For the 93rd Anniversary of the Republic of Turkey


© photocredit


From UNESCO, MDGs–and–the Global Goals

“Mankind is a single body and each nation a part of that body. We must never say:”
‘What does it matter to me if some part of the world is ailing?’
‘If there is such an illness, we must concern ourselves with it as though we were having that illness.’
“For everything in this world—for civilization, for life, for success—the truest guide is knowledge and science.”

For the 93rd Anniversary Celebration of Republic of Turkey
“93. Cumhuriyet Bayramı”



Keynote Speech by: Bircan ÜNVER
Founder-President and Head NGO Representative to the United Nations Department of Public Information
The Light Millennium

The Southern New England Turkish-American Cultural Association [SNETACA]
Connecticut State Capitol, October 28, 2016

Thank you, to Robert McKay for the introduction. And, it is my great honor to speak in front of you for the 93rd Anniversary of the Turkish Republic in this gorgeous building, Hartford Capitol.. And, I would like to thank SNETACA and Göknur McAvoy very much for organizing the event and inviting me to speak here.


The title of this keynote, “ATATÜRK’S VISION LIVES THROUGH THE UNITED NATIONS – From UNESCO, MDGs–and–the Global Goals…” might be found very challenging. Indeed, I would never have come up with it, had my organization, The Light Millennium, not been associated with the United Nations and had I NOT had the opportunity to attend the Annual UN General Assembly Gatherings since 2006 (the initial association year is 2005).

My initial inspiration is based on this ground. In other words, listening to 50-100 heads of member states’ annual human and social development reports, and also attending numerous High Level Forums, and major UN Conferences and UNNGO Briefings at the United Nations initially led me to organize a two day-long international conference, titled “Pioneer of the Millennium Development Goals: Atatürk” at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken in 2013.

 (at this point, I hold up a printed copy of the report with black-and-white cover and show to the attendees of the event.)

(at this point, I hold up a printed copy of the report with black-and-white cover and show to the attendees of the event.)

This is the Final Report of the Conference, the title of which I’ve taken from Stephen Kinzer’s Keynote Speech, where he introduced this concept towards his conclusion. I added the subtitle, “From UNESCO, MDGs-and-The Global Goals…”, for this particular speech.

If looked closely, everyone can quickly realize that Turkey’s development program is the foundations of NOT ONLY the Millennium Development Goals (2000), but also several UN General Assembly Resolutions, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO (1945). In this line, UNESCO is also considered the intellectual mind/pillar of the United Nations.

Prior to illustrating and linking some of these facts with the human and national development agenda of Turkey and the United Nations, in other words, Ataturk’s Visions and the United Nations, I would like to read you UNESCO’s Resolution towards celebrating Atatürk’s 100th Birthday Celebration (1881-1938) at the United Nations and UNESCO, which is available online under, “UNESCO – Records of the General Conference_Twentieth Session Paris, 24 October to 28 November 1978 – Volume I Resolutions 3/1.5 & 2.3/4 | PAGE 68”:

The General Conference,

Convinced that eminent personalities who worked for international understanding, co-operation, and peace, should serve as an example for future generations,

Recalling that the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, will be celebrated in 1981,

Bearing in mind that he was an exceptional reformer in all the fields coming within UNESCO’s competence.

Recognizing in particular that he was the leader of one of the earliest struggles against colonialism and imperialism,

Recalling that he set an outstanding example in promoting the spirit of mutual understanding between peoples and lasting peace between the nations of the world, having advocated all his life the advent of ‘an age of harmony and co-operation in which no distinction would be made between men on account of colour, religion or race’,

Decides […] an international symposium designed to bring out various aspects of the personality and work of Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, whose action was always directed towards the promotion of peace, international understanding and respect for human rights.”

This 1978-dated UNESCO Resolution strongly illustrates one of the fundamental grounds to declare that Atatürk’s Vision lives through the UNITED NATIONS. To that extent, The UNESCO Courier published an article by Afet Inan (printed in the magazine as “Afet Afetinan”) titled “Atatürk and the Emancipation of Women” in December 1963, which was 46 years before the formation of the UN-Women; 36 years before the 2000 Millennium Development Goals to be attained by the 2015; and 52 years before the Global Goals to be attained by 2030, which I will introduce you briefly later on. The cover theme of the 1963 dated “UNESCO Courier” issue is “Human Rights for All”, which also clearly demonstrates the important role of the UNESCO within the UN Body on human development–and–rights. [Continue to read!]