Peace Islands Honors Noteworthy NJ Residents

Right – Civil Right – Dr. Joan Rivitz, Governor James J Florio, Asw. Sheila Oliver, Semsettin Efe, Sen Bob Gordon, PII Director Ercan Tozan, Asw Shavonda E. Sumter, Commissioner David Hespe, Maud Dahme, PSE&G Rick Thigpen, PSE&G Ellen Lambert, Clifton Mayor James Anzaldi, PII Exec Asst/Program Coordinator, Melikhan Turkileri
Right – Civil Right – Dr. Joan Rivitz, Governor James J Florio, Asw. Sheila Oliver, Semsettin Efe, Sen Bob Gordon, PII Director Ercan Tozan, Asw Shavonda E. Sumter, Commissioner David Hespe, Maud Dahme, PSE&G Rick Thigpen, PSE&G Ellen Lambert, Clifton Mayor James Anzaldi, PII Exec Asst/Program Coordinator, Melikhan Turkileri

Date posted: June 4, 2015

Peace Islands Institute (PII) held its eighth annual awards dinner May 31 at the Hyatt Hotel in Morristown, paying tribute to New Jersey residents whose noteworthy lives and careers have made a positive impact in the Garden State.

Ercan Tozan, executive director of PII’s New Jersey chapter, welcomed attendees and thanked them for their support. He also praised the award winners for their many accomplishments.

The annual PII award dinners were established to publicly recognize the outstanding achievements of those who have distinguished themselves and contributed to the “greater good” in the Garden State.

Individuals honored at the May 31 gathering included former NJ Gov. James J. Florio, who received the PII “Community Service Award”; Clifton Mayor James Anzaldi, who received the “Diversity Award”; David Hespe, NJ commissioner of education, who accepted the “Education Award”; Richard T. Thigpen, vice president of PSEG, Newark, who garnered the “Business Award”; and Hidayet Karaca, the president of Samanyolu Broadcasting Group of Turkey, who was the recipient of the “Media Award.”

As mentioned during the presentation of the Media Award, Karaca was unable to attend the event in Morristown, as he has been imprisoned in Turkey for more than 100 days due to an ongoing media crackdown by the Turkish government. A symbolic “empty chair” was placed on stage during the presentation of the award to Karaca.

Assemblywoman Sheila Y. Oliver, who represents NJ’s 34th legislative district, was the keynote speaker for the event. Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter, who serves the 35th district, presided as the moderator for the awards ceremony.

Oliver, in her opening remarks, praised New Jersey as America’s most culturally diverse state and encouraged those in the audience to take time to learn about other cultures outside of the United States.

Florio, New Jersey’s 49th governor (1990-1994), spoke of how “harmonizing our diversity has been the key to our success here in the Garden State.” Several speakers throughout the evening praised Florio’s career and his many legislative accomplishments in areas such as education, the environment and transportation.

According to its mission statement, PII (website:, as part of the international Hizmet movement, promotes tolerance, education, interfaith dialogue and harmony. It looks to create “islands of peace” in a diverse society. In order to fulfill this mission, PPI organizes activities such as trips to Turkey, lectures, seminars, conferences, luncheons, dinners and programs for students.

With its main headquarters in New York, PII has divisions in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Upstate New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The New Jersey chapter is located at 777 Terrace Ave.,

Suite 109, Hasbrouck Heights. Contact PII by phone (201-426-0689) or e-mail ([email protected]) for additional information on the organization and its programs.


For More Photos Click Here

Source: Peace Islands Institute , May 31, 2015

Related News

International Conference on Hizmet Movement in Taiwan

Formosa Institute and Taiwan Association of Islamic Studies (TAIS) are organizing a conference titled “Hizmet Movement and the Thought and Teachings of Fethullah Gülen: Contributions to Multiculturalism and Global Peace” to be held on December 8-9 2012 and calling for papers. Objective The need for peaceful coexistence among the people of various cultures has long been […]

Gov’t media maintain attack on Bank Asya

Turkish daily Yeni Akit, with close links to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reported on Sunday that Bank Asya extended loans to certain Turkish-owned companies abroad and failed to collect these loan debts.

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 […]

Hizmet turns theories of Millennium Development Goals into practice

The 2015 Millennium Development Goals of the UN were discussed in the international panel, with participants agreeing that the goals can only be sustainably achieved through education.

Henri Barkey: Why Is Turkey Accusing Me of Plotting a Coup?

Soon after the coup was defeated, my colleagues and I became the targets of sensationalist conspiracy theories promulgated by Turkey’s pro-government press. The accusations ranged from organizing the coup on behalf of the C.I.A. to setting up communication links for the plotters and, most implausibly, bringing a convicted murderer from California into Turkey to engage in evil deeds.

Diverse community enjoys feast at Turkic American Alliance iftar

The Turkic American Alliance in Washington, D.C. hosted a traditional iftar dinner, inviting the community to break the day’s fast together. Rep. Keith Ellison, (D) Minnesota: “Ramadan represents an opportunity for us to come together. And everyone is welcome to the iftar. People of all faith traditions. And it’s a chance for us to get to know each other a little bit better.”

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Kosovo’s Parliament supports commission to probe deportation of six Turks

NBA Player Enes Kanter: I’ve Spoken Out Against Turkey’s President Erdogan and Now I Can’t Go Home

Reception for ‘Time in Turkey’ held in New York

Archbishop Fitzgerald: Fethullah Gülen has inspired many Muslims to be engaged in interfaith dialogue

Japanese students assist Syrian refugees in Turkey

After Fethullah Gülen’s demise what will happen to the Hizmet Movement

AfSV Statement on the Turkish government’s detainment of Kutbettin Gülen

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News