“Reserve in your heart a seat for all” – Friendship Dinner in Rochester, NY


Date posted: May 19, 2015

“Reserve in your heart a seat for all”, a memorable quote by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish civic activist and the Peace Island Institute’s Honorary President, could have been the slogan for the evening. The Peace Island Institute (PII) branch for Upstate New York in Rochester was celebrating its 11th Annual Friendship Dinner with Award Ceremony at the Double Tree Hilton in Henrietta last Wednesday.

The Peace Island Institute and its co-host for the event, the Rochester Turkish Cultural Center (TCC), are non-profit organizations with the declared goal to support and celebrate cultural variety and peace and understanding among different cultures, traditions and religions.

Bulent Özdemir, the Executive Director of the local PII branch, opened the event by welcoming everybody and introducing the Master of Ceremony for the evening.

Don Alhart, News Anchor and Assiociate News Director for Channel 13. After giving an overview of the agenda for the evening, Don Alhart introduced some of the public servants, among them; Mr. Bill Hochul, US Attorney, John Howlan, 13th District County legislator, Judge Karen Morris, City Councilman, many Community Leaders as well as Religious Leaders.

Following Don Alhart’s opening words and dinner, Mahir Zeynalov, Journalist and Correspondent for the popular Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman, presented the keynote speech for the event covering many subjects related to the freedom of press in today’s Turkey and all around the World. His open words about the general situation in his homeland, which he had to leave because of being prosecuted for openly reporting about the government’s involvement in corruptive activities, was honored with a standing ovation by the touched audience.

The award ceremony was again initiated by Bulent Ozdemir, who brought Sandra Frankel (Advisory Board Member for TCCR) and David Phelps (Commander in the Monroe County Sheriff’s office) to the podium who introduced this year’s Award winners.

David Phelps presented Dr. Don Kamin and James Lawrence with the PII 2015 awards for Public Safety and Media. Dr. Kamin was honored with the Award for Public Safety acknowledging his work in the mental health system including development of the Crisis Intervention Team in the Rochester area in cooperation with different law enforcement agencies.

Jim Lawrence received the PII 2015 Media Award for his almost 20 years of outstanding work as local journalist being the eyes, ears, voice and conscience for population and administration in Rochester.

The awardees for PII’s Education respectively Public Service decoration, Professor Joel Seligman and Robert Duffy, were introduced and presented by Sandra Frankel.

As President of the University of Rochester, Joel Seligman is not only improving the provided scholastic offers in Rochester but is also involved in many projects to enhance local lifestyle and economy.

Ex-Rochester Mayor and Lt. Governer for New York, Robert Duffy, was honored for his almost 40 years of public service in Rochester and the State of New York.

This year PII presented a Special Recognition Award to Dr. Hidayet Karaca, CEO of Samanyolu Broadcasting Group International for his outstanding dedication to Media and Responsible Journalism. Since he has been detained because of his supported statements of Freedom of Press and Democracy in Turkey, Mr. Mustafa Taban, Correspondent to Samanyolu Group, NY received the award on the behalf of him.

The evening was rounded off by the remarks from the Program Committe Members thanking everybody spending the evening with the Upstate New York Branch of the Peace Islands Institute and the Rochester Turkish Cultural Center.

Overall, the successful event left us with an insight into the vision and goal of two amazing originations, the desire to learn and experience different cultures, traditions and religions and an appreciation about the lifestyle, freedom and opportunities provided by our great country.

Annual-Friendship-Dinner-and-Award-5

Source: Peace Island Institute , May 15, 2015


Related News

AKP politician Akdoğan: Gülen’s support for peace talks of vital importance

Emphasizing the importance of Gülen’s remarks, Akdoğan said: “Political and social support to this peace process is of high importance. The government cannot take a step in spite of the public and nation. It is easier for the [government] to get a result when there is strong support from the public.

‘Portraying Hizmet against settlement process groundless’

In an interview with the Zaman daily last week, GYV vice president Cemal Uşak categorically denied the aspersions that have been cast on the Hizmet movement on social media for a couple of years and in conventional media for the last three months that claim that the Hizmet movement has been against the settlement process.

Fethullah Gülen calls on Muslims in the US to pray against Sandy

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has expressed his deep sorrow over the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy, called on Muslims in the US to pray and reportedly wrote a blessing and prayer against the storm before the US East Coast was hit by the monster storm, on Monday. Gülen lives in Pennsylvania, which was among the […]

Fethullah Gülen’s dialogue and tolerance discourse parallels Gandhi’s

Sudheendra Kulkarni, the head of the India-based Mumbai Research Foundation, has said there are parallels between the views of Mahatma Gandhi and Fethullah Gülen. Kulkarni talked to students from the Faculty of Theology at Marmara University, discrediting the misconception that Gandhi was against technology. Kulkarni described his new book, “Music of The Spinning Wheel,” and obscured characteristics of Gandhi as the protagonist of his book.

International Panel for “Sharing Coexistence Experience” in Korea

The International Panel for Sharing Coexistence Experience brought together the representatives of the religions in South Korea and the religious groups in Turkey in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The panel was jointly organized by the Korean Conference on Religion and Peace (KCRP), the Istanbul Cultural Center, which operates in South Korea, and the Intercultural Dialogue Platform (KADİP) of the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV).

Turkish Cultural Center Hosts Food Drive

The Humanitarian Aid group under the Turkish Cultural Center (TCC) held a meat drive on Monday, August 3rd for Eid al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) at the Turkish Cultural Center on Revere Street.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Turkish Food Festival seeks to teach Greenville about Turkey’s culture and cuisine

Fethullah Gülen’s Statement of Condemnation on the Bombing in Manchester, UK

S.A. nun speaks at the U.N. on Gulen

TAA to hold annual Turkic American Convention in Washington

Conference on Hizmet movement to take place in Senegal

Gov’t effort to bring down bank would have international repercussions

AFSV Condemns Erdoğan’s Persecution of the Hizmet Movement

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News