for the world’s largest global and privately held industrial gases company. Beyond his professional achievements, Dr. Onat is deeply involved in various Turkish community organizations. Actively participating in Turkish student organizations and Turkish and American Associations since his relocation to the United States. He currently serves as the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA)’s Southeast Regional Vice President and as the President of the Turkish American Association of Alabama (TAAA). He also contributes to the U.N. Relations Committee of ATAA. Residing in Alabama with his wife since 2001, Dr. Onat finds joy in diverse interests, including travel, swimming, electronics design and repair, and cherished moments spent with family and friends. His commitment to community service and passion for his pursuits exemplify a life rich in experiences and meaningful connection.


Nilgün Özsoy is Process Engineering Director at List Biological Laboratories, Inc., with a track record of cross-functional team leadership, operational excellence, and technical management.  Nilgün has significant knowledge/hands-on skill in drug product formulation and cell culture manufacturing with SUD/SS vessel/tank systems. Experience in parenteral manufacturing operations for aseptic vial, syringe, and cartridge filling systems. Expertise in equipment prep systems (washer, autoclave, CIP, and SIP), filtration, fed-batch, and perfusion bioreactor systems.  Her mission is to deliver high-quality and innovative solutions that meet the clients needs and regulatory standards.  She leverage her expertise in lean principles, systems thinking, data science, and project management to drive operational excellence, continuous improvement, and technical management across multiple product lines and facilities. Nilgün  is great at connecting with others, multi tasking, and particularly skilled at tailoring approaches to form and lead efficient teams. Highly organized and continuously learning, aiming to become a leader who revitalizes organizations, envisioning a future where purpose, people, planet, and profit flourish together.


Alev Wieland has Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from University of Cincinnati, OH. Worked for Belcan Engineering at Proctor of Gamble as Project engineer for 7 years. Since she retired from PepsiCo, Inc-AMEA Capability Director in 2012, she formed Manufacturing Excellence Technical Services and Alev Cosmetics companies. Alev has extensive experience in Lean Manufacturing, Lean Product Life Cycle Management, and Processes Development. Project Management, Construction Management in Food Manufacturing, Paper Converting and Laundry Soap Industry. She has solid understanding of Engineering, Manufacturing and Operations Processes. She is an expert in ISO 9001 and GMP Certifications and Standards. She has been responsible for organizational communication, meetings management, documentation, web site management for Contemporary Education Foundation (COEDFO) since 2013. She served as President of Cincinnati Turkish American Association (CTAA) from 1994 to 1996. An active member of the Turkish American Association of Northern Texas (TURANT), she has been providing organizational operations support to its elected board members and helping with executions of projects since 2000.  Alev serves as the First VP, Southwest Region Vice President, Chairs the Community Newsletter Committee and Co-Chair of UN Relations Committee of Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA).  Alev is very active at her local city and Main Street Organizations, provides support in an advisory capacity


Yücel Burdurlu – Tavolara was born and raised in Istanbul Turkey. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Hacettepe University Ankara Turkey, she continued her graduate studies at California State University Long Beach. After graduating, she started a career in private industry working on applied and theoretical research on coatings and coating raw materials. Yucel worked for Imperial Chemical Industries formerly known as ICI Paints North America in their Strongsville Research Center most of her career in the international innovation team where she was involved variety of interesting projects in collaboration with their Slough Laboratory in Slough, England, ICI France in Rouge, France and ICI South America Research Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Next, Yucel worked for BUNGE Oils North America where, she worked with inorganic synthesis of anticorrosive pigments and tested them in collaboration with Batelle Laboratories in Columbus Ohio, University of Southern Mississippi and Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.  Presently, Yucel is with True Value Manufacturing in Cary Illinois as a Research Chemist. Yucel lives in the suburbs of Chicago.  She joined TACA’s Board of Directors in 2013-2015 and she was the Director of the Ataturk School and the Adult Turkish School 2014-2015. Yucel also has been a member of the Chicago Turkish Festival Planning Committee and a volunteer in the festival since 2013 and has served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Chicago Turkish festivals in 2016 and 2018. Yucel is planning to continue working on bringing Turkish and American groups together using her organization skills, people skills, education skills and her passion for harmony and peace.


Alin Gurdikyan, Florida Turkish American Association – FTAA Youth Representative, is senior psychology student soon to be graduating from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with I/O track. Currently. I am volunteering research assistant in the SELF Regulation lab and STRIPES Program. I also work as a learning assisting helping Dr. Ryan Winter in research methods and analysis, and I work as a facilitator in Sports Konnect, a non-profit organization for at risk communities, teaching children science and art. I aspire to become a mental health counselor focusing on children and family populations, especially those dealing with emotional and behavioral disorders. I am also interested in becoming a clinical psychologist after I earn my license in counseling to continue to research on EAB, treatments, and interventions.


Selin Gurdikyan, Florida Turkish American Association – FTAA Youth Representative, recently graduated from FIU with bachelor’s degree in Biology and Pre-Medicine track. Currently, she is volunteering at a Cognitive Behavior research study and work part time at Jackson Memorial Hospital as a scribe. Selin aspire to become a surgeon one day and will apply to medical schools this year. She is also interested in philanthropy and passionate about subjects such as education in areas of poverty and working with cancer survivors.


Bengisu Kara is a dedicated and talented engineering student at Ohio State University, where she is pursuing a highly competitive degree in aerospace engineering. With a rich cultural background as a Turkish-American, Bengisu has lived in the US for the past eight years and is committed to realizing her dreams and reaching her full potential. Her athletic background as a successful artistic swimmer for nine years, combined with her leadership skills and ability to inspire others, have made her a valuable asset to her team and community. In her free time, Bengisu enjoys exploring the outdoors through hiking, tapping into her creative side through painting, and continuing to learn and grow through reading and trying new skills. Her ultimate goal is to serve as a role model and advocate for women in STEM, working to increase representation and bring awareness to the incredible contributions of women in these fields


Sanem Kara is a Turkish-American student who’s currently enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she is working to complete her second Associate’s degree in Jewelry Design. She has five years of experience in the fashion industry and in 2021, she received her Associate’s degree in Fashion Design.  Sanem has held internships in multiple fashion houses, working to continuously expand her knowledge and skill set in jewelry design. In her spare time, Sanem enjoys participating in various contemporary art activities, training in ballet and ballroom dancing. In May 2022, Sanem created her own line of wearable costume jewelry, named Heaven.Ly. The goal of Heaven.Ly is to challenge and break the traditional limits and boundaries that have been imposed upon women in fashion through the ages. It strives to grant freedom to its wearers, empowering them to express their own femininity with no constraints. By melding together the realms of jewelry and clothing, Heaven.Ly intends to celebrate traditional concepts of grace, beauty and sensuality, whilst still promoting power, strength and self-assurance. Sanem’s jewelry designs are also meant to be inclusive of all genders, sexual orientations and body sizes, Breaking away from any confining social norms regarding attractiveness and desirability.  This gives individuals the chance to fully embrace and express their femininity with complete confidence.


Yasemin Knott, Turkish Women’s League of America – TWLA Youth Representative, is a Junior Social Work major at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. She has been on the Dean’s List and the President’s List since attending Siena College. She is a Student Representative on the Siena College Social Work Advisory Board. She is a Community Assistant at Siena College. Through her position as a Community Assistant, she was able to give a successful presentation on the importance of diversity, inclusion, and representation.  Yasemin has been a Turkish Women’s League of America youth representative for the United Nations since January of 2023. Since being inducted into this position, she attended the Assembly of the Turkish American Associations’ 2023 Annual Conference, as well as making a presentation on the importance of inclusive education for all. Yasemin has been a member of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations’ United Nations Youth Forum since April of 2023. Yasemin is a 2020 National Honor Society Inductee and a Spanish Honor Society Inductee. She was previously an officer of the Saratoga Springs High School Spanish Culture Club as well as the 2022 Siena College Muslim Student Association Events Coordinator. Yasemin was a cheerleader for 15 years and a dancer for 10 years. She was a Saratoga Springs High School Varsity Competitive Cheerleader and Team Captain for multiple years. She also achieved American Red Cross Certification in Childcare. Yasemin is learning Turkish, Spanish, and American Sign Language. She attended the Turkish Women’s League of America’s New York Ataturk School and earned a New York Seal of biliteracy in Spanish and English. Through college courses in high school, she earned credits from Rochester Institute of Technology, Adirondack Community College, and Schenectady City Community College. Yasemin volunteered at Dorothy Nolan Elementary School for 6 years.


Arden Ege Van Winkle, Turkish American Association of North Texas – TURANT Youth Representative, was born in Plano, TX to Turkish American family. Arden graduated from high school who possesses a diverse skill set as a critical thinker and problem solver. Arden graduated from the Dallas International School within the French school system. Fluent in English, French, and Turkish, with a moderate command of Spanish. Arden volunteers his time in the Doctors Without Borders Program Language Education Program and help students in Türkiye to learn English. He is an active youth member of the local Turkish community, provides support on different educational and cultural programs. Beyond multilingual skills, Arden has a passion for music and visual arts. With a scientifically inclined mind and a penchant for out-of-the-box thinking, Arden aspires to continue his education by pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and aiming to make a positive impact in the field of fluid dynamics.


For further inquiries, please e-mail, (Alev Wieland, Co-Chair & ATAA Southwest Region VP)

Websites: || |