April 19, 2016, Albany, NY. — The Turkish Cultural Center in Albany organized the 5th Annual Friendship Dinner and Award Ceremony at the Wolferts Roost Country Club. The theme of this year’s event was “Refugee Crises: Global Challenges and Local Opportunities”. The event attracted individuals and organizations that contribute greatly to peaceful coexistence in Albany.
The program began with opening remarks by emcee of the event, attorney Seth Leech, and continued with welcoming remarks by TCC Advisory Board Member, Dr. Samantha Friedman.
The keynote speaker for the event was Vera Eccarius-Kelly, Professor of Political Science at Siena College. She shared her experiences visiting refugee camps across Europe and the Middle East. Alma Kanic, a member of the Bosniak Association, spoke first hand about her family’s experience fleeing the brutal war in Bosnia in the ‘90s and travelling to the United States as refugees.
This year, Kathy Sheehan, Mayor of Albany received the “Leadership Award”. Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy was awarded the “Community Service Award”. Jill Peckenpaugh, Director of U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants received the “Philanthropy Award”. The “Media Award” was given to Paul Grondahl, Author, Reporter at Times Union.