On September 25th, 2014, the Peace Islands Institute (PII) collaborated with the Journalists and Writers Foundation (Gazeteciler ve Yazarlar Vakfi (GYV)) to host a high-level reception coinciding with the General Debate of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The theme of the reception was “Education for Sustainable Development” and was held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
Zafer Akin, President of Peace Islands Institute, and Mustafa Yesil, President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, each delivered opening remarks and discussed the importance of education. “Well-educated generations are a vital part of creating a sustainable future and peace,” said Yesil, providing the example of Turkish schools inspired by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen as a model of success.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (NY), presented Yesil with a signed proclamation congratulating the Journalist and Writers Foundation and Peace Islands Institute on their efforts in establishing “bridges to encourage peacebuilding through education.” U.S. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY) and U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley (NY) also signed proclamations.
H.E. Jean-Baptiste Natama, Chief of Staff to the Chairperson of the African Union, followed with a brief presentation emphasizing education as a major “key in unlocking one’s potential” and highlighted the role of the African Union in improving education quality across the continent. According to Natama, for the African Union to achieve sustainable development it should “invest in education services and in its people.” Additional remarks were delivered by Dr. John Lahey, President of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut; Rizanur Meral, President of TUSKON (Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey); and closing remarks by Mehmet Kilic, Director of Global Affairs at Peace Islands Institute.
The event was attended by distinguished individuals such as H.E. Moussa Ouattara, Minister of Higher Education of Burkina Faso; H.E. Kasim Issack Osman, Minister of Health of Djibouti; H.E. Chinedu O. Nebo, Minister of Education of Nigeria; H.E. Osman Saleh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Eritrea; Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, former Minister of National Planning in Nigeria; H.E. Dipu Moni, former Foreign Minister of Bangladesh; H.E. Peter Maurer, former Swiss Foreign Minister; NYPD officers; Rita Cosby, Special Correspondent for the CBS syndicated program Inside Edition; Tomaczek Bednarek; David Phelps, Commander of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office; and journalists from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The evening also featured a performance by the renowned World Peace Orchestra.
The Journalists and Writers Foundation was founded in 1994 to build bridges that promote peace and tolerance by organizing cultural and educational events that further democracy and human rights. Peace Islands Institute (PII) is a non-governmental and non-for-profit organization that aims to facilitate unity and peace by providing platforms that promote education and initiatives that help solve social issues while also providing a forum for collaboration and mutual respect. PII is a member organization of the Council for Turkic American Associations (CTAA), which is based in New York City. CTAA is one of six member federations under the Turkic American Alliance.
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