Turkic Cultural Exchange and Community Dialogue


Date posted: July 23, 2013

By Niagara Intern Staff: Polina Zasheva, Emma Hornor and  Eleanor Peck

Nearly seventy-five legislators and staff attended the annual Turkic cultural reception at the State Capitol, hosted by Niagara Foundation. The event awarded attendees and guests with the chance to dialogue with lawmakers over a buffet of Turkish food and coffee on topics of interfaith, multiculturalism and global acceptance.

When asked what this program had to offer Vice President of Niagara Foundation Mevlut “Hilmi” Cinar stated, “We are coming with representatives of many cultures with hope to introducing them to our legislators”. The reception took place in Secretary of State Jesse White’s office. Representatives from the Turkish-American and Kyrgyzstani-American communities in Illinois conversed with the legislators and staff members of the Joint Task Force on Illinois-Turkish Relations.

Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, a member of the task force and long-time friend of Niagara Foundation addressed the group and expressed his enthusiasm for the organization. He asserted that “[his] experience with Niagara Foundation has been very positive.” He continued saying that “[the foundation] works with all elements of society, trying to bring people together, to develop a better understanding of each other. And, to learn that people generally are good people and everyone can live in peace and harmony”.

Furthermore, House of Democrats representative Jack Frank noted, “I wish more groups would copy what Niagara does. It is so important for people to understand the different cultures. It brings folks together. I think it is because of Niagara’s work you’re seeing benefits, not only culturally, but also in business. We’re working on a bill right now to help a Turkish corporation do some business here right in Illinois. That would never have happened without Niagara’s intervention and leadership.”

The Consul General of Turkey, Fatih Yildiz, and Greek Orthodox Bishop Demetrios also spoke about the importance of the Niagara Foundation and its goals of fostering communication and acceptance across cultures and religions.

“I am a friend of Niagara and of course I am here to partake in the wonderful dialogue. I have been with Niagara for many years now and still I am fazed by the amazing work everyone does”, explained Bishop Demetrios with a smile.

Senate president John Cullerton addressed the attendees in the room saying, “I am also happy to be here with friends from Turkey. I had the pleasure of going to Turkey twice, not as many times as the Speaker, but nonetheless a very interesting trip. In fact, I enjoyed it so much the first time that I went back and took our whole family and friends and we tricked our children into going on a field trip every day because that’s what Turkey’s like. Five thousand years of history, it was fascinating and the people there were very warm.”

The positive feedback from audience members, speakers, and prominent leaders in Illinois politics was overwhelming. At large, guests were inspired by Niagara’s mission and drive to promote global fellowship, establish a platform for socially responsible partnerships, and encourage conversations centered on multiculturalism, interfaith, and interpersonal growth. Most importantly, the dialogues resonated with Niagara’s efforts to create a mechanism for learning that extends beyond a classroom or every day work setting.

Source: Niagara Foundation , June 4, 2013


Related News

Peace Islands Institute hosts iftar in NY

The event, organized by the Peace Islands Institute (PII), the New York Interfaith Center and Columbia University’s religious studies department, hosted former US Vice President Al Gore’s daughter Karenna Gore and prominent Indonesian religious figure Imam Shamsi Ali.

‘Hizmet conspiracy’ theories rejected at iftar hosted by Alevis

Participants of an iftar held by the Federation of Alevi-Bektaşi Associations under the theme “Solidarity in the light of the Quran” at the Renaissance Polat Hotel in İstanbul on Wednesday evening expressed their disbelief in the existence of any conspiracy prepared by the Hizmet movement.

A Turkish Recluse Bridges the Western and Muslim Worlds

A free global and interconnected citizenship might be the pathway to foster a non-violent and peaceful culture within societies. This is the main objective of a grassroots movement that advocates enhancing education, promoting universal values, interfaith dialogue and democracy.

Religious leaders in Philippines defend Turkish NGOs being linked to terrorism

De La Salle Philippines president Bro. Armin Luistro and leaders of religious groups on Tuesday expressed support to two non-government organizations being linked to terrorist organizations, noting the NGOs’ track records in peace-building.

Jews, Muslims Bond Over Shared Values

Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Rabbis for Human Rights: “We have to understand that we have common issues in our communities that we can work together to improve our schools, we can work together for immigration reform and that these are issues of shared concern that are things we feel passionately about.” Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster believes that […]

[Part 2] Islamic scholar Gülen says he cannot remain silent on corruption

The Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen , who inspired the Hizmet movement, a world-wide network active in education, charity and outreach, also stated that the government must provide evidence to back up its accusations.

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

Closing down Turkish schools impossible as demand on rise, says TUSKON head

Georgia revokes decision to freeze Gulen-linked university’s student intake

Coup in Turkey, Turkish Schools in Nigeria, and Implications for Nigeria’s National Security

Unscrupulous news reporting by Der Spiegel

Post-coup purge victim says he may never be a father due to torture in prison

PM’s discourse over ‘no family, children’ offensive, hurtful

Helping hands to Kosova

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News