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Light Millennium #15 Issue, May 2005
Media Coverage & Summary of the 5th Anniversary Events

Light Millennium celebrated its 5th Anniversary with
'Five' events between 2-7 May, 2005.

"Reflections from Sri Lanka & Tsunami"

The first program of the Light Millennium's Fifth Anniversary Celebration event series, "Reflections from Sri Lanka & Tsunami," was held on 2 May 2005 at the Turkish House. The evening was comprised of a Power Point presentation by the Founding President Bircan Unver, and a speech given by the honorary guest Ambassador R. Jayasinghe for Sri Lanka and Deputy Permanent Representative for United Nations.  

The Power Point presentation contained selected photographs from Sri Lanka, which were taken during Bircan Ünver's trip to Sri Lanka between January 15 - February 9, 2005. The photographs reflected general scenes from Colombo, Moratowa, Negombo in parallel to Sarvodaya Organization's Tsunami Relief Efforts from Galle, Ampara, Kalmunai and Killinochichi as well as visits to Sir Arthur C. Clarke, legendary author and scientist who has been living in Sri Lanka since 1956. The Power Point presentation also included photographs from Adam's Peak, Anaradhapura, Pollonaruwa, Dumbulla, Sigiriya and Hikkaduwa as the legends and reflecting cultural richness of Sri Lanka, which were taken during Ünver's first trip between Dec. 2002 - Jan. 2003.

After the event the Reflections of Sri Lanka & Tsunami at the Turkish House on May 2, 2005 in New York City.
(Left to right:) Atilla Pak, Figen Bingül, Bircan Ünver, Ambassador R. Jayasinghe, Bari Steinberg, Dr. John Kentung, & Sandy Hacker

After Unver's presentation, Ambassador Jayasinghe made a speech focusing on the background of Sri Lanka's culture and major historical turning points. He also gave an update about Sri Lanka and the aftereffect of Tsunami as well as the ongoing rehabilitation-reconstruction process and developments in the country since December 26, 2004.

In addition, Ambassador Jayasinghe gave an overview of the "Peace Process of Sri Lanka," where he voiced his hopes and expectations regarding the tsunami disaster. He said that this enormous devastation may lead the country towards for a permanent realization for creating peace between Tamils & Sinhalees within the country in the long-term. Ambassador Jayasinghe emphasized an urgent need for achiving "peace" within the country and stated: "If this cannot be accomplished, then how will we be able to achieve a rehabilitation, reconstruction and development process of the country?" (Light Millennium, May 2005)

-- For the Media Release of the Reflections of Sri Lanka & Tsunami>

* * * * *

"Don't let globalization to kill cultural diversity..."

A panel titled "Cultural Diversity, Removing Prejudice & Fostering Global Connectivity" took place at the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey on May 4, 2005. The moderator of the panel David CUTHELL (Director of Middle Eastern Studies, Stevens Institute of Technology), who is well versed on the Middle East, also acted as a participant. The panelists were Tirlok MALIK (Indian, Founder & President of the NRI TV Film Club, NY); Etem EROL, (Turkish, Professor at Columbia University); and Hossein KAMALY (Iranian, Professor at Columbia University).

In this panel, the panelists, who have faced prejudices for being from a different culture while living in a diverse environment in the U.S., reflected different cultures. The existing prejudices were defined by each speaker from their own perspectives, giving examples of what were the most annoying experiences they had to face. The panelists, including the moderator who had lived outside of the U.S. for more than 10 years, shared their own experiences with the audience.

Left to right: Tirlok Malik, Indian, Founding President of the NRI TV Film Club; Hossein Kamaly, Iranian, Professor at Columiba University;
David Cuthell (Moderator of the panel), American, Director of Middle Eastern Studies, Stevens Institute of Technology;
Etem Erol, Turkish, Professor at the Columbia University.

Each speaker talked about how to lessen --or if it is possible to remove-- existing prejudices on each culture and country from their own perspectives in order to foster global connections to serve for global peace. The speakers concentrated on the issues of globalization and how it affects the continuity of local cultures.

The Iranian originated Hossein Kamaly noted that globalization is inevitable; however this trend is endangering local cultures and differences. He emphasized on the necessity of tolerance for diversity in order to sustain the development of humanity.
Etem Erol, coming from a Turkish origin, stated that diversity without yielding to destructive nationalism is a great gain. He gave as an example the ongoing discussion between the Turks and Greeks about "to whom does the yaprak sarma (stuffed grape leaves) belong," and pointed out that this argument in fact causes the fact that both societies have the yaprak sarma in their cultures to be forgotten. He argued that the issues that are seen as differences are in fact our mutual values.

Indian originated film maker Tirlok Malik complained about the prejudices that exist in different societies. He gave as an example that the Indian characters in Hollywood films are either portrayed as newspaper sellers or gas station cashiers, while nobody cares about the fact that the 30 percent of Indians living in the U.S. are doctors. He argued that this kind of facts are not brought under light deliberately and the biased representations in the media deepen the prejudices among peoples.

-- For the Media Release of "Cultural Diversity, Removing Prejudice & Fostering Global Connectivity>

Translated from:
-- Emrah Ülker, New York, "Globallesme kültürel farkliliklari öldürmesin." ZamanUSA – May 7, 2005 Issue#683

* * * * *

 Adalet Agaoglu talked on the Turkish Novel in New Jersey & New York...

One of the preeminent authors of the Turkish Republic, Adalet Agaoglu, gave two lectures titled "Developments in the Turkish Novel between 1970-80" in New Jersey and New York. The first one of the lectures took place at The Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey on 4 May, 2005. The second lecture was held at Columbia University in New York on 5 May, 2005.

Both events started with a Power Presentation about Light Millennium's mission, vision and their activities made by Bircan Unver, the Founding President of Light Millennium.

After Unver's presentation, Prof. Sibel Erol (New York University) made the introduction about Adalet Agaoglu and her works. Prof. Erol talked about the main themes in Agaoglu's novels and gave examples from her novels and enlightened the audience about Agaoglu's authorship.

Prof. Sibel EROL introduced Adalet Agaoglu's books at Stevens and Columbia Universites and directed the Q & A sessions both in English & Turkish.

Two Lectures by Adalet Agaoglu

Agaoglu started her speech by pointing out the different perspectives on the concept of ‘culture.’ She mentioned that she doesn’t like to be labeled as a “woman author;” adding that she is not against feminism, however she opposed the idea of commercialism behind the label of feminism. She emphasized that creativity does not have any sex. She said: “If I have to make a differentiation between sexes, I can only define people as woman kind, man kind, and author kind.”

Agaoglu talked about how the Turkish novel, in the Republic era, had been confined in a narrow form in terms of style and content and this situation urged her to look for new styles in the novel with a search for multi-dimensioned and multilayered construction.

She also noted that the political agendas shape the novel trends; but it is wrong to label a novel as "village novel" or “March 12th (the military coup in 1971 in Turkey)” just because those novels are taking place in a village or they are published after the March 12 coup.

Agaoglu explained how she developed new styles in Turkish novel, and how she arrived at the point where her novels are considered to be "pre-postmodern" in a time when postmodernism was not even discussed. She finished her talk recounting the instances where she was considered to be "plagiarizing" or copying some other Western authors because she created new styles in the Turkish novel. She mentioned that this is due to the inferiority complex in Turkey vis-a-vis the West and she asked the question: "When will I be only myself as a writer from Turkey?"

Left to right: Figen Bingül, Adalet Agaoglu, Bircan Ünver, Prof. Edward Foster &
Prof. Sibel Erol after the lecture at the Stevens Institute of Technoogy
in New Jersey on May 4, 2005.

After her talk, Agaoglu answered the questions of the audience. On one question about how the Turkish literature can become more recognized in the world, she stated that the publication of translated Turkish works should be encouraged and only then may the world know better about the Turkish literature. She mentioned that the Ottoman culture is somewhat known in the world, but there is not enough knowledge about the Republic of Turkey, and it is only possible to know a nation and its people through their art, and mainly their literature.

About another question on the new generation of Turkish authors, she stated that there are a great number of new authors and it is hard follow them all. Since the bestseller mentality has gained popularity, these new works are written and published in order to sell. Therefore, they lack of taste just like hormoned fruits. She also stated that to be “postmodern” it is necessary to go through the stage of “modern” first.
Translated from:
-- Esra Kirecci, "Adalet Agaoglu, New York'ta Türk romanini anlatti," NEW YORK (A.A) - 05.05.2005.

Photographs from the Columbia University lecture...
Prof. Sibel Erol, NYU Middle Eastern Studies, during her introduction of Adalet Agaoglu's books at the Columbia University, New York City on May 5, 2005. Ilhan Mimaroglu, worldwide renowed electronic music composer and Turkey's renowed author Adalet Agaoglu; two old close friends have met during the lecture at the Columbia University. After the Columbia University lecture, guests and organizers of the lecture posed with Adalet Agaoglu.
(Right to left: Elif Ozmenek, Güngor Mimaroglu, Ilhan Mimaroglu, Adalet Agaoglu, Prof. Etem Erol (back row), Adalet Agaoglu, Bircan Ünver, Figen Bingül, Prof. Sibel Erol & Erhan Berber (front row).

* * * * *

"The Geography of Novels..." in Toronto

by Adalet Agaoglu
(Third Lecture)

The third and the last one of Agaoglu's lectures was held in Toronto University, Toronto, on May 7, 2005. This event was organized by Light Millennium in corporation with Ankara Library of Toronto, Inc.

The opening speech was made by Dr. Erhan Berber of Light Millennium. Dr. Berber gave the audience a brief information about the mission and vision of Light Millennium.

Mrs. Sevim Onen, the Founding President of Ankara Library of Toronto, Inc. made the introductory speech for Adalet Agaoglu’s lecture and welcomed the audience.

Adalet Agaoglu during her lecture at the University of Toronto on May 7, 2005. Left to right: Ayfer Samancioglu, Figen Bingül, Adalet Agaoglu,
Erhan Berber, Yaman Ozumeri, Sevim Onen (front row),
Nuzhet Onen & Bircan Ünver at the Toronto University after
Adalet Agaoglu's lecture.

Adalet Agaoglu, in her lecture titled "The Geography of Novels," explained how  the lives of people are not the main concern of novels, but the novels have their own lives; and every place and medium where a novel takes place makes the geography of that novel.

Agaoglu stated that in the Turkish novel, there is a dominancy of the author’s geography, not of the novel’s and that is why she took a different approach in forming the geography of the novel. She underlined the view  that “the author does not define geography, the novel does.”

Agaoglu said that novels recount the individuals, and those individuals are formed by the society and therefore no individual can be evaluated independent from the society. She gave examples of this view from her novels Summer’s End, Curfew, and her trilogy Narrow Times.

Agaoglu explained how she tried to go beyond the classical novel structure by experimenting with different narration styles such as memoir, diary, story, and play in her novels. She also mentioned that the East-West conflict, which is the main issue of Turkey, is mainly the common subject of her novels.

The lecture was received with great attention from the audience of nearly 100 people and the event ended with a session of questions and answers. Agaoglu answered the questions about the society-individual relations in her novels and the situation of the Turkish novel in our day. (Light Millennium, May 2005)

-- For the Media Release of Adalet AGAOGLU's 3 Lectures>

-- Translated by Figen BINGÜL for the Light Millennium, May 2005.

* * * * *

OUR SPONSORS for Adalet AGAOGLU's New Jersey and New York lectures for plane ticket and hotel accomodation: 
Co-sponsor: Turkish Airlines (THY)

Special Thanks for Adalet AGAOGLU's 3 lectures:
Prof. Edward FOSTER and David CUTHELL, Stevens Institute of Technology
Etem EROL & Astrid BENEDEK, MEAMAC, Columbia University
Ayfer SAMANCIOGLU, Ankara Library of Toronto, Inc.
Murat OMEROGLU, New York Vice Consul: for his support.
Prof. Sibel EROL (NYU, Middle Eastern Studies): for her invaluable contribution by her introductory speeches at both lectures in Stevens Institute of Technology and Columbia University.
Sevinc GURSOY: for her technical assistance at Columbia University.

Emrah ÜLKER, ZamanUSA newspaper
Esra KIREÇÇI, Anadolu Ajansi

Special Thanks for the "Reflections from Sri Lanka & Tsunami” event:
Hasan OZDEMIR, Turkish House Manager
Beyhan Karahan Associates & Architects: for providing the projection.
Atilla PAK: for his technical support during the event.

Baris ÜNVER: for his photography & videography at the Turkish House.

-- Photographs from Columbia University lecture updated on June 20, 2005.

_ . _

Light Millennium General Secretary: Figen Bingül
Board of Directors: Erhan Berber, M.D. & Prof. Edward Foster
Founding President: Bircan Ünver


Light Millennium #15 Issue, May 2005

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