ATAA UN Related Announcement# 28

In Support of  “(April 24) International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace (A/RES/73/127)”

Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA),
Empowering the Turkish American Community (ETAC-USA),
Turkish Women’s League of America (TWLA), and
Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan (TACAM)

Present a Webinar on:

Prosperous Future for All Through Multilateral Dialogue

Sunday, April 28, 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 April 28, 2024,  Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), Empowering the Turkish American Community (ETAC-USA), Turkish Women’s League of America (TWLA), formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC), and Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan (TACAM) will hold a virtual event titled “Prosperous Future for All Through Multilateral Dialogue” in support of (April 24) International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace (A/RES/73/127).  Multilateralism is both a method of cooperation and a form of organization of the international system. It is based on founding principles such as consultation, inclusion and solidarity of a country or organizations. Where, their operation is determined by collectively developed rules that guarantee all actors the same rights and obligations to ensure sustainable and effective future. Program objective is to educate our community, show them how to influence decisions made by officials wherever they live, and protect their and their children’s rights for sustainable peaceful future.



Opening Remarks by
Dr. Nilüfer Esen-Bilgin, ATAA President

Program Overview by
Dr. Selim Erhan, ATAA Trustee and ATAA UN Committee Member


Keynote Speakers

Lincoln McCurdy, ATAA Senior Policy Advisor
Uğur Kara, Turkish Anti-Defamation Alliance (TADA)


Youth Perspective Speakers
Sean Özalpaşan, ATAA Youth Committee member, Harvard-Westlake School Student

Bora Özalp, ATAA Youth Committee member, Detroit Country Day High School

Arden Ege Van Winkle, Dallas International School

Cihan Kepenek, Arizona State University

Aral Tolan, Arizona State University, Turkish Student Association Global

Ece Yenigün, TWLA UN Youth Representative

Mehmet Taşçıoğlu, ATAA Youth Committee Co-Founder and Chair


Community Dialogue
Dr. Selim Erhan, ATAA Trustee and ATAA UN Relations Committee
Prof. Dr. Emine Nas, Selcuk University
Name Erberk, ETAC VP
Saime Atakan, ATAA Youth Representative

Upcoming programs announcement by
Yücel Burdurlu, ATAA UN Committee Co-Chair and ATAA Midwest Region VP

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




Lincoln McCurdy
ATAA Senior Policy Advisor

Lincoln McCurdy is an international affair professional with over 45 years of leadership and management experience in the U.S. government, private sector, NGOs and community service. Currently, he is a consultant on U.S.- Turkiye relations and grassroots organizing. He advises five Turkish American political action committees (PACs) under the Ten Thousand Turks Campaign and previously served as an officer for the Turkish Coalition USA PAC. Until recently, he was the president of the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), an independent not-for-profit organization in Washington, DC. He also had served on the Board of Directors of the Turkish Philanthropy Funds. Prior to TCA.

McCurdy was the president and chief executive officer of the American-Turkish Council in Washington, DC. Earlier in his career, he worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce, served as the Consul for Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, and was a consultant for the Bank of Boston in Turkiye. Mr. McCurdy was recognized by the U.S. Department of State for his work in enhancing commercial relations between the United States and Turkiye. He was one of the 2018 laureates of the Gusi International Peace Prize in Manila, Philippines, Asia’s foremost award for the attainment of peace and respect for human life. In 2019 he received the Turk of America Outstanding Achievement Award in Leadership & Management.

He graduated from Hanover College in Indiana and holds a M.A. in International Management from The George Washington University. He and his wife have two daughters and two grandchildren.


Uğur Kara
Turkish Anti-Defamation Alliance (TADA)

Uğur Kara has a scientific education encompassing medical device design and biosciences.

Within the past year, he has broadened his area of expertise to include metabolic preventive pathways and cancer research.

He has twenty years of residence in New York and is employed as a product manager at ASTA Labs, an organization headquartered in the Netherlands.

Kara is an active participant in numerous cultural organizations, such as the American Constitution Society, NYCLU, and NAPABA. Since 2019, he has been a member of the board of directors at Turkish Anti-Defamation Alliance (TADA).

For the past six years, he has been engaged in legal research activities at TADA, where he assists education initiatives on statistical methods for case review procedures and analyzes international legal cases. His multidisciplinary approaches to problem-solving are widely recognized.


Dr. Selim Erhan
ATAA Trustee and ATAA UN Committee member

Dr. Selim Erhan was born in Istanbul Turkey. After graduating with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Istanbul, he continued his studies at Western Michigan University with a Ph.D. in Polymer-Organic Chemistry. After teaching at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and Lake Michigan College, he started a research career first at the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, IL.  He continued his career in the private industry, working on application of bio-based products to industrial applications.

Dr. Erhan started actively working on introducing Turkey and the Turkish Culture in USA while studying at Western Michigan University in 1980. He joined the Turkish American Cultural Alliance in 2000 and became active in educational activities and in 2009. He was the co-founder of the highly successful TACA – Public Outreach Program, aiming at educating middle school, high school and university students on important issues.  The Public Outreach Organization brought speakers like Prof. Justin McCarthy, Prof. Turkkaya Ataov, Emre Kongar and Lincoln McCurdy. 

In 2013 he joined TACA’s Board of Directors and became the Director of the Ataturk School and the Adult Turkish School. Continued as the TACA Public Outreach Chair preparing seminars and conferences to reach out and enlighten the public in the Midwest region.

Dr. Erhan was elected as ATAA’s Midwest Region VP  2015 to 2019.  He has continued working at ATAA, helped to form the UN Committee and was instrumental to form the highly successful Turkish American Presidents Group under ATAA, improving communications with the Component Associations in USA and pulling in similar Turkish organizations from Canada. In 2022, he was elected to ATAA’s Board of Trustees.


Dr. Levent Onat
ATAA Southeast RegionVP and ATAA UN Committee member

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.


Prof. Dr. Emine Nas
Department of Craft Design and Production, Selcuk University

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.


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

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
ATAA UN Committee Co-Chair and ATAA Midwest Region VP

Yücel Burdurlu–Tavolara was born and raised in Istanbul Türkiye. 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.


Saime Atakan-Kasım
ATAA Youth Representative

Saime Atakan-Kasım  is an attorney licensed in California, New York, and Türkiye. 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.


Cihan Kepenek

Cihan Kepenek was born in San Francisco, CA and grew up in Istanbul, Türkiye. At the age of 15, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where he graduated from high school.

Chihan currently full time student at Arizona State University, majoring in Global Studies with a minor in French. He plans continuing his education by pursuing a master’s and a PhD.

His career aspiration is to work at the United Nations as an ambassador, representing the Republic of Türkiye and serving as its voice on the global stage.


Bora Özalp
ATAA Youth Committee member and TACAM Youth Member

Bora Özalp is a student at Detroit Country Day High School. He is a straight-A student and is ranked in the top 10% of his class. He plays basketball for his school’s junior varsity team and is also a member of the school’s ski team. Bora is an avid violin and piano player since age seven and has been playing in the school’s Honors Symphonic Orchestra. Bora was a member of the Detroit Country Day Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society, and he is a candidate member of the High School’s National Honor Society.

Bora has been actively involved with the Turkish American Association of Michigan from a very young age by participating in association’s Turkish language school, clubs, events and activities. He participates in Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington’s Turks Without Borders project as a conversation partner to high school students in Türkiye.

Bora also volunteers with Ҫağdaş Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği in Türkiye to help university students in conversational English. Bora volunteers his time during summers in Türkiye as a summer camp counselor in remote villages helping elementary school age students with learning English.

Bora is fluent in Turkish and Spanish. Bora’s goal is to continue his involvement in projects where he can use his skills helping students and by doing so establish friendships and connections between the Turkish-American youth in the US and in Türkiye.

Bora plans to become an Electrical and Computer Engineer with a focus on medical applications.


Sean Özalpaşan
ATAA Youth Committee member

Sean Özalpaşan is a senior attending Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, California. Sean is a proud member of the Turkish-American community and takes pride in participating in Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California (ATASC) events in Los Angeles, California.

He enjoys programming, computer hardware, finance, geography, and history. Sean enjoys learning languages, as he is currently taking advanced Spanish classes and beginner German classes at school.

Furthermore, Sean enjoys traveling, and whenever he and his family go to Türkiye, they make sure to visit UNESCO-recognized ancient historical sites as well as important hallmarks of Ataturk’s legacy in Türkiye. To further his understanding of Turkish history, Sean takes the Middle East Studies class at his school.


Mehmet Taşcıoğlu
ATAA Youth Committee Co-Founder and Chair

Mehmet Taşcıoğlu is a student at Stanford University studying Management Science & Engineering. In 2019, he co-founded the Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan’s High School Chapter, serving as President from 2020 to 2021 and Past President from 2021 to 2022. In 2020, he co-founded the Assembly of Turkish American Associations Youth Committee, and currently serves as Chair. Additionally, Mehmet is the Founder & Chair of the Board of Directors for Connect Me Tutoring, the largest student-run free tutoring service in the US. On the entrepreneurial side, Mehmet is the CEO and Executive Producer of the College Treehouse, a college consulting and media company with over 10 million monthly views online, and is the Founder and Managing Partner of a Mosaic Cakes LLC, a Turkish dessert company.


Aral Tolan

Aral Tolan was born in Istanbul, Türkiye. At the age of 6, Aral and his family moved to Aix-en-Provence, France, where he completed his elementary education. Later on, they relocated to Tucson, Arizona, where he completed both middle and high school.

He is currently a senior at Arizona State University, majoring in Political Science and minoring in the French language.

His goal is to continue his education with graduate studies in International Public Policy. In the future, his career aspirations involve becoming a diplomat and working in the fields of International Relations, Diplomacy, and Global Affairs.


Arden Ege Van Winkle

Arden Ege Van Winkle, born in Plano, TX to Turkish American family, 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.


Ece Yenigün
TWLA Youth Representative

Ece Yenigün is currently in her third year of university, studying as a Political Science major at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Throughout her elementary, middle, and high school years, Ece attended the United Nations International School where she successfully completed the International Baccalaureate Program and earned her IB Diploma; studying biology and socio-cultural anthropology as her higher level subjects, as well as composing an extended essay in the French language.

Her proficiency in four languages (English, Turkish, French, and Spanish) has allowed her to become the aspiring communicator she is today. In addition to academic excellence, Ece was the Captain of both the Girl’s Varsity Basketball and Volleyball Team during her high school years.

Within her fourteen years of experience as a violinist, Ece has performed at Carnegie Hall twice and continues to portray her commitment and aspiration for the instrument by playing with the Union College String Orchestra. Moreover, Ece has also pursued her interest in humanitarian work through internship opportunities such as The New Neighbors Partnership at Columbia University, along with volunteer work with the Turkish Red Crescent Community (Turk Kizilay) at ‘Nizip 2’ and ‘Elbeyli’ Temporary Refugee Accommodation Centers in Gaziantep, Turkey.

During her days of volunteering services, Ece had the opportunity of mentoring Syrian refugee children whereby she assisted in aid and food distribution, taught English and Turkish classes, as well as participated in arts and sports activities, such as the implementation of a ceramics course under the framework of a juvenile rehabilitation program.


Participating Organizations

ETAC – Empowering The Turkish American Community USAFounded as a non-profit organization to unite, to fulfill and accommodate the needs of the existing Turkish American Community members as well as newcomers by way of orientation and guidance. Such as; orientation and guidance to both the existing members and to the newcomers.

Turkish Women’s League of America – (TWLA)Established in 1958 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in New York, Turkish Women’s League of America (TWLA) aims to preserve and teach Turkish language and culture to the future generations. The association is one of the oldest active Turkish-American organizations in the USA and it also hosts the New York TWLA Atatürk School, which has been a pride since 1971.

Turkish American Cultural Association of Michigan (TACAM) Follows the philosophy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, who stated: “Culture is the foundation of the Turkish Republic.” TACAM wants to instill this philosophy into all Turkish-Americans living in Michigan. The purpose of this association (TACAM) is to foster, promote, plan and execute programs aimed at improving the economic, social, educational, general welfare and other humanitarian activities of the Turkish community in the State of Michigan and elsewhere.


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

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