REPORT ON THE:
SPORTS FOR HEALTHY YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, SUSTAINABILITY & PEACE
An International Reflection and Celebration - E V E N T
(UN - April 6.Org & Republic of Turkey's May 19th Youth and Sport Celebration)
Organized and presented by
The Light Millennium, in collaboration with the
Turkish Women’s League of America
"A healthy mind found on a healthy body."
Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK
Photos by: Julie MARDIN, The Light Millennium, NGO Representative at the United Nations Department of Public Information
Additional photos video captured from the video recording by Bircan Ünver, also provided by Turkish Life Magazine.
Ali ERCAN, The Light Millennium,
NGO Youth Representative at the United Nations Department of Public Information
(New York, May 30-June 10, 2015) The Light Millennium organization, with a tax exempt status public benefit multi-media and culture organization, and associated NGO (non-governmental organization) with the United Nations Department of Public Information, organized and presented “Sports for Healthy Youth Development, Sustainability and Peace” program in collaboration with the Turkish Women’s League of America and the Ataturk School at West Park High School, New York City on May 18, 2015. The program presented an international reflection and celebration within the context of the United Nations’ Sport for Development and Peace (April6) in conjunction to the Republic of Turkey’s Youth and Sport Celebration (May 19.)
As prior Welcoming Remarks set the tone of the program, Melis Çokuslu and Oguzhan Altuntas, alumni from the Ataturk School, presented an adopted version of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s Address to the Youth of Turkey which also addressed the youth of the world. In reference to the Republic of Turkey’s Youth and Commemoration Day - May 19th; Mrs. Ayten Eler, Deputy Consul General of Turkey in New York, made the welcoming remarks of the program. Two opening remarks also set the “international reflection” of the program which were made by Mrs. Hawa Diallo, NGO Relations and Advocacy at the United Nations Department of Public Information and Ms. Husniyya Mammadova, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to the United Nations.
Erden Eruc was the Honorary Guest Speaker of the program and presented the ‘ROW FOR PEACE From New York to Gallipoli’ Campaign with slides and video. Eruc’s presentation was multi-folded. Afterwards, he accepted questions from the audience followed by “White Cards for Peace and Safe Journey to Erden, Kendon and Mark” by chanting all the speakers and guests on the stage together. It inspired by the United Nations Sports for Peace and Development' "White Card for Peace" Campaign, in which, Ergun Yurdadon accompanied with a flute performance. Bircan Ünver, the host and president of The Light Millennium, announced that this was a historical moment that was photographed and video-recorded. This was followed by a solo flute performance by Ergun Yurdadon which was dedicated to Erden Eruc.
The program continued with an Aerobic Dance performance by the Mallakhamb Federation of the U.S.
The second Youth Presentation of the evening was by Isik Basarir, a student at Baruch College, titled “What does May 19th mean to me as a Turkish Youth?” which followed by H.E. Ambassador Carlos Garcia’s case study from El Salvador.
Dr. Sebahattin Devecioglu’s speech was the second presentation of the evening which focused on the May 19 Youth and Celebration day in Turkey, its history and how also it inspired his academic career.
The closing section of the program was made by Bircan Unver and an alumnu from the Ataturk School, Emre Kulahlioglu.
The last performance was by Ergun Yurdadon on the piano accompanied by the guests of the program singing “Uzun ince bir yoldayim” by Asik Veysel.
The President of The Light Millennium Organization, Bircan Ünver, began the celebration by welcoming guests and participants to the conference by acknowledging and thanking Ms. Sermin Ozcilingir, President of the Turkish Women’s League and Ms. Tülay Tashkent, Principal of the Ataturk School. An emphasis was made to both organizations' collaboration which led to the materialization of this event. Afterwards, Ms. Unver introduced her co-host, Aybuke Ulutas; an alumna of the Ataturk School.
Unver provided a brief summary about the activities and the main point of the Light Millennium Organization. President Ünver explained in the following lines how the initial concept of this program was born. She indicated that for several generations in Turkey, we were raised - grew up with the idols of the May 19th Youth and Sport annual celebrations since 1923; a National Holiday in Turkey. United Nations General Assembly has a resolution on Sports for Development and Peace day that April 6 (April6.Org) is dedicated for this purpose in 2013. To that extend, its 2nd Anniversary was celebrated at the UN through a High Level Forum on April 15, 2015. With this knowledge, she indicated that Turkey has been celebrating Youth and Sport day since 1923, that we need to connect, bring these together and present them jointly on the global level that such national advancements and related existing programs could be acknowledged within the UN system as well. This was the initial inspirational point working on this concept that she explained.
The “Sports for Healthy Youth Development, Sustainability and Peace” program successfully delivered the program to its fullest. Both in terms of its speakers as well as presenting it from “an international reflection and commemoration” point of view. In reference to the “international reflection” aspect of the program, Turkey, the United Nations, Azerbaijan, India, America, Australia, New Zealand, and El Salvador were mentioned and reflected within the program.
Ms. Ulutas informed the participants about the activities of the “Turkish Women’s League in America.” Afterwards, she introduced Ms. Melis Cokuluslu and Mr. Oguzhan Ulutas to do their joint presentation on the importance of May 19th.
YOUTH Presentations I:
A statement to the "Turkish Youth and Youth of the World"
Melis Cokuslu and Oguzhan Ulutas,
Alumni, New York Ataturk School
This section began with the following statement of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s, the very first President of Turkey, to the Youth of Turkey, which is adapted by Melis Cokuslu and Emre Kulahlioglu also to the Youth of the World, and presented by Melis Cokuslu and Oguzhan Ulutas as the first presentation of the "Sports for Healthy Youth Development, Sustainability and Peace” celebration program. Which started with the following line:
“Turkish Youth and Youth of the World!
Your first duty is forever to preserve and to defend your own home country towards establishing a culture of peace in the world."
They continuied their presentation by giving an international message to everyone in the conference through the following quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States: "If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relations - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace."
And, jointly both concluded their presentation with the following statement, which is also inspired by Ataturk: "When we have peace at home, we will have peace in the world!" (For the full adabted text, please click here.)
Mrs. Ayten Eler offered her appreciation to The Light Millennium and Turkish Women’s League of America for organizing this event on the eve of May 19th; Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day.
Mrs. Eler continued her speech by stating the importance of May 19th by stating the following: “On this special day, we commemorate the Turkish Nation’s Great Leader Ataturk’s landing at Samsun on May 19th, 1919. This day marks the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence which ultimately led to the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, with his vision and the importance he attributed to the younger generation has dedicated the anniversary of this significant day to the youth, to whom he entrusted our Republic.”
Eler stressed that “the yearly celebrations of the Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day serves to emphasize the vital role and contribution of the younger generation in all aspects of life. Indeed, the level of development of our societies, our future, is directly linked with this role and the value we attribute to youth development. That is why investing in the youth, educating them and providing them with the necessary means to be healthy individuals are of key importance in building healthy societies and achieving a sustainable future.”
Additionally, Eler shared that “the post--‐2015 process has been through a long series of negotiations that has allowed us to arrive at a set of Sustainable Development Goals that encompass a wide variety of issues relevant for children and youth. We certainly have much to achieve and we need to continue to work towards this aim. 2015 is a pivotal year in terms of sustainable development goals.
Unfortunately, both women and the youth, are the two largest demographic groups in the world still facing inequalities, limited choices and restricted freedoms in education, health, security, work, livelihood and economic opportunities. Therefore, we need a development agenda that leaves no one behind. Factoring the youth in the post-2015 development agenda is a key issue.
After providing brief information about the Youth 20 (Y-20), which is the official youth engagement group of the G20 that provides a platform for young people of G-20 countries, Mrs. Elen shared that Turkey, after taking over the Presidency of the G-20, that the Youth 20 (Y-20) will be an official outreach program of the G-20 in 2015.
Mrs. Elen concluded her speech by stating the following: “We should not leave anyone behind”.
Opening Remarks by
Ms. Hawa Diallo,
Public Information Officer,
NGO Relations & Advocacy Section
United Nations Department of Public Information
Ms. Hawa Diallo began her speech by thanking everyone who played a role in organizing this event and stated that “it is an honor and privilege to be here with young people who are not only the future of today but also the future of tomorrow.”
During her speech, Ms. Diallo shared that there are around 1400 NGOs which are affiliated with the United Nations’ Department of Public Information. She also stated that “In order to develop DPI-NGO relations further, DPI has created Youth Representative Program. We have a lot of young people, either as being a part of NGOs or representing the NGOs, from all around the world and these young people are representing THEIR NGOs at the United Nations sessions. Thus, these NGOs have also a voice through young people.”
In regards to UN/DPI’s activities, Ms. Diallo stated that “our department, especially the NGO relations section, organizes annual UN DPI/NGO conferences, which focuses on issues related to the UN agenda. By getting the support of NGO representatives from all around the world, we provide our contribution to the demonstration process and bring a voice to the forefront in regards to the issues which the UN is dealing with.”
Ms. Diallo also shared that the UN itself has particular offices which focus on work on sports, development, and peace. Afterwards, she provided examples of South Africa and Kenya, and how they used sports, especially football, to resolve conflicts and security issues as well as prevent violence.
Ms. Diallo concluded her speech by underlying the importance of bringing awareness to the world problems by engaging people, engaging decision-makers and policy-makers and etc.
Opening Remarks by
Ms. Husniyya Mammadova, Counselor,
Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to the United Nations
Photo credit: Turkish Life Magazine
Ms. Husniyya Mammadova started her speech by thanking the organizers of this conference, on behalf of the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan, for inviting her.
Ms. Mammadova briefly informed the participators on what Sports mean to Azerbaijan and their society as well as their achievements in the field of sports, physical education and its impact on the Youth. “Sport is among the key factors contributing to education and development of individuals and societies at large. By educating to respect the equality of people, tolerance, and excellence for fairness, sports can positively impact social inclusion and cohesion,” said Ms. Mammadova.
In regards to Azerbaijan’s activities, Ms. Mammadova said that in order to foster a culture of sports in society, they have put in place more than 50 facilities through the entire country in the last ten years alone. Ms. Mammodova also provided that today, the youth with the median age of 30 years, constitutes forty percent of their population and remains their top priority. Furthermore, Ms. Mammodova stated that “international sport events are important practices to not only identify talents, but to also spread the understanding and tolerance among nations."
In her conclusion, Ms. Mammadova stated that “over the last several years, Azerbaijan positioned itself as a destination to several sport competitions. Twenty five days from now, our nation will host the Inaugural European Games between June 12 to June 28, 2015.” Ms. Mahmodova also invited the participants of the conference to their upcoming activities related to sports.
|Honorary Guest Speaker:
Mr. Erden Eruc, President of Around-n-Over &
Solo Rower, Guiness World Record & AKUT Athlete
Erden Eruç started his presentation by sharing his dream that he had in 1997 involving a human powered circumnavigation of the world by creating value for the society. And it became a passion for him in the process that also led to him quitting his job as an engineer; a well-paid job, in order to pursue his dream.
Mr. Eruç stated that “as Athletes, we have responsibilities and are given opportunities to guide people in the right direction.. We should be beneficial to the society. That’s why we set up the non-profit Round-n-Over” which is an organization aiming to educate, inspire and create resources through sports.
Eruç continued his presentation by enumerating the sport branches he has become a part of so far and explaining that his organization’s goal was to focus on education, especially that of children and to create a means for developing countries. “One of our projects was for secondary schools in Tanzania and another project was to help middle schools in Turkey” said Eruç. Additionally, Eruç provided a short summary of his rowing experience across the ocean, the importance of this journey and how it felt as well as how people had helped him once he arrived on the shores of different countries. Mr. Eruç also shared a map showing the route of this journey and talked about the kind of problems he faced during his journey.
Some of Erden Eruç's records are as follows:
Guinness Book of World Records (2009, 2012, 2014)
1st row: Three major oceans
1st : Solo Circumnavigation by Human Power
1st row: Crossing from the Southern to the Western hemisphere
1st row: Complete the Indian Ocean
312 days: The Longest time at sea for a solo rower
The most experienced ocean rower alive
Eruç continued his presentation by sharing that “it did not matter where I went, sports provided me the key to people’s hearts. It transcended the cultural differences, political differences, economic differences and etc. No matter where I went, I was welcomed and taken care of.” As a result of his journeys, he was recognized by Outside magazine as one of the nine people who changed the face of adventure. Men’s Journal had also recognized him as one of the fifteen adventurous men.
Eruc provided a brief history on the Battle of Gallipoli in order to explain why he will row his boat across the ocean with his Australian partners. On the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli and in memory of the shared sacrifice, mutual respect, and admiration among three nations, Mr. Eruc and his teammate Kendon Glass, will launch from Battery Park, New York to Morocco and thereafter to Gallipoli. He indicated that their trip was initially scheduled for May 19, 2015 but their equipment hadn’t arrived yet so they had no choice but to wait.
During their journey, they will have the flags of three countries on their boat at all times in order to emphasize the symbolism of rowing together. Eruc explained that, “because through peace and reconciliation, individuals can develop their potentials. That is the message we will give to the world”.
At the end of his presentation, Eruç responded to some questions about his upcoming journey. The first question asked was if he will have internet access while at sea.. Eruç said that he will have minimal access because the connection will be slow so he will use it to take small images from the sea and send some emails.
The next question was what motivated him.. His answer was “ I have emotions and I’m a person who is demonstrating master. Being the best in the world gives me a responsibility to keep doing what I am doing and what I am good at. And I will keep doing it until my wife says “stop.” I’m having a lot of fun so I will keep going. She has not stopped me yet. What also motivates me is that this is an important year. As a Turkish man, I thought this would be one of the good ways to represent Turkey and to contribute a wonderful story to this year.”
Another question was whether he gets any sort of sponsorship or support from the Turkish government and Eruç’s answer was simple: “No, I don’t.” Then he continued with the following: “This project is open to the Turkish public to support and sponsor it and such grassroots support would be more meaningful to me than the government’s big check. We, Turks, have had a lack of initiative and a lack of taking the first step. We expect everything from the government, and if the government does not help, it does not mean that we cannot do anything. The government is there for some purposes and sometimes for their own purposes. What is important to me isn’t necessarily important to the government. Now, it is time for the public to act. I’m not expecting anything from the government and that is why I purposely did not apply to any government funding.”
The last question was whether there will be someone following them while they are rowing in the ocean. Eruç said that “we will be alone and no one is going to follow us. We will be responsible and independent sailors without any type of support from others.”
Once Eruç’s presentation was concluded, everyone in the auditorium was called on to the stage so that they could hold their white cards to emphasize the importance of peace and also to wish a safe journey to Erden and his teammates Kendon Glass and Mark Gasson. His childhood friend, Dr. Ergun Yurdadon accompanied this with a flute performance, and also dedicated a solo piece to Eruç..
Dr. Ergun Yurdadon accompanied this with a flute performance, and also dedicated a solo piece to his childhood friend Erden Eruç..
At the end of this section, there was also an Aerobic Yoga performance of Mallakhamb Federation of the United States. Mallakhamb Federation of the US aims to build stamina, strength and flexibility while experiencing Indian culture.
After providing some information on the historical background on the Aerobic Yoga performance, which is a combination of yoga, dance and gymnastics; the representative of the federation stated that “Mallakhamb is an ancient (Eastern) Indian sport which originated as a complimentary exercise for wrestling but is now practiced as a sport in itself. The name is a combination of the words "malla" which means athlete or strong man and "khamba" which means pole. It is gymnastics on the pole. It’s more benefiting and rewarding than any other sport. It is a combination of yoga, gymnastic and martial arts."
Below Brief Presentations followed by as the second half of the event:
Ms. Basarir briefly defined what May 19th meant to her. She said that “instead of focusing on what it means to us and why we celebrate it, rather, we should focus on how people experience it in Turkey.” She continued her speech by saying that “as Turkish people, our understanding of Sports consists of screaming at the television during soccer games.”
Ms. Basarir stated that when she was younger, she was discouraged by the belief that studying was far more important than sports and that it was a waste of time. She stressed the importance of sports in regards to the development of a person as well as the development of a state.
Basarir concluded her speech by stating that the “United Nations also recognized the importance of sports and that is why there is an International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.” [Isik Basarir's full presentation is availabe via this link.]
||H.E Mr. Carlos Garcia, Ambassador,
Executive Director &
Senior Advisor at South-South News;
Vice President of the Light Millennium Organization
H.E. Ambassador Garcia started his presentation by conveying his thanks to the organizers and participants. Ambassador Garcia stated that “by the Resolution A/R/53/243 A and B -Declaration and Program on a Culture of Peace- is a very important resolution because for the first time since 1996, the United Nations has started to bring very a perspective on different angles to manage peace, not only seen as a counter-resolution but in a more comprehensive perspective.”
H.E. Garcia continued his presentation by adding that “there is a very important aspect of the United Nations agenda that we need to understand in terms of development which sees sport as a tool for social inclusion.” By social inclusion, he was referring to the vulnerable groups in accordance to the United Nations. These vulnerable groups are children, youth, women, people with disabilities and indigenous people.” According to Ambassador Garcia’s presentation, “culture of peace, sport-health education, and sustainable development are the three important concepts and components of the process. These three layers (prevention of violence, social inclusion, individual empowerment) of the culture of peace are necessary to move towards a dynamic relationship with sports which is connected to health, education, and provide some other tools like teamwork, responsibilities, discipline, and general equality.” Ambassador Garcia stressed the importance of understanding the other companions such as sustainable development, which as an economic driver, entrepreneurship, environmental protection and community approach. H.E. Garcia explained the concept of sustainable development by three principles which is as follows: social inclusion, economic development and environmental protection and stressed that “sports play a very important role in creating very positive cycles in terms of bringing families, communities, local-national government, and multi-state partnership, together.”
In his conclusion remarks, H.E. Ambassador Garcia used El Salvador as an example and how they used sports as a tool to prevent social violence, promote gender equality, and provide business opportunities and he also explained the correlation between sports and national identity. (H.E. Garcia's Power Point presentation is available through this link.)
|Dr. Sebahattin Devecioglu, Firat University, Turkey &
Coordinator of the International Youth and Sport Committee of
The Light Millennium
Dr. Sebahattin Devecioglu started his presentation by providing some background information on the history of May 19th and its importance to the Turkish Nation. Dr. Devecioglu underlined that as the expectation, desire and enthusiasm of the people of Samsun along with “Ataturk’s special interest” enabled the day to be considered among our national holidays at an early stage of the formation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.
Dr. Devecioglu also stated that “Ataturk’s definition of youth generally gains an intellectual meaning by exceeding the age limit and goes hand in hand with the innovation of opinions.” Also, Dr. Devecioglu shared the following quote from Ataturk “Being young minded means having a real mind to see and understand the truth.”
In regards to the importance of May 19th, Dr. Devecioglu said that “the meaning and importance of the May 19th Youth and Sports Day and entrusting the republic to the youth by Ataturk within the development period of the Turkish Republic and highlight the contribution and leadership of Ataturk to the youth and society as a significant need and an exemplary model across the globe.”
Dr. Devecioglu continued his presentation by stating that “as a result of the convention on the rights of children that was accepted by the United Nations in 1989, rights of the child were determined in 4 main groups: life, development, protection and participation. The United Nations declared the year 2005 as the International Year of Sport and Physical Education. At the UN headquarters in New York, on 23 August 2013, the UN General Assembly declared 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP.)”
Dr. Devecioglu gave the following news that it will be recommended that Youth and Sports be included as an additional goal to the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals post. (Dr. Sebahattin Devecioglu's Power Point presentation is available through this link.)
Emre Kulahlioglu gave the last presentation and briefly talked about his connection with the Youth and Sport Day – May 19th and thanked all the organizers who presented this program to keep the May 19th Program in New York City, alive.
The conference ended with a performance by Dr. Yurdado on the piano which was accompanied by the attendees singing Asik Veysel's "Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayim" (I am on a long-narrow path.) (Dr. Sebahattin Devecioglu's Power Point presentation is availabe through this link.)
Related other links:
SportandDev.Org: Sport for healthy youth development, sustainability and peace with The Light Millennium
Isikbinyili.Org: BARIŞ’A YOLCULUK – NEW YORK’TAN GELİBOLU’YA KAS’ GÜCÜYLE GİT
Ekospor.Com: SPORTS FOR HEALTHY YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, SUSTAINABILITY AND PEACE
On Yerelce.Com (Belgium) Dünya Barışına Hedeflenmiş bir ROTA!
Barış için kürek çekmek, tam da böyle bir şey!
We wish a Safe Journey to Erden, Kendon and Mark…
A Noble Cause for World Peace!
19 May 1919 – 19 May 2015: Different Departures but Same Soul!
Elaziginsesi.com (Turkey) TÜRK GİBİ KUVVETLİ
Special Thanks To: Yesim Ozel-Dorian
Posted as Work in Progress on May 30, updated on June 4; and finalized on June 10, 2015.
A correction is made on Augus 9, 2015.