April 7, 2016, Staten Island, NY — The Turkish Cultural Center in Staten Island organized its 7th Annual Friendship Dinner. The dinner is the organization’s largest annual event, which brings together local business owners, community leaders, academicians in Staten Island. This year’s theme was titled, “Building Peace through Education” and was attended by about 230 participants.
The program began with a reception and an Ebru Marble Art demonstration, followed by an opening speech by Dr. Robert Fanuzzi from St. John’s University. Among the distinguished guests were, Chief Edward Delatorre; Staten Island Superintendent Anthony R. Lodico; Dr. James O`Keefe, Vice Provost of St. John`s College; William Fritz, President of College of Staten Island; Dr McNair from Wagner College; Inspector Thomas Delahanty, Deputy Inspector Robert Bocchino; Captain Matthew Harrington; Deputy Inspector Ebony Washington; Deputy Inspector Terence Hurson; Honorable Vincent Del Giudice; Councilman Josef Borelli; President Rabbi Gerald Susman of Project Hospitality, Rev. Terry Troia, Executive Director of Project Hospitality; David Sorkin, Executive Director of JCC; Linda Baran, President of Staten Island Chamber of Commerce; Murat Kaval, CEO of Turkish Cultural Center; Nebi Demirsoy, Executive Director at Peace Islands Institute; Dr. Demetrius Carolina, Pastor of First Central Baptist Church; Mark Erlenwein, Principal at Staten Island Tech High School and a representative from Richard Guarasci, President of Wagner College.
This years awards honored prominent individuals that have contributed to the community, promoted friendship and supported interfaith activities in Staten Island. Dr. Al Curtis Jr. & Dr. Aurelia L. Curtis,received the Friendship Award. Senator Andrew J. Lanza (NY) and Assemblyman Michael Cusick (NY) received the Community Enrichment Award; Councilwoman Debi Rose received the Community Service Award. Bishop John O’Hara received the Interfaith Dialog Award. The Educational Leadership Award was given to 30,000 Degrees Coalition.