SPORTS FOR HEALTHY YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, SUSTAINABILITY & PEACE
An International Reflection and Celebration
(UN - April 6.Org & Republic of Turkey's May 19th Youth and Sport Celebration)
West Park High School, NYC, May 18, 2015 - 7:00-9:00p.m.
WHAT DOES MAY 19TH MEAN TO ME AS A TURKISH YOUTH?
by Isik BASARIR, Student, Baruch College
Youth Presentations - II
May 19, Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports day also marks the start of Turkish Independence War.
In the process of building a modern nation, encouraging the youth to get involved in sports was a part of Ataturk’s national development agenda.
And so May 19th is celebrated every year to remind ourselves of the important role of sports in development.
However, instead of talking about what this day ideally means to us, what it should mean to us, why it’s celebrated, I think we should rather talk about how the people experience it.
As a nation, we don’t put much thought into what these national holidays really mean or why they’re important. This holiday or these ideals never became stronger than tradition, religious and cultural values, or politics.
For us, Turks, our understanding of sports consist of screaming at the tv during soccer games. And when I was younger, most grown-ups didn’t support their kids to play sports. They in fact discouraged them and said that the school and studies were far more important. And that should be the only focus of young people. SO there was always this argument in between young generations and their parents, and communities that in most cases, girls wouldn't be allowed to involve in any form of sports.
With that in the background, when I ponder upon the importance of this day, I see the followings:
We’re celebrating sports because it’s essential for the development of a young person and the development of a young nation. Sports keep youth off the streets, away from bad habits and violence, and instead provide discipline.
The importance of sports for youth is dismissible. United NAtions also recognized the importance of sports. That’s why April 6th was declared as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by the UN General Assembly to signify the increasing recognition of the positive influence that sport can have on the advancement of human rights, and social and economic development.